by Katherine Scott Crawford
This month, everything is starting to bloom in my tiny town in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Heck, the trees began budding in February—early for us—and the daffodils are just beginning to show their sunny heads. Even the chickens in my neighbor’s chicken coop seem to be clucking more frequently, and with a bit of sass.
Yep, everything is blooming. Including my belly.
Well, that’s putting it kindly. I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy, and I currently resemble your basic ocean liner. From the front, from far away, if I’m wearing all black and you squint when you look at me, I still appear pretty normal. But then I turn sideways—slowly, very slowly—and the fog horns blow. I need one of those beepers moving vans have, to warn folks when I’m backing up.
When I was pregnant with my first child, now three and a half years old, I couldn’t count the number of people who told me, “Oh, you’ll be so inspired by pregnancy and motherhood. Think of all you’ll have to write about!”
And while I’m certain this will, at some point, be the case, for the most part it’s been hogwash.
For some reason, when I’m “with child,” my body blooms and my brain power wilts. That baby just sucks up all my creative juices (and my reason) like one of those expensive and super-powered Dyson vacuum cleaners. You know, the kind that can take down dog hair.
I’m quickly discovering why many of my favorite writers, especially women, published their first novels in their mid-forties and beyond: their kids were grown.
Just as no one really tells you when you become pregnant about how your backside will start to look like—as Olympia Dukakis so eloquently put it in Steel Magnolias—“two pigs fightin’ under a blanket,” no one tells you that pregnancy and new motherhood can zap your creative juices. That you’ll be so exhausted you’ll fall asleep by 9 p.m.
That when you’re sitting in the rocking chair in your child’s bedroom, and you bend over to pick up a book off the floor, you’ll topple over like a felled tree. Oh, wait. Maybe that’s just me.
They joys of motherhood, and yes—even sometimes pregnancy—are at times too many to count. My lips are beautifully full these days. If the rest of me didn’t look like a beach ball, they’d be pretty hot. And that baby movement across the belly, the roll and tumble of a sweet new life, is beyond cool.
As for my writing mojo? That powerful magic that appears when all my creative cylinders are firing? Well, heck. It’s taking a 9 month siesta. And if this new baby is anything like my first child, that siesta might stretch into a whole year. But I’m okay with this. Or at least I’m learning to deal with it.
Why? Because I know the mojo will be back, and will appear at the oddest of times. Kind of like all those lovely blooms popping up in my town … evidence of an early Spring.
Katherine Scott Crawford was born and raised in the blue hills of the South Carolina Upcountry, the history and setting of which inspired Keowee Valley. Winner of a North Carolina Arts Award, she is a former newspaper reporter and outdoor educator, a college English teacher, and an avid hiker. She lives with her family in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she tries to resist the siren call of her passport as she works on her next novel. Visit her at: www.katherinescottcrawford.com.