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Kianne Rowland

A natural born midwife


The young mother-of-four who has overcome life’s hurdles to pursue a passion for midwifery.

As the fourth eldest in a family of 12 children, Kianne Rowland had more than her fair share of exposure to newborn babies.

Growing up in such a big family was “a bit crazy, but really fun”, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Kianne developed a fascination with childbirth.  

“Even when I was a kid, I would imagine myself as a midwife,” she said. “I’ve wanted to do it for as long as I can remember but I never really had the chance.” 

Kianne was forced to put her career aspirations on hold when she started her own family. 

She’s now a single mother of four boisterous boys, which has certainly had its challenges. “It can get pretty full on doing it all on your own,” she said.

Kianne and her boys.

Kianne and her boys Trey, Lachlan, Tristan and Jack.

But when the opportunity to return to study presented itself, she took it with both hands. 

Kianne completed the Adult Tertiary Preparation Course at TAFE in 2018 and is now pursuing a Bachelor of Midwifery at ACU’s Brisbane Campus. 

“My dream was basically put aside for 15 years, but the boys are older now and they’ve been really supportive and great about it,” she said. 

“They love that I’m studying and they’re very proud – they tell everyone their mum goes to university.”

Facing life’s curveballs

Along with the daily pressures of sole parenthood, Kianne faces the unique challenges of caring for a child with autism. 

Her second-born son Trey, 13, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was five years old.   

As is common with autistic children, Trey occasionally displays aggression towards others and has also engaged in self-injurious behaviour.  

“We had to do lots of therapies and counselling and he’s been suspended from school quite a bit, and that’s made it very difficult for me to hold down a job in the past,” Kianne said. 

Kianne is a busy mother

Trey and his brothers Lachlan, 15, Tristan, 12, and Jake, 8, usually get along well, but the inevitable sibling rivalry can sometimes be intensified by his autism. 

“Trey’s a beautiful kid and his brothers love him, and at the same time it can be confusing for them. They don’t always understand the way autism works and that can be quite a challenge,” Kianne said. 

“Children on the spectrum don’t express anger and frustration in the same way – they don’t always have control of their actions – so when I discipline the other boys, often they say, ‘How come you treat him so differently?’” 

The severe financial strain associated with the diagnosis has also been a struggle, providing another hurdle for Kianne to overcome in pursuing her studies.  

“I’ve had to come up with the money for all of his therapies, which is quite difficult when you add it to our weekly expenses and all of the sports activities the boys do,” she said. 

“Money has definitely been one of the greatest barriers to studying and pursuing my dreams.” 

Creating opportunity 

While Kianne’s journey from TAFE to university admission was relatively smooth, the stress of finding the funds to pay for uni textbooks and other expenses took huge toll. 

So much so, that she started to doubt whether she could afford to study midwifery at all. 

Kianne learning

“I knew that HECS would cover the fees but I don’t think I realised all the other expenses that were involved in getting organised for uni, and for a while there, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be possible,” she said. 

Then she got some good news. 

In January, Kianne was awarded ACU’s Creating Opportunity Fund scholarship, aimed at assisting students facing barriers to education – including sole parents and those experiencing extreme financial hardship. She will receive ongoing support of up to $16,000 to complete her degree.

“It was such a huge relief to know that the financial side of things would be taken care of, so I could focus on learning and studying hard and finishing my degree,” she said. 

“That’s money that I haven't had to come up with myself, which is so great. It has kick-started my degree and my future career basically, and there is just no way I would have been able to afford all the costs while supporting the kids as well.” 

Doing it for the boys

Kianne’s maternal instincts will no doubt stand her in good stead as a future midwife, but right now it’s her kids who give her all the motivation she needs to succeed. 

Kianne is studying to be a midwife

She is enjoying learning the many aspects of midwifery — pregnancy, labour, childbearing and early parenting — and she loves being on campus. And when the going gets tough, she just thinks of her boys. 

“I’m doing this to show them that no matter what life throws at you, you can do anything, if you work hard and believe in yourself,” Kianne said. 

“I’ve faced some tough challenges but now I'm getting the degree I've always wanted, pursuing my dreams so I can provide more for them, and I hope that sets them a good example.

“In the end, I'm doing this for them, as well as for me."

Interested in applying? Learn more about ACU’s Creating Opportunity Fund scholarships. Interested in supporting students like Kianne? Find out how you can donate

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Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright@ Australian Catholic University 1998-2019 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G