Then suddenly: point of no return, and only the really hard and horrible part left! *panic panic panic*
You realise that you actually have to give birth, and it's scary, and you don't want to, and you don't think you can... And it's no fun anymore. Definitely too late to go back!
Or when there's not much time left (December is the very last month I'll receive any salary from the University, so it would be sort of nice to be finished at leas by then) before you have to hand in your PhD thesis. And to do that you actually have to write these things that have to be published in real scientific papers (Wikipedia can't help you now), and if you manage that you have to defend everything - in front of an audience, and they will ask about everything, and maybe even be mean :/ And it's no fun anymore. And you can't go back after so many years "publicly" working on a PhD!
I guess it's only the hard part left.
I did manage the last, hard part of being pregnant, though, and it all went really well - also the time after <3
But I do feel like it will be extremely nice when this is all over, and I can look back and say I did it! (Hopefully...#fingerscrossed)
This other day, when I was having lunch with some other lovely physics ladies, and we were talking about finishing of the PhD and especially the THESIS DEFENCE (OMG!), I panicked a bit, thought I had to be able to talk about shell model calculations in my PhD defence (which I know nothing about!) and everything... I realised that working an a PhD is kind of similar to being pregnant:
For a long time I've just been like oh it's wonderful to be a scientist, I do science and it's soooo awesome, and I'm on my way to become a PhD in nuclear physics *heart heart heart*
I've more or less felt like this... (cartoon from xkcd.com)
Pretty much like the first 7 months of pregnancy, when it's more or less like oh it's wonderful to be pregnant, I'm growing a baby in my tummy and I'm glowing at the same time, and I'm on my way to become a mother *heart heart heart*
Me back in 2010 - starting to get big
I did it, and now she's 6 years and awesome <3