“Sometimes you just need one person to tell you that you can do it.”
I found out I was pregnant just days after graduating with my bachelor’s. As a high school dropout (we all make questionable decisions as teenagers…) a bachelor’s degree was more than I thought I would ever achieve and although I was excited about the plans I had for postgraduate study, I was willing to drop them for my baby. In my mind, I had a decision to make – my baby or my studies – an idea that was reinforced by many of the people around me.
At the time, I was doing a short internship with the same supervisor I was set to do my postgraduate studies with. I told him I was pregnant when I was, at the most, 5 or 6 weeks along and I really thought it would be the end of my work with him. Surely I couldn’t have a baby in the middle of my busiest year to date and make it work?! To my surprise, his response was overwhelmingly positive! He was excited for me, and came up with a master plan of how we could fit everything in to the year ahead. He was the first person who had an immediate positive reaction to my news (there were many after, but the first sticks). Sometimes you just need one person to tell you that you CAN do it.
I took two weeks off when my daughter was born then got right back to work and somehow managed to hand in a first class honours thesis on time. Overall my experience has been a positive one and I’m now doing my PhD in the same lab. My partner (also a graduate student) and I are so far managing to juggle parenting and our studies, we are busy but our hearts are full.