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Woman defends her PhD dissertation hours after giving birth: 'Incredibly powerful'

She was in for a shock as her water broke hours before she was supposed to defend her PhD dissertation.

Woman defends her PhD dissertation hours after giving birth: 'Incredibly powerful'
Cover Image Source: YouTube | ABC News

Motherhood is arguably one of life's most challenging roles, involving significant physical and mental exertion from pregnancy through childbirth and beyond. Tamiah Bevard-Rodriguez faced a daunting challenge, giving birth to a baby boy just hours before her PhD presentation. However, she didn't let the birth stop her from defending her dissertation to achieve a doctorate at Rutgers Graduate School of Education, per CNN. The plan was to complete her dissertation—a detailed analysis and presentation—before the baby's arrival.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pavel Danilyuk
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pavel Danilyuk

 This was to be followed by a joyful graduation, allowing her to spend the summer with her family. However, plans changed abruptly when Tamiah's water broke, just as she was putting the final touches on her dissertation. This meant that the baby would come first, and the dissertation would have to wait. Her wife, Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez, soothed her and began devising an alternative plan. “I’ve witnessed her work so hard, tirelessly working on the presentation, a six-year program, a two-year study. I’m just like, ‘Don’t let today be the day.’ I walk into the bathroom and I look at her and she is just shaking in tears. As much as I knew that this was a happy moment for the both of us, I can see the sadness in her that you know her day was possibly going to be ruined,” Alyza said.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Lemniscate L
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lemniscate L

“I was physically prepared for a pregnancy, mentally my brain was not on a baby. So, I was having a very emotional response to knowing I was in labor, knowing I had this defense,” she shared, per ABC 7. With Alyza, the mom-to-be and the doula all racing to get to the hospital, Tamiah could not wait and delivered her baby inside the car. “I had three pushes, so the first one was the baby’s head was crowning, second push he was out, third one we were just there,” she recalled. The mom brought into the world baby Enzo, taken to the hospital for further procedures.

Just seven hours later, Tamiah was prepared to defend her dissertation and secure her degree. “I took a nap, ate a meal and then I was ready to rock and roll,” the mom said. She logged into her laptop, trusting her baby to the care of her wife and went on for a good 20 or 30 minutes, giving the best that she could. Only a handful were aware of Tamiah’s adventurous spree that had happened hours before and that she was delivering her dissertation from the hospital. Only after her presentation did she reveal her location.

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“Everyone was in complete shock,” she recalled. The mom who had her graduation on Mother’s Day had 2 occasions to celebrate, all due to her determination and courage. Rutger’s University shared a post commending the new mom for her significant and strong commitment to her career and baby. “It’s incredible to uplift women and show how incredibly powerful they are. I hope that people take away from this that women are strong and resilient, tenacious, ambitious and they can do anything,” Alyza mentioned.


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