When I found out I was pregnant (in February 2012), during the 3rd year of my PhD I thought it would definitely be hard to combine being a mum and finishing my thesis. As a researcher, it seemed logical to look for articles and resources produced by others who lived the same kind of situation to make me feel less isolated.
I found a really interesting website, which presented the report of a study called: “Becoming Dr Mum: Combining Higher Degree Research with Early Motherhood”.
By reading about the study, which was carried out in 2009 at The Australian National University, I felt there were other women who had been through the same and that I would certainly make it too, and come out of the whole experience as a stronger person!
Having been through it, now already with my PhD diploma and my adorable (most of the time) almost 3 year old daughters, I know it’s hard, and I know it’s possible too. And actually, if I’m, honest I think having my daughters helped me have guiltless breaks from my PhD which is very healthy, and I wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise. And, at the same time, having the thesis always on the back of my mind made me sometimes put things in perspective, which is also really important because being a mother for the first time is a overwhelming experience, and it changes your brain, well at least the way my brain worked. And sometimes I’d find myself stressing about the weight of my tiny babies or worrying and ‘doing research’ about the colour of their ‘poo’.
Most of these ‘motherhood concerns’ are at the same very valid and very silly, especially if you’re lucky enough to have strong and healthy babies like I was; but it’s hard to get your brain to stop and in absence of other issues, those are the ones that seem to take the front row!