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PhD Watch - Time Minus 4 Months (...nearly 3 months)

For those new to joining me on my PhD journey, I now have 4…correction nearly 3 months left until my Doctorate thesis submission deadline (November 30th). I found out I was (miraculously) pregnant 8 weeks into my PhD and if you had told me then (nearly 4 years ago) that I would be here, two children later in the count down to the end I would not have believed you.

Belief….ah yes believing in myself…believing in the process…

Ok time for a confession. I do not believe I can do this. Period.

A couple of week back, it was midnight and I could not sleep. Our children were sleeping soundly in their beds, I was standing in the kitchen tears streaming down my face, fear wrapped around me and my heart and I wondered how on earth will I get through? I was glad on this occasion that our youngest woke and needed feeding (ah motherhood). I did eventually sleep but my self doubt remains.

I feel like I have got nowhere. I am still waiting for my revised manuscript to be reviewed again. I have only just got my second manuscript to a standard my supervisor can read. I am barely half-way through my third paper and stumbling around with the statistics for it. My literature review is in major draft form….you get the picture.

I am in the thick of it and I just cannot see the wood from the trees. You will have noticed I missed my ‘4 months to go’ blog date. I did not want to fess up to this. That despite all my previous positivity I am so stuck right now in believing that I cannot do this - I am so afraid.

I am afraid of failure, afraid of the work, afraid of what it will take to get me there, afraid of the impact on my family.

I am afraid of not being able to fulfill my job at Fit College NZ, to keep running my business, to give my clients the best service possible.

I am desperately trying to be the best mum I can, to be there for my children and not miss out on those times and moments which are so important to me. I am afraid that despite my incredible husband’s unrelenting love and support that I am also not enough for him right now. I want it all to be perfect and to appear like I have it all together, when really I am still stumbling my way through motherhood and wonder most days what the heck am I doing?!

So many times I think about hanging up my boots with one of these responsibilities…ok I think about giving it ALL up, taking the boys out of day care and just being at home with them. But this is not me, this is not what I really want… and yes even this I am ashamed to admit.

I am equally, if not more so afraid of success. Our close family friend and life/business coach asked me a couple of weeks back “imagine Julie if you did actually do this?”. So I tried to imagine and cold hard fear just gripped at me. Yes imagine. Imagine actually handing in my completed thesis on November the 30th. Imagine actually finishing something I thought was impossible. Imagine reaching the pinnacle of research and truly being an expert in my field – a Doctor no less.

Through events that have shaped my life, I have a natural default to do everything on my own. It keeps me safe. It means that others cannot hurt me or let me down. It means I do not have to trust others. It is highly effective but equally debilitating. Right now I am smack up against this – as in order for me to go above and beyond what I see possible – I need to allow other’s to help, I need to share that I am struggling, I need to TRUST what other’s see in me that I can’t and that terrifies me. I know I will do this, pure grit and determination will get me there eventually (it always has) but my journey is now different. I want to inspire others to take on something beyond what society says can be done. I want to make a difference. I want my boys to know that you truly can achieve your dreams.

So it’s time. Time for me to close my eyes and trust those so willing to help me.

A journey into the unknown is not always pretty. Sometimes you have to search into the bottom of your heart and beyond. Sometimes you just have to take a step forward even though you do not know what direction you are going in. I have got this far, surely I can get across the line…? Right….?

Here’s to stumbling through motherhood, PhD study and beyond,


Xxx The New Mum’s Nutritionist

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