My doula, M, recently told me a funny story that happened in the delivery room while Ayce was being resuscitated. I have no recollection of this, but it sounds like something I would do. Apparently as I lay there waiting in anxious anticipation I said to the room at large: “I wonder if it’s harder to be a mother or to be a grad student.”
The other day M. phoned to check in on us and asked me if I had the answer to that question yet. I do. Without reservation I can state that grad school is much much harder than being a mother. Although completing your research can be compared to the arduous task of giving birth, it takes longer and you cannot cuddle your term papers, or rejoice in their independence.
This year I celebrated my very first Mothers’ Day. My mother was visiting us and my husband made us a delicious brunch. Most importantly, I had a whole day to appreciate the blessing I have been given in Ayce and also to reflect on the wonderful example my own mother, mother-in-law, and stepmother are to me.
I often rejoice in the fact that our family has such a great support network around us: My mother is a child development specialist, play therapist, resident care attendant, and currently works with adults with disabilities. She is very engaging with children and she taught me almost all of the silly songs I know! My mother-in-law is a physiotherapist whose specialty was neurological disorders, and she also provided respite care to people with disabilities while my husband was young. In addition to her technical expertise, she is incredibly compassionate and understanding. My stepmother has cared for me and my brother for the last 23+ years with all the love and tenderness of a biological mother, and I know she always has our backs!
This isn’t even including the “other mothers” in my life, from grandmothers, to aunts, to family friends, and even my peers who constantly amaze me with their great parenting skills.
So yes, the benefits of motherhood make it so much less difficult than graduate school.