Birthin’ This Here Baby
Katie Law Goodwin ©February, 2014
I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to give birth. I wasn’t afraid of labor or pain or gunk or ick or blood or sticky icky gooey discharges. I wasn’t afraid of any of that. But I didn’t want to let go of the most precious relationship I had ever had. I had never known closeness and intimacy like that, and I had no reference point for anything resembling this from a human outside my body…so I did not want to birth my baby girl. I wanted her to stay in my tummy forever.
I am having the same experience with this book. Each time we get closer and closer to the last edit…the last proof…I okay the last galley change…I get the same panicky feeling in my throat. What will change? Will it be the same? Who will look at me? They will look at the baby now, not at me…Will I ever have this sense of control and awe and love and expectation again? What will happen with the first bad review? What will happen if the baby is deformed? What will happen if she is born dead?
It is an insane awareness, always operating underneath the surface of awareness, always tickling the back of the egoic throat – this need to know, to be in control, to want to change the obvious end of things. To work so hard for a goal, and then want to – as we so grotesquely say – toss the baby out with the bathwater…well, I am well aware of the many psychological implications of this not wanting to let go.
I may not have been so forthcoming about my tendency if I had not heard the President and CEO of my publishing company give a talk about first- time author’s and this need to hold on – this inability to let go and publish their first project.
This baby has been in my tummy for 8 years. Eight years. She went stagnant for three years and then resurfaced two years ago when I disciplined myself to awaken every morning at 5:00 a.m. and write until 8:00 a.m. Then she was finished. This last year has been about polishing, editing, changing, scrubbing – even heartbreak as a previously contracted and accepted manuscript was then rejected by the publisher, then revised, resubmitted, and reaccepted. Much drama and intensity with this pregnancy, like the others.
And now it is time to let go. To let the baby be born. Let the powers-that-be clean her, give her an Apgar score, clear her breathing passageways, and let her Mama take a much needed break before the whirlwind of publicity begins.
Today I let go. I signed off on 320 Galley pages of proofs. I signed off on a beautiful cover proof. The baby is in the canal, ready to crown.