So, 2022 was well… probably the least “productive” of my writing career to date if I’m honest.
Good things happened on that front, don’t get me wrong, but from an objective standpoint, my output was pretty minimal. I had the lowest wordcount I’ve had since I started tracking my yearly totals back in oh… 2014. And when I say the lowest, I mean I didn’t even hit 30k for the entire year when I’ve managed more than that in a single MONTH before – and that’s not even counting NaNoWriMo wins. I also fell very, very far behind on my developmental edits for Falstaff, missing multiple deadlines and in fact am still behind, which I’m not pleased about as I know it’s likely pushed my book back quite a bit from the original Spring 2023 publication date. On the reading front, too, I fell short of my goals. Admittedly I read over 100 books according to Goodreads, but a lot of those were short stories that counted as “books” according to their system, and most of the rest were comfort rereads instead of new reads. And my #BeasttheBacklist goal list was sadly neglected.
But. BUT. There was a damned good reason for all of this, and while I got frustrated with myself often, I had to constantly remind myself that my big goal had been to be “Gentle” (aka my 2022 Word) with myself last year after the grief of multiple family deaths and a home move in 2021, something that was even more important especially given the givens.
Especially considering I was, and am still, very pregnant.
It still seems a little surreal to write that. After four years of infertility treatment, we finally managed to get me pregnant with implantation of a donor egg fertilized by my husband on June 30th, 2022.
As of this post, I’m roughly 29 weeks along (timing is tricky for me due to the days the embryo matured prior to implantation but that’s what my docs and the many, many appointments are for – I just make a note of how far along they tell me I am each visit LOL) and due tentatively on March 18th. I say tentatively because my little one is growing like crazy to the point that she’s in the 91st percentile weight wise (I am objectively huge for only 29 weeks along) and developmentally is an estimated two weeks ahead of schedule. So uh, yeah, it’s entirely possible that she will be early, which I am not at all opposed to. Because – and here’s where being gentle about my “productivity” happened – pregnancy has honestly kicked my ass.
When we found out the embryo took, I rather optimistically hoped that maybe the universe would look at how much we’ve gone through to get to this point and grant me a nice easy “beautiful” pregnancy like so many of the mommy blogs and videos talk about with that healthy “glow” and barely any symptoms.
Yeah, not so much. Instead, it’s as if the universe went “You tried reaaaaaaaaaaaaally hard to manage this and are only plan on doing it once, huh? Better give you the full experience then!” Experience as in “morning” sickness that was basically all day for most of the first trimester and a good month into the second that lost me over 19 pounds which I still haven’t gained back all of yet despite how big the Niblet has grown. As in increased migraines and generalized anxiety symptoms. As in brain fog that made it hard to even send a basic email, let alone manage the complex thinking required for either editing or writing. As in an energy drain leading to a hard time walking around the block without feeling like I needed to immediately go sleep for three hours. As in my chronic wrist pain finally toppling over the edge into pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel. As in almost constant hip pain adding to my difficulties walking until I am far more sedentary than I’d hoped to be. As in blood pressure crashes almost causing me to faint in a grocery store and have to pull over in a parking lot for almost an hour so I could safely continue driving home from an appointment. As in a new diagnosis of anemia requiring an extra iron supplement on top of my prenatal vitamins that has wrecked my digestive system. And on and on it goes.
I did dodge the gestational diabetes bullet at least, which is one hell of a relief considering how needle phobic I am.
But overall, no, no I have not had an enjoyable pregnancy in the slightest. Honestly, even if with my age and the IVF statistics making it a crap shoot for another successful implantation (especially considering we’d already had a failed implantation last year), I likely would not want to do this again.
My baby girl is worth it already, and I do not regret what I’m going through to get her, but oof, it’s been hard.
And I feel like I lost most of 2022’s energy between the hormones and testing and all meaning I was super brain foggy and exhausted even for most of the first half of the year prior to the pregnancy itself.
But again, I have to be gentle with myself about that. I’ve been growing an entire human being in a body that has worked really hard NOT to get pregnant in the past. The vast majority of my personal resources have gone to keeping her alive and healthy, and there just hasn’t been much left for me existing, let alone creating. But my career will still be there once my baby comes, and she’s already a bright spot in our lives, so again – very, very worth it.
That brings me to my word (and rune) for 2023: Joy. This year for Yule, we had our first real event in the new house, and a dear friend made me a Yule candle as a hostess gift. When she first offered it and asked me if I had any scent allergies or issues that might cause a problem (a good thing she did as cinnamon oil is a massive migraine trigger, and it’s one of her go-tos for Yule candles in particular), she mentioned she’d like to create a rune worked into the design of a focus for the coming year. We went back and forth about several: “othala” for family/home, “berkana” for literal birth, and even “ingwaz” for potential. All of which felt like they could work, mind, but at the last minute she suggested “wunjo” for joy and it just fit.
(The candle in question – didn’t it turn out GORGEOUS?)
So that’s my focus in the year to come: joy in my relationship with my husband and the home we’re making and the child we’re adding to our family. Joy in the written word, both mine and in books from others. Joy in the community of friends and family who’ve been so incredibly supportive of us through the long slog of infertility treatment and now throughout the difficult pregnancy. Joy in our furry housemates. Joy in the garden and greenspace of our home and the feeling of being out of the city that was growing more and more stressful as Austin blew up in population. Joy in just… being, I guess – in my own skin and in my process and the things that bring me pleasure without any shame or regret or guilt about them not being the “right” thing to be joyful about according to other people.
Even if things get tougher than expected, I hope to find joy in the little moments and the big ones. I wish myself joy, and that feels pretty special this year.
Welp, I was going to put in a list of tentative goals here, but this blog is officially almost 1400 words, making it the longest single writing session I’ve had in, well… since January of last year actually LOL. So yeah, I think I can call this blog good (and I’m impressed if any of you managed to read all of this!).
Here’s to joy – I wish that for all of you going into 2023 as well!