Some of you know my story. In 2018, I was launched headfirst into motherhood with precious little heads-up whatsoever. Zero notice really (more on this incredible story another time!). We were living in cold, wintry New York. And suddenly, I found myself in the unfortunate head space of juggling both winter blues and baby blues.
(I’m using these moderate euphemisms, but please know that I’m referring to the very real, very suffocating conditions Seasonal Affective Depression and Postpartum Depression).
As a first-time mama, I felt utterly overwhelmed. Although family visited as often as possible, we had no family and few friends in New York, so I felt lonely. I was in physical pain-recovering from a C-section, breastfeeding, pumping. My hormones were going haywire. And I was tired. Oh. So. Tired.
All the time.
Exhausted. Weary. Drained.
That almost covers it.
If you are a new mama in the trenches of the first year, I see you and I understand. It is hard.
So when my son, a notoriously poor napper prior to this, finally took a THREE hour nap one afternoon…I felt like a new woman. I’d had a small reprieve. And I now had hope. Hope that maybe it could happen again…and maybe again…and some of my sanity might return.
My mood was lifted and I bounced into the nursery when my son awakened. As I laid him on his changing table, I excitedly told him, “You took a long nap today! A super long nap! Samuel’s super long nap!” I paused. “Hey, that sounds like the title of a children’s book…Samuel’s Super Long Nap!”
And just like that, my first picture book manuscript was born-Samuel’s Super Long Nap. I loaded Samuel into his stroller and we went for a walk through the neighborhood. My head spun as the words and the rhymes formed. It took me only about 4 days and my first draft was written.
I joined Facebook groups for KidLit writers and I found a freelance editor who I hired for poetry coaching and developmental editing. I’d always loved to write. I’d gotten my degree in English and I’d kept journals for years. It had always been a, seemingly unattainable, dream to be a published author one day. But my sparkly new manuscript, and the thought of writing KidLit, had ignited a new fire under me. I wrote several more manuscript drafts over the coming months.
Then, life happened and I wasn’t spending as much time writing as I wished I could. I went back to work in a part-time capacity when my son was 8 months old. Someone said to me, “I bet it’s nice to use your brain again.” As if being a full-time mama of an infant wasn’t using my brain? That comment has stuck with me and rubs me the wrong way every time I remember it. In fact, I would argue the exact opposite. The day I started back to work, my creativity for writing began to subside.
Add to that, a major cross-country move from New York to Florida, and my writing took a backseat for a few months.
When my son turned two, I left my job for good. And, the creative energy in my brain was once again free!
Now, I am spending every waking moment pouring myself into my writing, in one way or another. I’ve independently researched and studied meter and rhyme. I have several picture book manuscripts I’m working on now. I’m also writing a memoir about the birth of our son (remember I mentioned that it’s an incredible story?! Stay tuned.). I’m regularly interacting with the writing community on Twitter and Facebook, and maintaining my shiny new blog. I’m a member of SCBWI, and I participate in an active online critique group, as well as additional ad hoc manuscript swaps from time to time.
Samuel’s Super Long Nap has been re-titled and has changed almost entirely from where it first started. But, over the course of the last two years, it’s gotten so much better! In fact, I’m now querying literary agents and hoping to sign with one eventually. Have I received rejections? Yes! It takes some people years, and hundreds of rejections, before breaking into the publishing world. But I’m here for the ride!
And all because of a baby who eventually napped….