Motherhood + Ph.D. students, I made it!

I am a third year Ph.D. student in curriculum and instruction. I had my first baby on September 20th, 2021. When I was chosen and asked to write about motherhood and Ph.D. student and give some practical tips to someone like me, I initially though that they might think I am doing it pretty good. The truth is that it is a process of getting both wrong and right things, and filled with joys, gratefulness, and of course, challenges. So, I would like to share my story about how I balance all the responsibilities of motherhood with my Ph.D. coursework and teaching and how I receive the supports from others around me.

Staying mentally healthy

After the birth of my son, I felt so isolated. It made me anxiety. My husband always encouraged me to try something fun, something that I never try before. So, we have been exploring many interesting and kid-friendly places in Albany. We go to farms, kids’ indoor playgrounds, libraries every week. This summer, we also went to cape cod for camping. My first advice is staying mentally healthy and making life easier and fun.

Asking for help and being grateful

University at Albany is a place in which people always support you. For example, Professor Meskill gave me few weeks break in her class and was flexible with me for the most part. Professor Gordon recorded the whole lessons for me and send all notes to me until I went back to school. Alison Olin prepared empty room for me in Catskill building to breastfeed and breast pump when I was on campus. My college, Wuri Kusumastuti, whose kids is ten months than mine, provided a lot of encouragement and suggestions to me. My second advice is reach out for these supports and being grateful to all of them.

Written by Dongni Guo (

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