Writing & Pregnancy

Tip #1: Get as much done during your pregnancy as you can (which may be less than you think).

Tip #2: don’t get a 9-week-old Golden Retriever puppy two days before you find out you’re pregnant.

When I saw that second line show up on the pregnancy test, I started to laugh. “Well, this should be interesting,” I called to my husband, who was chasing Vonnegut, our brand-new minion of chaos, across the living room. Vonnie had been home for a day and a half. So had I, fresh off the plane from a week-long writing retreat on the other side of the country. The retreat had been a last hurrah, as we both suspected that any month now we’d be getting ready for the ultimate vacation disruptor. I’d written forty thousand words in five days, over half of what would become I AM STILL ALIVE. I didn’t even know I was pregnant and I was already frantic to get as much writing done as I could before the kid arrived.

This was my strategy, in all its complex tactical glory: write as much as I humanly could while I was pregnant, so I could slack off for a bit after the birth (you know, like a few days, max).

It was a great strategy. You should totally try it. Just know that I completely failed at it, and everything turned out fine.

Over the next nine months, I had two books published and wrote another book and a half. Meanwhile, Vonnie’s bladder capacity slowly got better while mine slowly got worse. My borderline panic continued to mount. So did my excitement. By the time I was in my third trimester, I struggled to get anything done unless it was baby-related. Painting the entire apartment (badly)? Sure, no problem. Stringing a sentence together? Impossible. It was too hard to focus on imaginary worlds and invented lives when thinking about my future was so all-consuming.

As the “subtle” comments about age gaps between siblings start flying at family gatherings, pregnancy and writing are on my mind. I’m determined to learn from my mistakes and my successes and be a hell of a lot nicer to myself this time around, so stick around next week and I’ll start diving into what worked, what didn’t, and provide an ongoing catalogue of the things that puppy destroyed.

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