Part 1…Book Baby

Book Baby

You often hear about authors speaking about their book and likening it to the conception, gestation, labour and birth of a baby. As a midwife, I can attest to that.  I had easy pregnancies and four wonderful home births.  So my book Womb Medicine was certainly my most challenging baby and birth.

Gestation

I often referred to the gestation of my book in obstetric terms; the longest pregnancy ever, difficult labour, needed interventions. I went through many of the crises of confidence that women go through during labour and birth, when it came to finishing my manuscript and releasing it to the world. 

The Pregnancy

It was the longest book pregnancy ever, with morning sickness and throwing up quite common. I had all the pregnancy discomforts, pains and severe self-doubt about my ability to become the mama this book deserved.  I didn’t trust myself or my body to birth this baby.  I read and researched endlessly, read some more and thought everybody knew more than I did or knew how to articulate better than me.

The Due Date

The due date came and went! Trudy my publisher and Louise my editor were very patient as I made change after change and demanded extra edits. I needed lots of counseling for my obvious reluctance to release this book into the world. And then just when Trudy was ready to book me in for an induction, I went into labour.  Just like in real life, most babies will come when they are ready.

The Labour

Contractions were painful. As a childbirth educator I always tell women that all you need to do is to get through labour one contraction at a time. This baby was not in the best position so I had to walk, sway, stomp and change positions, to bring her in better alignment to be born. I needed to breathe, chant and yell!  I needed to let go.  I needed massage, reassurance and kindness. 

Failure to Progress

‘Failure to progress’, ‘stuck in the birth canal’, ‘needs interventions’………..these are obstetric terms that describe all too well the process of completing a book. Women go through many crises of confidence during labour and birth ……….. when they have to face their fears and go beyond their limits. Likewise with writing a book and revealing yourself to the world.

Transition

Transition:  the time that usually occurs towards the end of first stage labour.  The cervix is nearly fully open to let the baby descend into the birth canal. At this point mama is often exhausted emotionally and physically and wants to give up. She decides it’s too hard. She can’t do it. She may demand an epidural that was definitely not part of her birth plan. For this book mama-to-be it was “I can’t do this anymore, Who am I kidding, I’m not worthy to be this book’s author. Other people know more about this than I do. I’m a fraud.  All of this head chatter was noisy, debilitating, fear based and drowned out the quieter voices that whispered, “All is well, Have faith”. In Birth, this phase is the worst bit before the best bit and with courage, love and support women move through it to birth their baby.

Second Stage, Finally Fully Dilated, Baby Is Moving

Pushin: my team cheering me on, You can do it, Pusshhhhhhh, going purple in the face, Hold your breath. Pushhhhhhhhhh! (the exact type of pushing I do not advocate) Pushhhhhhhhhh ! You need to get this baby out !

Birth

The final culmination and crowning of the baby’s head. The ring of fire! Burning, stretched to my limits, at last she emerged. I held the beautiful pastel toned copy in my hands for the first time. She was so beautiful and felt so soft!  I felt such pride and wonder. She had a front and a back cover and 98 pages. She had my picture on the back cover. I did it! I did it!

Amnesiac Properities Of Endorphins

Due to the amnesiac properties of endorphins released at a natural birth, even women who have had a really tough birth will turn around and say “I want to do that again”. The Womb medicine cards were my next baby and like many second births was a much easier process. At the Animal Dreamers writers conference Scott Alexander King did a session on designing your own oracle cards. I diligently took notes, how many cards, how many sub headings. It all started to flood in. I scribbled down a list of the herbs that would be included in the cards, the modalities that would be included. Very little editing was needed.  It was a much shorter labour and a relatively pain free birth.

Like Any Birth....

Like any Birth, we need midwives to be by our side and support us on our journey, particularly the first time. For me it was Trudy King who held my hand and talked me through the contractions, rubbed my back and gave me sips of water. She helped me through my crises of confidence when I got cold feet and thought I/the book wasn’t good enough.  She held the space for me while I changed words around, deleted whole pages and added others.  I was making this book up and learning about yoni steaming as I went along. Even though she had never heard of vaginal steaming, she supported this book from its inception. We navigated this journey together and the book turned into a mini manifesto for women’s empowerment.  It became a guide for women to take control of their health and stop giving away their health and power to others, whether they practiced yoni steaming or not. I couldn’t have done it without her.

By the way for the next book I’m going for an Orgasmic Birth.