Tuesday 16 April 2013

Thesis vs. Baby

The lowest point in my life (till now) had to be the 1st 6 weeks after I had given birth to my baby girl.

Five months before I was due to deliver, I was given the news that my thesis needed major revisions. It turns out that my supervisor did not have time to thoroughly look through my drafts or my final write up and so allowed me to submit a paper that did not fully meet the standards the examiners were looking for. She said she "trusted in my abilities to do a good job" but the truth is, she had given me very little supervision and guidance throughout my graduate studies. I had to learn how to fend for myself most of the time, with her only throwing a life jacket when I was drowning. On hindsight, I do appreciate the freedom and allowance to swim on my own so that I will learn independence but I certainly didn't enjoy the experience of drowning.

So it was that I was heavily pregnant, teaching part-time as a Teaching Assistant at the University and revising my thesis at the same time. Thankfully I didn't have any complications during my pregnancy so that I could do what I had to do.

Due to many reasons, the main one being the lack of guidance, I couldn't finish my thesis in time for submission before I gave birth like I planned. So while other mothers could focus on their newborn baby, my attention was split between caring for my girl and writing my thesis.

In those days, "carrying" my girl on my leg after feeding her
while typing on my laptop on the bed is a common sight

It was really hell! >.<

However, since I had to wake up every 1.5-2 hours at night to breastfeed my baby anyway, I took the time between feeds to type on my computer with nothing but the light from our table lamp so as not to wake the hubby. It was feed, pat her to sleep, write, feed, change her diapers, pat her to sleep, write! Not to mention that I was facing a lot of new things I had never experienced before, such as breast engorgement and nipple cracking, which I had to research about on my best friend Google. That was also when I started reading parenting blogs by the way ;)

I can't remember how many times I had wanted to give up! Stop breastfeeding, stop writing! Sometimes my mind would be filled with dark thoughts, too dark to share. I was so sleep deprived that half the time I wondered if I was hallucinating.

But I pressed on through sheer determination and perseverence, simply wanting to finish the race well. I didn't want to waste all my efforts in graduate school only to have nothing to show for it. It's really not how well you start that matters, it's how you end.

By the grace of God I did finish my thesis on time and passed with good feedback from my examiners. The thing that I've been praying for at every cell group/prayer meeting has finally happened, I passed! =)

Since then I've officially graduated with my masters and got a job as a psychologist. I really feel that this is exactly where God wants me to be, making a difference in the lives of children and adolescents who are abused and neglected.

Although what I went through may not be much compared to countless others more unfortunate than me, my experiences taught me that we are truly more than conquerors in Christ! We can do what we never thought was possible through the power of God at work in us.

As one of my favourite pastors always say (paraphrased as I can't remember the exact words ;P)..

You can walk one day with happiness and learn nothing; but walk one hour with pain and she will teach you everything.

Keep on walking, finish the race.. YOU CAN DO IT! =)

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