Babies, Books, and Balance: Notes from the Writing Mama

If you haven't heard ... I'm having a baby! 

My book-loving Moonbeam, Áine

My book-loving Moonbeam, Áine

My second daughter, whom I'm dubbing the "Little Star," is due to join our family in just three short weeks. Matthew and I are incredibly excited. Our family's three sets of loving grandparents are ecstatic. Áine, my two-and-three-quarter-year-old Moonbeam, is ambivalent. 

And, truth be told, I'm a little nervous, too.

I feel like I still haven't completely learned to balance my creative work with being a mama. I wonder if I will ever completely master this juggling act. And, now that I'm going to have a Moonbeam AND a Little Star, I know that things are only going to get more complicated. 

I find myself asking questions like, 

  • What is going to happen to my creative energy once our new daughter comes into the world and our lives shift accordingly? 
  • How will I have the time and stamina to do it all? 
  • Will I be able to create in the same way ever again? Or will everything be different? 

Not only mamas ask these kinds of questions. Many writers struggle with change - whether that change comes in the form of a move, a shift in a relationship, a new job or schedule, or something else. We come to rely on routine as a balance to the unstructured energy of creative flow. 

Any time our lives change, we wonder how it will affect our creative output. Will we still be able to connect to our "muse" in the same way? When we have less time, will we be less creative? Will our priorities shift, and will we drift away from the creative projects we once felt were so vital? 

I don't have all the answers to these questions. I only know from experience that creative energy ebbs and flows. I have felt enormously creative during this pregnancy. It's been amazing, actually. I also know that after I birth my daughter, ALL facets of my personal energy will probably fall into a lull (which is why I've scheduled a generous maternity leave this summer!) I probably won't feel very creative for at least the first month of my new daughter's life. In fact, I'll be too sleep-deprived and beat up to do much beyond nurse her and zone out on the couch - and I have to be okay with that. 

And, I need to remember that there are upsides to change as well.

Before I had Áine, I was convinced that I would never be my focused, creative, free-spirited self again. it was one of my greatest fears about becoming a parent. Luckily, as with many other things about parenting, I was dead wrong. Yes, there was an adjustment period, but in the end, I didn't have to give up my creative self to become a mama. Instead, I learned to use my creative energy (and my time) much more efficiently.

Where before I needed an hour or two to get into the flow of a project, now I can dive in in fifteen minutes. Instead of needing to complete projects in large chunks in order to keep the energy flowing and my mind focused, I can now break things up into manageable pieces and still stay connected. 

Now, in month nine of this pregnancy, I'm contending with many of the same fears again, but I'm breathing through it, and reminding myself that creativity will always be part of my life, if I choose to allow it. My creative process might shift once again, but it won't desert me. 

So, for all of you writers out there who are in the throes of change: just breathe, and go with the ebb and flow. Shifts are inevitable in life, but creativity is ever-present. 

With love,

Bryna



Bryna René Haynes is the founder and President of The Heart of Writing, the chief editor for Inspired Living Publishing, and the best-selling author of The Art of Inspiration: An Editor's Guide to Writing Powerful, Effective Inspirational and Personal Development Books. In over a decade as a writer, editor, ghostwriter, designer, and publishing consultant, she has helped hundreds of authors find their authentic voices and create powerful, memorable, successful works. She lives outside of Providence, RI, with her husband, Matthew, and their little Moonbeam, Áine.