So I’ve been a little busy lately. Giving birth.
Birthing a doozey of a baby.
She’s been ripening like a sweet peach hanging in the sun, getting juicier and more potently colorful, day after day. After day. After day. After day.
This gal that I’m birthing is my first book.
As I find myself in this book-birthing process, I am immediately taken back to seven years ago, when my little boy was sailing in my belly and ready to make his grand entrance into the world.
Seven years ago, I–the once daredevil child, the rebellious and fearless teen, the adult who runs into billowing smoke and crackling flames, without a second thought–was terror-stricken that I was going to die giving birth to my boy. Yes, die. Leave this physical world, leave my friends and family behind, and go to whatever great-white-yonder lies beyond.
While I could not logically explain my fear, the feeling was most definitely real and completely un-nerving for me, to say the least. As my belly grew, so did my fear. The bourgeoning belly gave me no choice, so I began to do everything I could to address my fear.
Birth of a Boy
I read medical manuals and birthing books. I reminded myself that birthing a child was the oldest and most natural process since the beginning of time. But lots of women died way back then, my mind would sneakily counter. I chided myself, knowing I would be giving birth in the first world comforts of a modern hospital and superior medical care. My fear persisted.
I confided in a friend who told me that I must have had a past life experience of dying in childbirth. She gave me the name and number of an “intuitive” who could see into my past lives. I was ready to try anything at that point. This woman told me I had died in multiple past lives while giving birth. Oh wonderful, just great. I thought. Interestingly though, I felt a little better. She continued on. She felt that I had learned what I needed to know in those lifetimes and she did not see me needing to go through that again in this lifetime. Well that’s a damn relief, I muttered to myself. But somehow, I did feel curiously better.
At about this time, I also began having guided sessions from another friend, where I would close my eyes, open my ears to soothing music, and listen to my friend’s tranquil voice guide me through peaceful visualizations of a safe and healthy birth. I took those powerful CDs with me to the hospital and listened to them gratefully in the hours during labor when it was time for the baby to be born.
By the time he was due to arrive, I felt more excited anticipation than fear, and was grateful I had explored many avenues where my fear was concerned. On the day he decided to make his earthly appearance, the precious babe took his sweet time; and his birth came with nary a hiccup (unless it was a literal one or two).
Birth of a Book
The birth of, Brave and Awake, my first book, is different from my little boy’s birth in many ways, but it is also very much the same. While the fear of physical death does not have a place in this particular birth, I am still facing fears. They are mostly the fears of my ego, I have found. What will people think? Of me? Of the book? Will the book really convey what I want it to say? Will it inspire? Will people like it? Will they hate it?
Three years ago, almost to this day, I began birthing Brave and Awake. I was driving to work on my own birthday, and on that clear, cold day, I instantly knew it was something I wanted to write. I felt that I had learned some life lessons and wanted to share them with others.
The first rough version of the manuscript was a diary or journal, at best. I cringed to myself as my first friends and family read it. My ego said, You will embarrass yourself. But inspiration trumped ego, and I continued, buoyed by their comments and suggestions. I made second, third, and fourth drafts.
Then I stumbled upon an artists immersion program, Momentum, and despite my fears, I took the challenge of immersing myself in a year-long program where I committed to finish the book, and create a blog to reach people.
My next challenge was examining aspects of my self worth, as I timidly declared myself an artist and a writer. Going “live” on facebook, before all–friends and strangers alike–was yet another huge and scary hurdle, in the process of this book birth. This one took looking at inner landscapes and working through some bumpy terrains. Not easy, but worth it.
Exploring my fears, as I did when I was pregnant, has brought me to where I am now. And no one is more surprised than I am, to find myself at the final step of submitting book proposals to literary agents and publishers, something I would never have imagined in the beginning of this process.
Fear and Birth
What are you on the cusp of birthing into your life? A new situation, a creative project, your life’s calling, your next step?
I have found that as we continually birth the many new experiences of our unique lives, it is certain that Fear will make his appearance. What I understand now is that fear is merely part of the Whole of this amazing birthing process–whether we are birthing big and bold or the smallest of wonderful things.
We do not need to let fear stop us. In fact, exploring our fears may make the experience of what we are birthing infinitely richer.
So, find what works for you. Do some inner work, read books, seek out an intuitive, check your ego at the door, face your fears. But get birthing already!
What will you be birthing next?