A year ago today I officially graduated from my Doctoral thesis. A four and a half year undertaking during which I gave birth to my two beautiful boys and also had another pregnancy which we lost. This photograph which my friend Kerry took captures the essence of the day. I have not shared this photo before. It was a moment which I dreamed of and visualised thousands of times during that period.
The moment when I was about to walk across the stage and be granted my thesis.
The look on my face says everything.
I was fighting back tears feeling a huge roller coaster of emotions- as I thought back on the nearly five year journey that had led me to that moment. All the times I was so close, so very close to giving up – literally I think over that time I had drafted at least five emails to my supervisors saying I was going to pull out. That first harsh winter with our eldest son when he was about 8 months old and we were in hospital just before my data collection was due to start. The loss of our second pregnancy, the emotional turmoil of deciding and going through assisted reproductive therapy for our Smushie. The fear I felt in my last year – could I do this with two children one of which who was just born, and also having to withstand the huge judgment I faced along the way.
Not to mention the actual challenge of the research itself.
I felt out of my depth pretty much the whole time and faced the very real possibility of failure more than success.
And yet, somehow we did it.
I say ‘we’ because that very much was the case.
My boys did this journey with me right from the start and I know that I would have never finished without them.
Without wanting to make them proud. To show them that anything is possible.
I did not know at the time of course that it would be a few months later that I would get a publishing deal to write my book and that all the things I had overcome in my thesis would provide me with everything I needed to write that book in a short space of time.
I did not know that a year to the date we would be about to embark on our biggest, nation wide tour as a family.
I am already writing my next book – and who knows what lies in store for us next year. We will be starting the process of trying for our third baby yet again stepping into the world of the unknown both in terms of family, business and life.
The challenges we face as working mums are huge, even today in 2017. The judgement is still there and the lack of support is still present – but don’t give up.
Don’t ever give up on your dreams.
I know some of you reading this right now can’t see an end in sight with what you are up against.
That you feel like you are going around in circles or even backwards.
That the mountain just seems too steep to climb.
I know this feeling to my core.
Don’t give up.
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how small – because one day you will turn the corner. You will come to the top of the mountain that has been out of your reach for so long and it will all be worth it.
Don’t give up.
Your dreams count.
You can do this, you deserve this and nothing is ever over.
Xxx Dr Julie Bhosale