Last year’s dreams were big.
I had a novel I was motivated to complete. I was rolling along with a group of 12,000 mom authors and had plans for anthologies, courses, events, and more. There were gardens to plant and trips to take and so many things I was ready to take on.
Then, I got pregnant. This wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, this was a long-awaited answer to a prayer. What I did not anticipate was this pregnancy sucking every ounce of life from me. I didn’t anticipate the exhaustion and sickness and half a dozen hospital visits.
Even though I was thrilled to be having another baby, I was completely derailed by reality. I felt like I knew what I was doing after the first couple of kids. I knew I’d be tired, but I thought I could pull it off.
Turns out I couldn’t. Not this time. Maybe I’m too old, or maybe taking care of three kids was harder than two. Maybe this pregnancy was just more complicated and required more. I was definitely spread thin between work and Moms Who Write and family and everything else. Likely, it was a combination of everything that bled me dry—emotionally, physically, creatively, and in every way. I felt guilty for failing my kids, my job, my husband, and everyone else around me, which didn’t help.
I thought about what I’d say to a friend who was going through the same thing.
It’s okay. Take time. Everything else will be there. You can only do what you can do, and it’s enough. Growing a human is enough.
When I tried to apply that advice to myself, though, it seemed absurd. How can I just be okay with not doing things? Things that matter? Things I truly want to do, and that I promised I would be a part of? My word count was non-existent, and I held myself up against others who completed multiple books. I looked at my own languishing works in progress and felt defeated.
I wish I could say that I made peace with all of it and that suddenly, I was magically okay with my inability to produce this year. But I can’t. I am still frustrated and feel like I’m going into 2023 “behind.” Behind what, I’m not sure. Myself? What am I even comparing my progress to?
I’m spending the first week of 2023 writing to myself. Notes. Ideas. Aspirations. But maybe I need to offer myself an apology. Because the reality is that, despite the course deviations, Moms Who Write published three books. I grew and birthed a whole person. I kept the other kids alive, and my marriage is intact. Nobody starved and nobody was neglected.
All of those things are victories. And I should treat them as such, even if they aren’t the victories I was expecting.
There will always be deviations and unexpected twists and turns along the way. We will always have to make adjustments and be okay with chaos. This is life, right? The other plans are still there. The novel I was excited about in the spring is still exciting. The group and my team are still there, and now, I’m ready to run forward.
Let’s do 2023.
About the Writer: Allie Gravitt is a mom of 4 and lives in metro Atlanta with a house full of animals and plants. Her debut poetry collection, prisonbreaks, and second collection Killing Ghosts are available now on Amazon. Follow Allie’s writing journey on TikTok and Instagram.
Book Highlight – Killing Ghosts by Allie Gravitt
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