‘Tis the pregnant season right now. Many of my friends are gestating literally and creatively. I’m surrounded by people about to give birth to babies, books, works of art, new careers. Being book pregnant myself (and having been baby pregnant in the past), I thought I’d write a little bit on why being baby pregnant is way better than being book pregnant.
Baby: People throw you parties and give you gifts because you need a lot of support.
Book: People get mad at you when you stop going to parties because “can’t you stop writing for even a second?”
Baby: You talk nonstop about gestation, birth plans, and breast feeding. Even strangers smile indulgently at your passionate planning; they offer advice and their own stories of encouragment.
Book: You talk nonstop about narrative arc, chapter outlines, research, and word count. People roll their eyes and wonder, “can’t she talk about anything else besides writing?”
Baby: You call your friends crying and hormonal because being pregnant is so hard, and they are sympathetic and call you “brave.” They understand that gestating a fetus is not an easy task.
Book: You call your friends crying and hormonal because writing a book is so hard, and they ask if they can call you back and think, “why is she so upset? She doesn’t even work.”
Baby: When you pee and it’s a funny color and smells weird, you go to the doctors and they say, “many pregnant women have weird, smelly pee; you are completely normal.”
Book: When you pee and it’s a funny color and smells weird, you don’t have time to go to the doctor, so you have no idea if it’s normal or not. Probably cancer. From the book. Book cancer.
Baby: You feel like a total failure because you haven’t showered in days, the house is a mess, and you don’t have any more clean underwear. Your family tells you that you are doing the most important job in the world and to go take a nap.
Book: You feel like a total failure because you haven’t showered in days, the house is a mess, and you don’t have any more clean underwear. Your family asks you when you will get a real job.
Baby: You get fat, but everyone assures you that you look amazing and besides “it’s just baby weight; it will come right off.”
Book: You get fat, but no one says anything while secretly judging, “wow, she’s really let herself go.”
Baby: The baby is constantly growing even when you take a nap or go out to dinner with your friends.
Book: The book only grows when you sit at your desk in that specific broken chair with a cup of lukewarm tea at your elbow (which you spill every time), in your writing “unform” (pajamas).
Baby: At the end of nine months, you are pretty much guaranteed a product that your family will be proud of and strangers will complement you on producing.
Book: At the end of nine months, you might have a draft of something that you may or may not actually show to others. And even if your family is proud of you, someone, somewhere will think it is shit and loudly tell everyone on the internet so.
Baby: You can’t drink, but alcohol smells soooooooo good.
Book: You shouldn’t drink (before 4pm), but alcohol smells sooooooo good.
Baby: When you call it a “fetus,” everyone loudly corrects you: “Oh no, it’s a baby.”
Book: When you call it a “book,” everyone silently corrects you: “Oh no, it’s a bunch of scribbles.”
Baby: After this experience, you will never be the same person again.
Book: After this experience, you will never be the same person again.
To both my baby pregnant and book pregnant friends (one of whom is both!): hang in there. We are all doing important, hard work. (It’s all baby weight; it will come right off . . . )
*picture is from Brain Pickings