Suddenly, it is the middle of winter and I am at the start of my third trimester. I am beginning to wonder just how I am going to look back on this time, whether it will feel as ordinary as it does now, or morph into something sacred.
Growing a book and a baby to fruition at once is both beautiful and demanding. The parallels could inspire all sorts of obvious metaphors, the sheer labour of it all. However, I think my two greatest lessons have been patience, and acceptance of the gap between expectation and reality.
I had heard many horror stories about the indignities of pregnancy. Granted, they still have time to terrorise me, but the majority of my pregnancy has been quiet, calm and ordinary. I have enjoyed the order of self-care, exercising and eating consciously. As someone always lost in thought, it's been good to feel grounded and so in my body. Pregnancy has made me interrogate many of my preconceived ideas - why did I think it would be so humiliating to be pregnant and make me so weak, and why was I so concerned (since my teens) about the potential for pregnancy to make me gain weight? Is that all I am really worth? The muscles and bone of my pre-motherhood body?
Then, there is the growth of my book, which has taught me patience. I have waited so long to find an agent and have a shot at being published, but the road continues to be a long one. I have spent the past few months editing my book with my two wonderful agents in preparation to go out on submission. I have had to be stoic and tough on myself, but I know I only get one chance to put the best product out there.
An interesting point on this: the less attached you are to your decisions as a writer, the easier it is to let your book become what it is meant to be. When I first started pitching this book, I had two well-known agents that loved my book, but criticised a certain element of the plot. They offered me the chance to revise, and instead of taking this to heart, I edited the plot point within my comfort zone, without truly interrogating why I was so attached to keeping the plot point in. Of course, they didn't sign me. Maybe I have more confidence now, or maybe my agents just know what to say to lead me in the right direction, but I have been ruthless in cutting descriptions, plot points and characters that no longer serve the book. I won't lie, after I handed in the last edit yesterday I had a bit of a cry. Living in your novel and constantly summoning spirits from your past to write in great new scenes is exhausting.
The process has taught me so much respect for the publishing industry. Writing, editing and selling books is hard, and every book (well....most books haha) should be treated as sacred. I am so grateful to be part of it, and will continue to give it everything as this is the only path I want to be on.
I have a feeling the next few months are going to fly by even faster than the previous six months have. Soon my little boy and my little book will be out there in the world. Until that adventure begins, I am going to appreciate this charged, expectant present, and try get some rest.