A YOUNG mother from the Market has won praise after showing remarkable determination by obtaining a prestigious accountancy diploma while dealing with the challenges of pregnancy.

Catriona McGrattan (30), began her studies in 2019 whilst employed at Wilson Salt Ltd on Duncrue Street for the Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) Diploma through Belfast Metropolitan College.

However, her educational pursuits faced a significant hurdle when she discovered her pregnancy midway through her second year of studies, amidst the backdrop of the pandemic, necessitating a shift to online learning.

Catriona took a brief break from her studies in late 2020 upon learning of her pregnancy but afterwards returned full-time in 2021. While studying for her diploma, Catriona had to juggle a full-time job as well as her pregnancy but didn't let it stop her from carrying on, even sitting an exam on her daughter Harper's due date.

Catriona gave birth in June 2021 but soon after realised she needed to retake one module in order to finish the Diploma, which she has now completed.

Speaking about the experience Catriona said: "I was determined and pictured myself at my graduation with my daughter. That was my motivation.

“When I found out I had to re-do a module I was gutted but I was not going to give up. I did not take maternity leave from work.

“So, I sat my repeats in August after two full weeks of study leave. It was hard with a new-born and adjusting to being a mum.

“I would drop Harper at my mother’s. My partner was working away from home, so I had to lean heavily on family. That said, I still did all the night feeds. It was hard to juggle family life, studying and working full-time. I sat my final exam in June, 2023 and found out recently I had passed.

“I cried. I could not believe it. It is a story to tell Harper when she is older if she feels she cannot do something. Nothing worth having comes easy. Take the leap and believe in yourself.”