Welcome to the series! If you haven’t yet read Part I, you may do so HERE!
And now onto Part II…
Raise your hand if, whether in pregnancy or during your writing journey, you’ve ever thought something along any of these lines:
“I love this!”
“I can’t wait!”
“I need 1,000 years to prepare…”
In a word – well, two words actually, I’m referring to…
Learning I was pregnant felt a bit like hitting upon a new and exciting book idea. The adrenaline rush, the squeals, the racing heartbeat, the swirling, twirling brain as it fills with bright, invigorating flashes of what could be…
For hours, sometimes days after that lightning-bolt moment, you feel like you’re walking on air, like absolutely nothing – not traffic jams, not rudeness, not crappy service, not even a slow WiFi connection – can bring you down to earth. You’re untouchable, imperturbable, incapable of feeling any emotion other than effusive joy and soul-consuming ecstasy.
But time, as it tends to do, passes…
Once the initial thrill of discovery wears off, some not-so-awesome feelings and thoughts begin to sneak their way into your psyche.
Fear. Anxiety. Paralyzing worry. A thousand and one negative scenarios that spell utter doom for you and your baby, whether that baby’s literal or figurative.
Truth be told, I haven’t always wanted children. In fact, it wasn’t until earlier this year that the desire hit me like a ton of Huggies. So, after I found out I was pregnant, part of me thought, “What if this is a mistake? What if that urge you’ve been feeling for a burping, crying, pooping, sleep-eradicating mini human is a fleeting one? What if the first thing you feel when the baby arrives is shameful seething regret?”
On top of these doubts, I began to question my ability to even care for an infant, let alone a toddler, child, preteen, and then (gasp!) a teenager!
Because I’ve never particularly taken to kids, especially the small burpy, poopy ones, I knew that the learning curve for me would be steeper than Kilimanjaro. Just the thought of all the books and blogs and articles I’d have to read, the videos I’d have to watch, and the boatloads of information I’d have to sift through and form my own informed opinions about was debilitating.
I felt horrifically underqualified, sort of like a new writer who thinks they have to know everything the world has to teach them about literature and storytelling before they sit down to start their manuscript.
Grace, dear one. Grace.
That word has many meanings, but I personally love this one:
“disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency”
Whenever toxic, worrisome thoughts begin crowding my mind and shaking my joy, I remember the importance of showing myself KCC: kindness, courtesy, and compassion.
I did this when I was starting out as a professional writer. When impostor syndrome, fear, comparisonitis, or a massive flood of overwhelm overtook me, I’d remind myself that all great writers had to start somewhere, and most – if not all – of them didn’t wait until they were masters of the craft to get crackin’ on their first literary work. They learned as they went, often learning the most from their mistakes along the way.
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
― Margaret Atwood
“Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”
― John Dewey
Just like I’ll never be a perfect writer, I’ll never achieve Perfect Mom status. The sooner I can accept that, the better! It’s incredibly freeing to know that progress, not perfection, truly is the name of the game when it comes to reaching goals, tackling obstacles, and scaling walls we once thought insurmountable.
Whether our goal is to publish a novel, raise a child, or colonize Mars, we would do well to give ourselves plenty of grace every step of the way.
“For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.”