Beyond either/or

I’m a mother. And I’m a writer. I think I figured out today that it won’t work for me to try and be one or the other. I’ve had a lot of angst the last few days as I tried to suppress, ignore and deny the writer in me that wanted desperately to make some progress on the two academic papers I’ve been trying to work on for – admittedly – years. The thought of putting them off indefinitely, as in for years, because baby was coming, was not sitting well with me. I tried to let go: I couldn’t. Because I wasn’t being true to me.
So yesterday, 40 weeks pregnant, I told baby we were ready and to come on down. And this morning, I sat down and worked for about 4 hours on a draft of a paper from my research in Kyrgyzstan. Yes, it’s been in the works for years – and yes I could have worked on it a lot earlier. But life was busy, and I didn’t, and somehow, working on it before this deadline felt essential. So I revised, cleaned up and then sent out to friends/colleagues for comment a good draft of the paper. It’s at 10,000 words now – the journal I’m considering has a 7000 word limit. But so what. And the writing isn’t perfect, the references not the most up to date. I don’t care. I did it. It is decent. I’m a good academic writer. It is at the next stage in the process: getting peer feedback before submitting to a journal. I’m completely thrilled that I did this; kind of amazed at how quickly I could get it done; and much more at peace with having a baby now that I know I can still be a writer. I’ll get back to it some time after baby comes – but again, while it doesn’t have to happen in the first month or two after baby comes, I also now know that I don’t necessarily have to wait years before I work on it again. And that alone brings me great relief. And, ironically, a greater ability to relax and be with the baby.

Come on, baby! It’s time!!

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