It’s three o’clock in the morning, and I’ve been awake for hours with my newborn son. I can’t figure out why he’s crying. Is he too hot? Too cold? Hungry? With a dirty diaper? Or all of the above?
Somewhere in my foggy, sleep deprived mind, a thousand thoughts charge through my brain. Will I be a good enough mother? Am I going to learn what my son needs? And one huge, hovering question, will I have to give up my writing life in order to be the positive mother I want to be?
I anticipated his birth with anxiety and joy, knowing my life would change completely, and wondering if I would feel like a different person in a good or bad way. I also wondered if I would get the hang of writing with a baby, if that was possible at all, or if I would feel so absorbed in my new child that my creative life would dry up, like a dream deferred, as Langston Hughes said, like a raisin in the sun.
I’m aware I’ve spent the last two weeks partially in fear. And for good reason. I’ve met a variety of women who out of social and economic necessity gave up their dreams for their families, their children. I know deep down they didn’t want to but faced with more immediate needs, and not much to no support, they had no choice.
I’ve feared becoming that woman.
I’ve contemplated giving up my dream to become a published author.
During these last few weeks I’ve felt inadequate, bewildered, and like I want to put off my dreams indefinitely because I haven’t been able to fathom how I will be able to manage it all.
And yet a tendril of another emotion has also risen in me.
What if it’s possible to be both a mother and an author? What if, though my creative landscape grows differently, it remains alive and thrives?
I used to hate using my phone to go on the internet and now I’m writing a blog post on it. I never thought I would do that.
Now I’ve used my phone to reach out on Facebook and through email to my writing community and here’s what they shared with me:
- Be patient and kind to myself; take it easy. My feelings are natural and I need to give myself time to adapt.
- I can be an author and a mother at the same time.
- I can learn to write in five, ten, fifteen minute increments. Any progress is still something.
- Keep a notebook close to jot down ideas so I can work on them later.
- Accept the change and roll with it.
- Call on the support I do have–my awesome spouse, family, and friends who want to spend time with a lovely baby!
- And one if the most important things that I’ve read on blogs and on Facebook is that people’s children taught them important lessons: children can help hone us, help us cut out the superfluous, prioritize, and sharpen our skills. Since having children, many people report becoming more productive because they use the little time they have much more wisely.
I can see this happening to me as well because I’ve already seen how different my life is.
And in a very good way.
My friend Angela Froschl runs a clothing boutique. Besides selling very cute clothes, she strives to inspire others to follow their dreams. This meme she created reminds me of my one of my life’s purposes–to be my very best always.
I don’t know about being average or not, but all I know is that if I choose to give up my identity and projects, I sure am not living up to my greatest self and fullest potential.
Earlier this year, I wrote a blog about having a Personal Adventure Guide instead of a New Year’s Resolution because a PAG leaves room for change and flexibility. I’ve decided not to give up, but instead accept what is, adapt, and for sure, NOT give up on my dreams,
I knew my son was going to teach me many things, including helping me believe in myself. These last two weeks have also been magical. I love staring at his face and listening to him. I love that he’s already helping me become more grounded, focused, and realize what’s important to me.
And I’ve imagined what he would say to me as an adult. He wouldn’t want me to give up what’s personally important to me. He wouldn’t want me to sacrifice myself to the point of not following through on publishing my vampire romances and losing something integral to my being.
Because I am a writer. It’s part of my identity, part of what keeps me going, makes me sane, what inspires and motivates me to get up in the morning. What fulfills me and even makes me be a better mother because when I care for myself I care for my son. I teach him my needs are important and therefore so are his.
And I want him to be his best person in this life, the same I know he wants the same for me.
If you love paranormal romance, my upcoming series, the House of the Black Swan, features vampires. If my novels sound interesting to you, please sign up for my newsletter, Scarlett West’s Pulse, so you can be the first to know when they will be released! Also, always feel free to swing by Facebook and Twitter and say hello.
If you want to know more about what a PAG is, check out my other article: http://scarlettwestwrites.com/2017/01/10/new-years-resolution-or-p-a-g/
And check out Angela’s Facebook clothing boutique for lovely clothes and inspiration, Thongin’ It. https://www.facebook.com/groups/thonginit/