Some authors will say that the first book they write simply pours out of them. Those are the words they stored up all those years. The book practically writes itself.
I felt that way. Journey in Love: A Catholic Mother’s Prayers After Prenatal Diagnosis was my storehouse of reflections, prayers, and anchors during our darkest days. When I signed the contract for that book, the acquisition editor and I negotiated a second more general book to be titled, Peace in Pregnancy: Devotions for the Expectant Mother, to be completed sometime after that first one.
And so it went. Journey in Love was published and around that time, our homeschooling days picked up the fire and I realized I could not work on the additional project outside of summer vacation. We renegotiated the deadline.
And a couple of months before I planned to sit down and get to work, the at-home pregnancy test read positive. I would have to put my money where my mouth was, so to speak, and write the book on peace during pregnancy while I walked it myself. In the introduction, I shared, “I did not know many moments of peace during my pregnancies, even when the pregnancies were healthy and progressing beautifully, but I sought it and in searching for it, I came to know peace even if I struggled to continue to choose the path toward it.”
Those first drafts were typed out while I waited for the twenty-week ultrasound, which would answer so many questions about whether past diagnoses would be repeated. Like the mother in Sigrid Undset’s Images in a Mirror, once we knew the full measure of sorrows possible in motherhood, the death of a child, each moment of joy and each moment of worry weigh heavier than they ever did before.
There were delays on the editor’s end. It was not until the sleep-deprived months of waking to nurse my hungry, growing, fantastically- healthy daughter that the first edit request came in.
In publishing, at least with Our Sunday Visitor, the non-fiction author turns in the proposal, which contains a chapter or two and an index. After that, the author works away, writing and editing the first draft. That gets sent over. When the deadline passes, the editor works on his or her part and returns it with the requested changes. Back and forth one more time until it goes to the line editors who clean up any grammatical or punctuation errors and then onto layout.
This process was simple when the words poured out of me. But through the haze of first-trimester fatigue and then early infancy, it was challenging. I felt the toll of the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies all of it. So I made the call. We renegotiated the deadline.
My editor understood and supported me by expressing her belief that this would be an important book and that I needed to be the one to write it. I carried those words with me.
Still, the school year passed and I was at a loss of how to make these changes until I sat with a young woman on the patio discussing the trials of motherhood. That night I understood, “write as if it were for her.”
While I struggled on with the ups and downs of the project, another friend said, “Maybe this isn’t for you. Maybe it is for someone else.”
Peace in pregnancy. Peace in pregnancy for a mother after miscarriages, prenatal diagnoses, and infant loss. Peace in pregnancy for the mother who has faced none of that but glows as she moves closer to the introduction of her firstborn. Peace in pregnancy.
A box of copies arrived at my door yesterday. There is something unspeakably overwhelming at seeing one’s name in this way, on the cover of the book, and despite the pains laboring to bring it to fruition, here it is, “Peace in Pregnancy: Devotions for the Expectant Mother” available now at Amazon or at Our Sunday Visitor.