The first time my husband and I talked about having kids, we were in our early 20s, not yet married, and the idea of starting a family felt so far away it might as well have been on the planet Jupiter. But then 22 became 25 became 29. The years blinked away faster than I thought possible.
In that time, I also quit my job in order to focus on writing. I had grand dreams (or delusions?) of long days at the keyboard, words pouring out of me in a great rush, like rice into a pot. But truthfully, I didn’t write that much more than I had while working a day job. I was just happier, because I felt closer to living the writer’s life that I had imagined for myself as a girl.
I finished a manuscript, polished and queried it, and signed with a great agent. We went on submission. I turned 29.
By then, my husband was itching to become a father. In many ways I was ready too, but there was one major roadblock: I had always envisioned becoming an author first, a mother second. So I asked him to wait a little longer, until my book sold. Then we could try for a baby.
My book did not sell.
I could write a whole other post about that — about the slow, silent grief I didn’t even realize I was going through — but suffice it to say, it became clear that I couldn’t keep putting off motherhood. Couldn’t keep tying it to a day that might not come for years.
Throughout my pregnancy, I tried to write. Through the nausea and exhaustion and discomfort, I tried. Ever the optimist, I thought, “At the very least, I can finish a new manuscript and get it to my agent before the baby is due.”
Nope. Just like quitting my job to write full-time did not magically make me a faster writer, neither did getting pregnant.
The baby came — a sweet, tiny little girl — and for those first few months, everything was about her. (Well, and my own recovery.) For the first time in two decades, I put absolutely zero pressure on myself to write. It was foreign, frightening, and a little bit liberating. [Read more…]