I’ve done both. 2 long labours; 7 books. When kids ask me which is my favourite one, I say it’s like asking me to choose which son I like best. But the one thing these two seemingly different life events have in common, is that they are both quite painful. I use the term ‘parent’ here in both context of the literal and of the literary.
Reason 1: Getting Pregnant. Sometimes, no matter how much you want it, it can be quite hard to make a baby/story. Some parents try for years with no joy. We try the right nourishment, plenty of sleep and tons of ‘exercise’ and yet still…that darned first line won’t form. Frustrating!
Reason 2: Being Pregnant. So, you’ve managed it. You are with child/story. Now you can start to agonise. As the bump gets bigger (or the word count gets higher) you might find yourself getting emotional over the smallest thing. You write a near-perfect sentence. Then you worry incessantly if the rest of your story lives up to that sentence. Meanwhile, the bump’s parents are fretting over names and whether to eat mayonnaise or not.
Reason 3: Labour. The big day arrives. Bump’s mum leaks amniotic fluid all over her maternity trousers. Story’s parent leaks red wine all over her shirt as she tries to steady her nerves. Labour pains take mums to a place where she makes noises she didn’t think possible. This is identical in both cases.
Reason 4: Stage 2. It turns out, you might need some help. However many times you read and re-read your text, you will never see the typo that your brain reads as correct. In steppeth the proof reader/editor. With their assistance, you can move forward to the next stage. In my experience though, never ask a proof reader to give you an epidural.
Reason 5: Stage 3. After all the pain, the burning, the ‘ring of fire’ – the birth. In a split second, all that heaving and huffing and pain disappears and a new being appears in your life. The minutes after are important for bonding. Just like if you’re having a baby.
So there you go! Case proven.