As a writer, I am not the most disciplined person in the entire world. I need to ruminate a lot before I write. I need to think and think and think and then, when I have finally thought enough, I sit down and the words just flow out of my fingers like water. I have been waiting to start writing my book and have been being nudged gently, and not so gently, by a lot of people. This book is my baby. It has been in my head for over a year now, but there have been a lot of distractions, and a lot of thinking, and a lot of fear. Yes, sissy girl here has had just enough self-doubt overriding my inner knowing of the greatness of this book to hold me hostage for a long time. I am no sissy, but I am as vulnerable to fear and self-doubt as anyone. Over the weekend, I got enough encouragement and a big enough kick in the butt to finally do it. Yesterday morning, I started my book.
For me, writing is like giving birth. Because I have given birth to seven children, and am a retired midwife, the analogy of having to be pregnant and then labor in order to finally give birth is what best describes exactly what writing is like for me. I will walk around for quite some time knowing that something big is coming and that it is going to change my life and that it is going to be something good. This is a very thoughtful period, pregnant with possibilities as yet unknown. It is a time of dormancy, but not inactive dormancy, for there is a lot of internal planning and preparing going on with in me. During these periods, I tire more easily, and I might get a little irritable at times, as well. Being pregnant is hard work and whatever is needing to be birthed just keeps getting bigger and bigger to carry within me.
Now, I am not going to tell you that I had terrible, days long, labors with my real, human children, because I just did not. I think my longest labor was about six hours long, because I do not consider it labor until I am really feeling it, and really having to concentrate and breathe. The labor period may be short, but I also go nearly completely within myself during this time. I do not want to be touched or spoken to. I am in my own little world for that short period, and that is exactly where I need to be, too. Do not fret. I am not there too awfully long.
Then transition hits and things get serious. I am beginning to feel like I need to push, and even if it is not an actual child that needs to be pushed out, but an idea, I will still often feel a physical sensation to push. During transition, I can get a little lost, and more than a little scared. I might be tempted to run. I had a planned home birth with my sixth child. He was born in July and I was so hot that I had the air conditioning set so low that all of those present for the birth had to raid my closet for my winter sweaters. At one point during transition, I got up off of my bed and began to walk towards the bedroom door. My labor and birth support team asked me where I was going. I told them that I was getting the hell out of there. I would come back tomorrow and finished it up then.
Not one drug involved and yet I thought if I just walked out of the room that the pain would end and I could come back when I was ready. I guess that I thought if I went outside and hoisted myself into my Chevy Suburban and went and got a chocolate malt at the Dairy Queen and maybe had a little nap that I would be ready to finish up the job in a few hours. Much to my chagrin, they guided me back into the bedroom and I popped the kid out on the bathroom floor about 30 minutes later.
Over the past weekend, I was in transition and I was scared. I felt stuck and lost. I knew that I could not go on as I had been, not having the courage to begin to push my baby of a book out into the world, but at the same time, I just really wanted a rest and a chocolate malt from the Dairy Queen. I would come back and do it when I was ready, and yet I knew it was time to push! Thank goodness, I had a good labor coach along side of me over the weekend. She said all of the right things. She held my hand and listened to my internal wailing, and she understood my fear, and she encouraged me a lot. She gave me the courage to begin to push and even promised to edit the book and lined up a totally awesome beta reader to join her as part of my team.
Yesterday morning, I woke up and felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off of me. I had such a burst of happiness and energy. I was ready to push. I sat down at the computer and opened my word processor and typed the words: Chapter One. And then, just as I described above, the words just flowed out of my fingers like water. Apparently, the quality of the water is high, as well, or so I have been told. I can taste the water myself and know that it is pure and it is the kind of water that is so good that people will want more. People will pay money to drink this water–well, that is my hope, anyway.
It was not easy, those first few paragraphs, because it is not easy stuff to give birth to, but it feels so good. Once you stop fighting the irresistible urge, and you actually start to push in earnest, it feels so good. I have a lot more pushing to do, and I suspect there will be more pregnant pauses, and more labors, and more periods of transition, but this baby is going to be gorgeous. This baby is going to light up a lot of lives. This baby is going to release so much from within me, and so much into the world that I can hardly wait to see what she looks like. She does not have a name yet, but she will. This beautiful, hard-fought for baby will have a name well suited to her before she enters the world.
So, if I am a little more quiet than usual in the months to come, or more irritable, or suddenly absent for a bit, please know that I am giving birth to my book and that it is hard work. You are all my labor coaches and my cheerleaders and I hope that you will all be around to celebrate this baby when she enters the world. She is my gift to all of you.