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Why 'Jane the Virgin' is a Great Example for New Young Moms

Photograph by CW

From the moment "Jane the Virgin" first aired last season, I was hooked. If you haven't seen this show yet, I'm telling you, it's the bandwagon to jump on. What I really love about the show, aside from the predominantly Latino cast, is that they tackle the tough topics with both humor and heart.

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This season, we see Jane (played the fierce and fabulous Gina Rodriguez), adapting to her new role as a mother. Like so many new moms, Jane struggles to find that balance between being her own person and being a mother. In the most recent episode, Jane gets accepted to graduate school, and she's faced with the decision of pursuing her dream versus being home with her newborn son.

Like so many new moms, she is fraught with guilt. Because no matter what she picks, it's FOMO to the umpteenth degree.

It was the episode that really hit home for me.

My son, Norrin, was diagnosed with autism two weeks before my college graduation and I was to start graduate school that fall. I was consumed with guilt — for being a working mom, for not seeing the signs of autism sooner and for wanting to pursue my dream at a time when my son needed me the most. I felt selfish for wanting to do something for myself.

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In the end, I choose graduate school. I was determined to be both a working mother and a grad student. I found a way to make it work for myself and my family.

Five years after my son's autism diagnosis, I graduated with an MFA in creative writing. My graduation was a celebration for us both. By pursuing my dream, I was ensuring a better future for my son.

It's so easy to forget who you are and what you want the second you hold your baby in your arms for the very first time.
Photograph by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez

Jane doesn't want to miss all the firsts that come with being a new mom. And she believes that putting her education on hold is the best choice. However, it's Jane's mother who reminds her, "do not let motherhood hijack your dreams."

I think that's something more new moms — especially young Latina moms — need to hear.

It's so easy to forget who you are and what you want the second you hold your baby in your arms for the very first time. But your dreams do not stop the moment you become a mother. And you should never feel like you have to choose one over the other.

Gina Rodriguez has been very outspoken about the perception about Latinos in Hollywood and the importance of seeing Latinos on TV. She's talking the talk and walking the walk. For her character, Jane, to be Latina, a young mother, single and in graduate school is remarkable. There was never a character like her on TV when I was growing up or coming of age. Jane is a positive role model for all young women, not just Latinas.

RELATED: Gina Rodriguez Shares Why It's Important to See Latinos on TV

Will it be easy for Jane to be a graduate student and a mother? Not at all. But it can be done. And I can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

"Jane the Virgin" airs on the CW network Monday nights at 9/8 Central.

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