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We look forward to a beautiful beginning, my baby and I

We look forward to a beautiful beginning, my baby and I

On 20th March 2019, I received an email stating that I had been accepted into a PhD program at the University of South Africa. Strangely enough, I was not as excited as I thought I would be. You must understand that this was big for me— I was devastated from getting constant rejections since I believed I had put in enough effort into writing a great proposal. I thought I would jump with joy or throw a party when I finally got through, but that was not the case.

My wait to get into a PhD program was around four years long – not surprisingly, though, my personal life couldn’t wait. I had actually wanted to start my PhD and be almost through before even planning for a baby. But I had been waiting for four years and life happened. I was actually 34 weeks pregnant and in the waiting room to see the gynaecologist at my ante-natal clinic, when I learned about the success of my PhD application. During the long wait, I had made up my mind to not be so emotional about doing a PhD and published some papers in a few academic journals, volunteered at a few places and just conducted research for the fun of it.

Looking back, I guess the waiting period gave me several opportunities to polish my flair for researching. In fact, I stumbled upon Editage Insights during one of my down times. I read one of the stories on the platform and thought to myself, this sounds exactly like what I am going through and I am not alone in this journey – there are others like me. This has always kept me checking my inbox for emails from Editage Insights. Of course, my baby gave me company too. I remember composing a proposal and talking to my growing baby bump - “Ee baby, we have some work to do here, and we need to cooperate. I know growing in there is not easy, and I don’t feel so good either, but we need to work on this proposal and submit it.” I really believed that my baby heard me. Around the beginning of my second trimester, I submitted my PhD proposal to my alma mater, University of South Africa. And, this time I received a YES!

This is a fresh beginning for me, the beginning of my PhD journey. It’s tough to manage pregnancy and a PhD and the past few months have been hectic. I try to pretend that everything is normal and I am managing everything with the support of my husband and a few understanding family members. But the last few reports I have submitted look chaotic even to me, now that I have read them again after a review by my supervisor. I can’t believe that is my work.

However, I have made up my mind to take things easy. I will only attend to the most urgent things on my list and keep the rest for later. My focus is now solely on the well-being of my baby and that’s a call that I may not be able to justify or explain to anyone. Slowly but surely, I am determined to push on with this PhD (“push” reminds me of labor). Quitting is not a part of our agenda— we look forward to a beautiful beginning, my baby and I.

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