Up until then I had been thinking of pregnancy not so much as a thing in itself but as preparation for the thing. Eating five servings of dairy a day, taking prenatal vitamins, going to birth class and prenatal visits with my hubby, reading baby books, choosing a name, making the birth plan—all this was build-up to the main event: birth. My eyes were focused on the outcome, not the process.
But as her words pointed out, a first-time experience is always unique. With a second baby, there’s (usually) another child in the home, commanding much of Mom’s time and attention. Second time around, we have some precedent for the sweeping physical and emotional changes that are utterly new with the first child.
I’ve been thinking about my midwife’s advice a lot lately, as I prepare to birth my first book. The process is not wholly unlike pregnancy: I have trouble sleeping, I eat weird foods, and I go around town with a dopey grin, wanting to tell everyone my due date and my baby’s name (“’Farewell, Aleppo.’ He takes after his grandfather.”)
The brand-spanking-newness of this experience to me makes me scared, excited, sometimes exhausted. I’ve been stunned by how much there has been to do since we completed the final edit: locating photos, picking a name (agh! more on that in another post), finalizing the cover, setting up social media, planning the marketing and publicity, lining up readings, making a contact list for announcements….
There are—as people like to taunt me—upwards of a million books published in this country every year. But this is my baby. Yes, I’m anxious to see the finished product (gestating so much longer than a human!). I can’t wait to hold my bouncing baby book, swaddled in the beautiful cover that Scott Gerber designed and show it off to the world. Most of all, I want to put my creation at last in the hands of my father, who has been waiting far more patiently than I’d ever have asked.
And I want to savor this period of expectancy. There’s nothing like a first book.