A few weeks ago, I decided to take on a small research project. By that I mean, I decided to Google something. This is actually something I do several times a day. Usually, I search for something that, without context, seems bizarre, such as “28 weeks baby kicks seem fainter?” And then, of course, I read one link, begin to panic, and retreat into the cocoon of my bed until Forrest, undoubtedly, begins to assault my insides as retribution for worrying about him.
However, this Google search was different. I searched, in this exact wording, “NaNoWriMo with newborn baby.”
If I expected to get an in-depth blog post about taking on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, a project that I’ve taken on every November for 5 years), I was mistaken. Three pages of results gave articles about “nurturing your newborn, baby novel” and lots of stuff that anthropomorphized novels into newborn babies. Basically, weird stuff and nothing related to actually trying to write a novel, in a month, about 1-2 weeks after giving birth.
I was disappointed, so I gave up, got in bed, and took a nap. AKA the usual.
I decided not to think about NaNoWriMo for a while. After all, November is a long ways away! Seriously, a long time! I laughed to myself as I thought about it. November is, basically, like 6 months away. Lightyears. It is lightyears away at this point.
Then, I realized, with a shocking revelation, that my due date is in 12 weeks. Less than 12 weeks now. 11 weeks. 11 weeks. I remember being 11 weeks pregnant. How did I get to 28, 29 weeks?? How did this happen??
So, I hit Google again. This time, I thought of ways I could augment my search to cut out the weird, treat-your-writing-like-a-baby articles. (This, to be honest, is a pet peeve of mine. A novel is not a baby; it is a lump of words that you put on the page. It’s not living and breathing. If it’s driving you nuts, you need to take a few deep breaths and chill. Also, the use of “baby” alongside “novel” without actually talking about a baby makes it hard for people who are carrying around babies inside of them to find actual information for their actual situations.)
Anyway, I searched for: “NaNoWriMo with a baby”, “NaNoWriMo with kids”, and “NaNoWriMo post-baby.” I got, across the board, almost the exact same results as before (“Why your NaNoWriMo novel is like your least favorite kid” and “Getting your NaNoWriMo baby to behave” are two truly bizarre 5th+ page Google results). However, I did find a few baby-related (real baby, I mean) NaNoWriMo articles and one interesting blog post.
But absolutely none of them talked about attempting NaNoWriMo with a newborn. With a 6-month-old, with a 1-year-old, with two toddlers, with twin toddlers, etc., yes. But newborns? No.
This, of course, leads me to believe that most people think I’m absolutely nuts for even attempting NaNoWriMo with a newborn baby.
If Forrest is born exactly on his due date (which is unlikely, although possible), he will be 8 days old on November 1, aka the start date of NaNoWriMo. If he is born early, he might be 2 weeks old by then. If he is born late, he might only be 4 days old or less or more. Or he could not even be born yet, if he really decides to make my life hard. There are a multitudes of possibilities when it comes to "what my life will be like in November" and I can't predict any of them.
With all that being said though... I find myself still wanting to try NaNoWriMo. My mom keeps reassuring me that, despite what everyone says, I will have spare time once the baby comes. I will have time to eat and take a quick shower, get work done and cook. Not as much time as right now, mind you, but I won't be losing it immediately. That means in November, I will probably have at least some downtime to dedicate to myself, to staying creative. And who knows, maybe having a baby will inspire me in ways I never expected!
I'm someone who, very often, relies on the experiences of others to calm my fears. In many ways, this is one of the benefits of the internet. Whenever I'm experiencing a particularly bizarre pregnancy symptoms (strange taste in mouth, pain in my right side, spotting, whatever), I can Google it and find 100 different accounts of what it could be, or how normal it its, or whatever. It's comforting, really.
So, to have no accounts of a new mom taking on NaNoWriMo is terrifying because it means I'll be embarking on my journey with no past experiences to calm me down or tell me how it will go. It could go fine, like any other year that I've completed a novel. Or it could be awful, a stressful waste of time that makes me feel cranky and silly and dumb, a 1/4-finished novel on my computer and no pretty certificate to print.
I'm willing to take one for the team though. I'm willing to be the first... if only so I can write about it and tell the world, one way or another, if it really is crazy.