Saturday, December 5, 2009

How I Prepared for my Dissertation Defense

Preparing for one’s dissertation defense while also caring for a newborn is hardly ideal, but I’m trying to do the best I can. Mainly I am just in denial about the looming defense date. Now that it’s less than a week away, there is not much more denying I can do.

Most days I nurse Will for hours on end, only to have him start fussing and crying every time I try to take him off. A lot of the time he isn’t even eating, but he doesn’t care—he just really, really likes to suck. Yes, yes, I’ve tried pacifiers, but the boy accepts no substitutes. I’ve become pretty good at working on the computer while nursing him. In fact, I wrote my entire defense presentation while nursing him. I suppose it was kind of apropos, considering that the majority of my dissertation is about lactation and maternal investment. Sometimes I just really need a break from the constant nursing though. The other day I bundled him up and loaded him into the Baby Bjorn*. I took a print-out of the Discussion chapter of my dissertation with me, and we walked the streets of Urbana for around an hour while I read and ruminated. Will fell asleep the instant I stepped outdoors, so he managed to get in a good nap, and I managed to not trip on any cracks in the sidewalk as I was reading. I actually got a lot of work done in that hour. Plus, I got fresh air and exercise.

I kind of wondered if there had ever been anyone else in the history of dissertations who had ever prepared for their defense this way. We’ll find out on Friday whether or not this was an effective preparation tactic.

*Of all the baby slings I have tried, the Baby Bjorn is by far the best!! I was lucky because my sister loaned me hers so I didn’t have to shell out ~$90 for one. But even if I would have had to pay full price for one, it would have been totally worth it! The Baby Bjorn is probably the most used baby item we have!


Dr. Heather said...

Wishing you the best! So glad the Baby Bjorn is working for you. Michael didn't like it or any carriers I tried. He wanted to be free even when he was tiny tiny.

Dr. Heather said...

You will have to change the name of your blog now!

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