So I wrote a little book.
This is the story about it:
One night when I was four months pregnant I was lying in bed and feeling like a failure, as is my tendency. This time, I felt like a failure because I hadn’t yet published a book and I was going to have a baby and it was now too late to publish a book before having a baby. For a lot of my life, I told myself that I had to publish a book before having a baby because I was pretty sure that the rest of life ends when you have a baby. A baby is a lot like a cliff in the mist, I thought. One day you drive your car right over it, and you have to really believe that it’s just a short drop and then there’s an even better road right there to catch you. But, let’s be real, probably not.
I’m not sure why I’ve always thought that publishing a book was the most important, meaningful thing anyone could ever do. I think it has something to do with me being essentially uncreative. And reading a lot of books as a kid. And being self-centered. And sort of introverted. And snobby about literacy. But I’ve always been like this. All paths in my fantasy of my life lead to published books. For example, if I start a fantasy with “Let’s say I just won 100 million dollars,” the next thing is, “I could start my own publishing company and publish a book!” And then the thing after that is, “And I could hire really fancy publicists to advertise it. I could get a billboard!” And then the thing after that is, “And I could combat world hunger!” Shit. I’m a selfish prick.
(But I would definitely want to combat world hunger!)
Anyway, I am one of those people who is always “working on a novel.” It’s embarrassing. But I am serious about it. I have worked on some truly terrible novels. Now I am working on some somewhat better ones. I’m always excited about them. I’m always trying to figure out a plot in the back of my head and every time I read something good, I’m like, “Okay, how do I copy this so it looks like I’m not copying it?” Which I think is a good sign, because it means I’m being realistic.
I was scared of having a baby because I was scared of being irrelevant and normal and not doing the things I’ve always wanted to do. But I was taking so damn long to do them that I decided to have a baby anyway. And then there I was, four months pregnant, lying in bed wide awake in the middle of the night, having an obnoxiously familiar existential crisis. Which is when I suddenly decided to write a little book about that. Because why the hell not? Because there is no try. Because just the thought made me feel meaningful.
I had one of those moments where you would sit bolt upright if you were a character in a movie. But instead I just lay there, clutching my phone and typing a misspelled note in Evernote about how I should write a book about pregnancy and the mess inside my head. I decided that I would write whatever I wanted to write in nine chapters for the nine months of pregnancy and then I would publish it on Kindle or whatever and sell it on Eat the Damn Cake. I felt awesome. I felt like I was opening a door in the cramped, dank place my insecurities crouch, and stepping out into Wyoming on a sunny day.
That’s how my little book started.
And then Thought Catalog wanted to publish it, and I met my incredibly cool editor, Mink, and suddenly it was an official thing.
And here I am, publishing a book right after having a baby.
Not in exactly the manner I always imagined. And not the book I imagined. But then, my life hasn’t vanished into the mist the way I imagined it might. As it turns out, being a mom is a lot like being me with a baby. And it’s also fantastically, intricately, sweepingly, deafeningly different. It’s definitely never going to stop me from writing, because I have to write to be me, and I have to write about it because it’s so big and cool and mundane and boring and relevant.
To begin, I wrote these nine chapters that I really wanted to write, and an epilogue that is the honest-to-god truth about the birth.
I’m nervous. Some of the writing feels like my journal. So I feel exposed.
I’m excited, too. There are a few sentences in there that I’m really proud of and some that crack me up.
I hope you read it and like it. I hope you recommend it to a friend. Or your mom. Or your daughter.
I hope my mom isn’t mad at me for writing about her.
I hope there aren’t too many typos.
It’s funny that I’m nervous. I pushed an entire baby out of my vagina. That was scarier. She’s literally breastfeeding as I write this. If I can type in the dark while lying in bed breastfeeding her, I can do pretty much anything. Except for anything that involves moving any part of my body except for my hands. Which is a lot of things.
But you know what I mean. I became a mother. I wrote a little book. I did it.
So OK. Let’s do this.