Carolyn Ellis states, “autoethnography shows struggle, passion, embodied life, and the collaborative creation of sense - making... [it] wants the reader to care, to feel, to empathize, and to do something, to act” (Ellis & Bochner, 2006, p. 433). This autoethnography describes one new mother’s struggles to complete her doctoral program of study while remaining devoted to her familial obligations and relationships. In particular, this article investigates the causes of tension and stress that exist as she attempts to find a balance between her need to care and love for her child, to maintain a relationship with her husband, and achieve success within her graduate studies. Using autoethnography, the author makes herself vulnerable as she shares her intimate experiences through personal journal entries and stories of encounters with family and friends. In this way, the author hopes to utilize her personal experience in an effort to open dialogue concerning the diverse needs of today’s graduate student mothers as they attempt to successfully earn a graduate degree.


Motherhood, Doctoral Program, Autoethnography, Narrative Inquiry


Brooke also acknowledges her gratitude to Dr. Patricia McHatton and Dr. Janet Richards, two professors who assisted her in her endeavor into qualitative research and autoethnography.

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