PhD Watch - The End
When it came to my turn to speak, I was taken back by the emotion that come from inside me. As I shared my thesis and read the dedication I wrote to my two boys I could barely get through it, my hands were shaking and I had tears just streaming down my face - there was not a dry eye at the business table as all the other women listened.
It was at the moment the reality of what I have accomplished truly hit home to me.
That this really has been so much more than a Doctoral thesis – it’s my life’s story. The story of my life’s work and research but also that of my family, of my husband, of my boys. My journey as a mother and the journey of my career – at the same time. Most of all it’s been my journey to find myself and find my purpose.
And the enormity of this I have struggled to process. That something which I have been dreaming of for years (literally) and the challenges that I have faced and overcome along the way – it really is all over and that we did it!
When I first started my university study I was freshly faced at 18 years of age, had left home (was flatting in a tiny room in Glenfield for $90/week with 4 other strangers) on a full scholarship which I had worked incredibly hard in my 7th form year to obtain.
I knew then that being a Doctor was what I wanted.
I also knew that being a mum was really what I wanted.
It was a pull that I could not control and I wanted my own family, my own babies more than anything in the world.
I just didn’t know how both would work out.
I didn’t know if it were possible to have both.
I certainly didn’t know that just after getting married and 8 short weeks after successfully transferring into the PhD programme, we would find out that I was miraculously pregnant. Against all scientific odds.
But that was my journey.
Not for a second would I change it.
Not for a second do I wish it would have been a different way.
Sure, many, many, many times did I question what I was doing.
Many, many, many times did I want to quit.
Many, many, many times I was told it was impossible, that I would fail, that it was crazy, that I would never get there. Even right at the very end was I told this.
But for all those times there were little quiet voices that said to me – you can do it.
There was the voice of my very best friend and fellow Phd students, my supervisors, my business coach, my sister, my husband.
Most of all there were the voices of my two boys. Who of course at the beginning started as a butterfly flutter in my tummy but their collective spirits would become a force so powerful, so strong for me that they were to become my ultimate reason for completing the research. I wanted to make them proud. I wanted to show them that impossible truly is nothing.
This is my tribute to them in my thesis:
To my two beautiful sons Arjun (3 years) and Sahan (11 months). You are evidence that miracles truly happen and you have been on this journey with me right from the very start. This is your story and I dedicate this thesis to you. You have given me the inspiration and motivation to complete this research for you and the future children of New Zealand. One day you will read this and know the huge difference you have made. Every single time that I was presented with a challenge, you held the answers for me. Watching you grow and develop, take risks and learn has been this research in action.
Arjun, the tenacity in which you take on life full force will enable you to tackle any great mountain you choose to climb. Having you badly break your arm in the final weeks before my submission date, doing just what this research says to do (engage in risky play), will be a story for many years to come.
Sahan, I never have nor never will second guess the choice to undergo assisted reproductive therapy during the course of this thesis, knowing the potential failure and difficulty, because you were worth everything. Your irresistible “Smushie” nature and constant positive outlook will ride you through life’s seasons and has certainly taught me how to just enjoy the small things each day.
More than anything I hope you both know that dreams do come true and that anything is possible for your lives when you set your heart and mind on it.
This blog post was titled 'The End'. Which it is. The end of my thesis. But for me it really feels just the beginning in some way. That without intention, going through this journey, fraught with challenge, hardship and also joy. I have found my purpose.
There is a famous saying:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."
You see now I have no choice but to believe in myself.
To believe that I am someone who when faced with challenges that seem impossible, can actually overcome them.
To believe that I am someone who did achieve what I set out to all those years ago.
That I can have a family and a career I love.
That I am someone who can write.
That I can make a global difference to other mums and women.
That this is my purpose now.
So this is not the end.
No it really is not.
This is just the beginning.
I am excited, scared, nervous, and hopeful just like at the start of my thesis.
But now I know I can do it!
xxx Dr Julie Bhosale