Babies and Books, Lost and Born
Three things simultaneously: October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, today is my son's 11th birthday and I once again I feel hugely pregnant, but this time with a book.
A few days ago, a writer friend and I had coffee to talk about our manuscripts. "We can study the ins and outs of the publishing industry but that's no guarantee of publication," I told her. "Just like it's hard to hear parenting advice when you don't know whether or not you'll get to have your baby."
My son was born in the midst of a maelstrom of miscarriages, before 3 and after 3, via emergency c-section with the chord triple wrapped around his neck. Every day of my pregnancy with him I was terrified would be the last. It's hard to surrender to one method of birth and delivery when you have your heart set on another. I'd wanted a natural childbirth at home but the fact that my son was born at all was nothing short of a miracle. The fact that he's become so brilliant and handsome is icing on the cake. I wailed and grieved and mourned the losses of the babies I didn't have but the one I did brings me so much joy. How he got here no longer matters at all.
As I continue to write the book that contains my blood and heart and soul it occurs to me that how it comes into the world is of less consequence than whether or not it does. If I want to mother this story it doesn't matter so much if it's published by Random House or Kinko's, if a million people read it or none or one. I was a mother even to the babies I didn't have. I have authored manuscripts that may never be published. I hope with all of my heart that the book I'm writing now has a smooth, beautiful, easy birth but no matter what, I still get to love it, I still get to claim it as mine.