I wish someone would have told me what could happen to my creativity during my third trimester. The crushing fatigue. The pregnancy anemia. Moving slower than a snail. Going to bed before 7pm. Spending all of my energy on trying to stay upright and work at my computer long enough to get my day job work done.
During my second trimester, I started a 66-day challenge to start the new habit of creative writing for 30 minutes a day. I didn’t miss one day...until Day 42. That’s when the pregnancy anemia kicked in, and I collapsed after three hours of waking. And, I was still expected to show up for the Day Job, which was jam-packed full of meetings. It took me nearly two weeks to start feeling well again. I tried several times to start writing, but it was like pulling teeth just to open my Scrivener project file.
Afterwards, I was completely drained of energy to work on my day job. The creativity somehow sapped the rest of my energy for working, which puts food on the table for the family since I’m the breadwinner.
I thought the decline in my creativity was just another case of Resistance, but then again, the author of that book—a man—could never understand what a creative woman experiences during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. My brain doesn’t work. My hormones are off. I cannot use any of my normal biohacks to get back to normal.
I set the best of intentions for 2016. I made an extensive plan to reach my goals. I thought 30 minutes per day wouldn’t be too much to ask, but it was.
I’m a feminist, and I’d like to say that I could perform exactly the same while pregnant as I do when not pregnant. It’s not true. For some women, it might be true. Or, these women might have enough assistants and get extra help to make it look like pregnancy does not upend everything about themselves.
This is my second—and last—baby, and I’m grateful this is the last time I’ll be going through this experience. I’m happy to be bringing my little man into the world, but pregnancy is not my thang.
What’s a Type A woman to do? The biggest turning point for me was my decision to stop psychologically beating myself up over what I could not change. I needed more sleep. I needed to focus on nourishing myself and thereby nurturing my baby. I needed to stop stressing out.
I needed to stop my creative writing. There. I said it aloud.
Though every woman is different, this was the answer to my being able to relax into the third trimester. This period of my life only lasts for three months, and I will likely have decades ahead to focus on my creative projects.
If you’re searching for some good articles for other creatives who’ve discussed pregnancy, here are a few that have helped me through this transition:
- Laura Stanfill on Pregnancy and the Writer’s Brain
- Amy Waterman on Writing While Pregnant
- A.J. O’Connell on Handling a Writing Career During Pregnancy
What about you? Have you ever struggled with your creative projects while preparing for a new baby to arrive or during the postpartum period? I’d be curious to hear your tips!