I sent off another copy of Surviving Childlessness this week and, as always, I felt like I was saying goodbye to my baby.
Birthing a book baby is a strange feeling. I am overjoyed at the result, a book I can hold in my hands that looks and feels exactly as I always imagined it would. But when the moment of separation comes and my baby passes out of my hands, worried questions flood my mind:
‘Will my book be OK?’
‘Do they like it?’
‘Will they treasure it as I do, or will they throw it in the trash??’
Worried questions flood my mind.
It is a loss of control I will have to accept. After all, the book was written to bless others.
As I release it into the world, I am comforted in knowing this book is not my only baby. I have birthed many other babies in my short forty years on this planet:
- I have written songs. Some of these have been published, but there are many more yet to be shared.
- I have written short stories. As a little girl, I wrote fantasy and sci-fi stories and shared most of these. I am now dipping my toe into the world of short stories again, and I hope to share the best of these some day.
- I have written many blogs, designed to encourage and uplift others.
- I have designed programs for others. Part of my job involves re-designing existing mental health programs. Even though this is my day job, I consider it to be part of my creative expression and part of a lifelong mission to take creative risks and share these with others.
- I have made creative suggestions to others. While they are largely responsible for their own babies, it feels good knowing I have potentially contributed to the health and growth of someone else’s baby.
It feels good knowing I have potentially contributed to the health and growth of someone else’s baby.
- I have mentored other creatives. This is one of the most important things any creative can do. I believe those moments when I support another creative bird to take flight are probably some of the greatest moments in my life.
- I have participated in creative group projects. There is something special about being part of a band of creatives, working toward a common goal. The synergistic effect of combined creativity is one of the highs of my creative life.
- I have run a songwriting circle. Providing a safe space for other songwriters grow in confidence and skill is an amazing birthing process. The songs they produce are purely a bonus; the real baby is the growth and maturity of those songwriters.
- I have written copious social media posts—everything from chocolate cake to the meaning of life. None of them are trivial. Every single post is an act of creation intended to produce responses in the reader, whether it be laughter, sugar cravings, thoughtfulness, contrition, enrichment, inspiration or empowerment. Each one is an act of faith, wherein I trust that God will take each message and deliver them to the hearts of those who need them.
- I have prayed many prayers. Regardless of their subject, prayers can be considered babies as well: messages and missions with purpose, each of whom may grow with time and unfold into something beautiful.
Prayers can be considered babies as well.
Babies take many forms. Some babies, like books, can be seen and held and appreciated by others. Some babies are intangible. Some are completely secret and only God knows about them. They are no less valuable than the biological children produced by parents.
Even childless people can produce a multitude of babies, leaving legacies that beautify and nourish the world.
What kinds of babies have you created? Have you shared your babies with others? Could God be calling you to leave a legacy beyond biological children? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.