Sunday, October 2, 2011


I'm not sure how I'm ever going to finish my dissertation. I didn't get to work on it at all this week. I had a ton of editing to do for my assistantship (I am the assistant editor on an academic journal) so that took up all of the time this week when I wasn't teaching my university course or tutoring SAT students. I suppose I could have worked on it for an hour or two every day but then I wouldn't have had a single "me" second in my entire day, and that just seems crazy, especially right now when I know that for the sake of my health and my baby's I need to be sure I get a little bit of downtime and exercise every day.
I really have been prioritizing the dissertation lately. I make an effort to work on it for a few hours every day and aim for 20 hours a week, but in a week like this one, it just wasn't possible. I hope to have my first two chapters completed--at least in draft form--by the 15th and then I need to basically complete a chapter every four weeks after that if I want to be done before the baby arrives. I keep telling myself it will be worth all the hard work right now to be able to enjoy my baby without the dissertation hanging over my head, but I get so overwhelmed sometimes that I can't imagine the work will ever get done in time. I am determined to finish this degree. I didn't spend 4 years of my life working toward this to give up on it now. Yet I resent the amount of my interests and quality time with friends and family that I am having to temporarily give up to finish this project. I know that's what it's going to take, though. I once read or heard someone say that s/he finished the dissertation six months after deciding it was the most important thing in his/her life, but it's only now really hitting me that I am seriously going to have to sacrifice a lot to get this done.
I also need to work past my fear of writing and just get stuff down on paper. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't even have to be good. I just need to get pages in to my advisor so I can start getting feedback. I don't enjoy writing in the same way I enjoy reading and researching, but it's time to bite the bullet and make myself write every single day.
I keep trying to think ahead to the spring when I will no longer have this project hanging over my head. I know the sense of accomplishment will feel fantastic, and I know as I raise my family and continue down my career path I'll feel a sense of fulfillment and pride that I earned my PhD. I just wish that dream of the future was as consistently motivating as I would like it to be.

On another note, I had a doctor appointment yesterday. The baby seems to be doing great. I laid down on the exam table and the doctor said, "Let's listen to the baby...It's a little early for you to be feeling movement." I said, "Actually, I think I have been feeling movement for a couple of weeks, I feel little flutters sometimes." She said, "Well, maybe that's the baby," and then she put the doppler on my stomach and the instant she did, I mean the very second, she heard the baby's heartbeat loud and clear. She looked surprised and said, "Oh, your baby is right there!" Apparently s/he is floating around toward the front of my body, high and far forward in my uterus, which explains why I've been able to feel her/him for three weeks now. Lucky me! I feel the flutters several times a day now, usually for several minutes at a time. S/he still isn't strong enough to be felt from the outside, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm feeling my little one (in fact s/he is fluttering away in there right now!). The doctor said I can call the perinatologist and make the appointment for my anatomy scan for three weeks from now. Penn and I can't wait for that appointment, mostly because we should be able to tell if the baby is a boy or girl if s/he cooperates and is in a good position. I can't believe I'm already almost halfway through this pregnancy. We have so much to do to prepare!

The dissertation is the main thing I need to do to prepare, though. I need to tell myself that if the baby sleeps in a dresser drawer for the first few weeks that's okay as long as his/her mom is finished with the big project and has time to devote to baby care. I really need to make myself finish this work.

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