If you want to read more about the process behind that (CW: pregnancy, pregnancy loss, blood, medical procedures, generally a bit sad and full on), I wrote and drew about it on Silence Killed the Dinosaurs. But yeah, the TL;DR version is, I’m pregnant.
I didn’t expect it to affect my writing, but it really has.
I made all these ridiculous goals to get done before the birth (about 6 weeks away now assuming everything runs on schedule, which it probably won’t because babies). They were:
Finish editing that novel I wrote.
Check bits of the novel with various people who know shit about either writing or some area of expertise that is relevant, and then make necessary changes when I get feedback.
Submit novel for manuscript assessment.
Finish another first draft I was working on that was stalled at about 2/3rds of the way through (stalling had more to do with life at the time, not ideas drying up or lack of interest).
Write and draw heaps of stuff for Silence Killed the Dinosaurs and potentially build up a buffer of work I can slowly post out over the first few months I have a baby.
Probably put a bit of effort into updating my Patreon tiers and generally promote it a bit, something I am terrible at doing.
All the usual baby prep stuff, but particularly crocheting and/or knitting a baby blanket and AT LEAST one toy.
Honestly, I still don’t think these were ridiculous goals for a 8-9 month time frame, especially since this is my day job (thanks, chronic illness and systemic ableism).
… but only if you don’t factor in pregnancy fatigue.
At least, that’s what I thought it was.
Since I already have a chronic illness literally known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it seemed reasonable that pregnancy fatigue would slam me extra hard, but even so, it was brutal. It wasn’t just feeling a bit run down and sleepy; it was more like I got blasted back several years to early in my illness when I was too physically weak to walk around the house. From October through to March, I had to nap almost every afternoon. I couldn’t stay alert through conversations. I couldn’t go for my usual walks. I couldn’t do things like vacuum. I was a spaghetti-level mess. I hoped, hoped, hoped it would lift in the second trimester—for most people it does—but nope. It did not.
And on top of that? Depression.
Post-partum depression is something most people have heard of at this point, but although it is less likely, you can get a hit of depression during pregnancy too. Especially if you have a history of it and are high risk for PPD. (Who has two thumbs and not only a history of depression but also an official screening showing them to be high risk for PPD? It’s me. Of course.) The upside to my history of depression is that I have practice spotting when it starts creeping in (which can actually be really hard to do because you just stop caring about yourself and generally everything) and I already know what tends to work for me to treat and manage it. Which my doctor and I implemented. But it still takes time, and it’s still a fight.
How much editing/writing/drawing did I get done? Probably heaps, right? Because it’s not like I could get off the couch and be distracted by things, and besides, don’t creative types thrive on adversity and angst, tortured artist myth, blah blah blah?
Lol. No. That’s not how bodies work.
I was almost always too tired to think, and when I could I was locked in battle with my own mind. I got practically nothing done.
At least until I hit the third trimester and my doctor ran the usual blood tests and found my iron levels were very, very low. (You don’t need to worry about the baby. Apparently when it comes to iron, babies get first dibs and you just have to live off whatever dregs they deign to leave you. This was only an issue for me). Long story short, my doctor sent me to the chemo ward where I was hooked up to an IV of disconcerting black-red iron liquid and had it pumped straight into my veins.
Within a week, I had energy again.
So then I began working on my before-baby goals. Which I had to whittle down. A lot.
This is all to say I still don’t have a totally finished book (GETTING THERE. I have structurally edited as much as I can just now and am currently scanning on a description/word level, and bits of it are with people who know stuff) (… although, if I’m being perfectly honest, when I say ‘currently scanning on a description/word level’ what I really mean is that the document is open in the background for me to ignore while I write this as procrastination). I would be surprised if I get it to manuscript assessment pre-baby, but perhaps I can have it fairly ready and do that a few months after when (hopefully?) I’ve semi-adapted to life with baby chaos. I definitely will not have a completed first draft of a second book. Instead of being ahead with Silence Killed the Dinosaurs, I am so behind I’m still working on a story about Easter. I haven’t even finished the baby blanket.
Though I have crocheted a pretty cool elephant toy and grown a small human strong enough to headbutt my bladder and make a little bit of wee come out.
So, there’s that.