During my recent pregnancy, I spent a lot of time berating myself for not writing more, or at all. I accomplished next to nothing in both my blogging and my fiction work. The only exception was a brief stint during my early second trimester that produced a blog post or two and a handful of freewrites. It felt illogical. Here I was with my toddler actually sleeping through the night for the first time in her life. My husband was either home full-time or on a regular work schedule. My parents were around to help out. I could have been up to my ears in opportunities to write. Then why wasn’t I getting anything done? Not only was it illogical, it was a giant waste! I saw other women finishing manuscripts while working on publishing contract deadlines during pregnancy and here I couldn’t muster the will to plot for a couple of hours here and there.
Now, a few weeks into newborn life round 2, I get it. With my first child, I experienced birth trauma and an even more traumatic postpartum season. All of that loomed in front of me from the moment that test showed two pink lines. The first 15 weeks I found myself constantly nauseous, exhausted, and relentlessly catching every sickness going around. To top it off, the emotions coming up were messy and difficult as my physical circumstances and the deep fears surfacing about another pregnancy created a depression I had difficulty shaking. I could barely get off the couch, let alone write. When the fog finally cleared, a few weeks of productivity were my reward. Until the fear, apprehension, and need to prepare set in. The emotions about my changing body, mental processing of my previous experience, and fears about my upcoming labor consumed my brain. With so much for me to work through physically, mentally, and emotionally, there was no head space for creativity.
I am trying to look back with more grace, understanding that I was not in a place that I could power through if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. And it wasn’t. Taking care of my pregnant body and mental health, working through my fears, and managing labor in the healthiest way possible for me – those were 100% necessary. And as soon as I got through them, the space cleared and my mind began racing toward finding minuscule pockets of time for creativity. Now it feels necessary, vital even, to make room for it in my life.