Monday, February 18, 2013

The 36-Month Pregnancy

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By Julie Kibler

The average gestational period for a chipmunk is 21 days. No wonder they speak with such squeaky little voices.

For a kangaroo it's 42, though the joey moves into the mother's pouch for another two to three hundred days.

For a lion cub, it's 108.

For a woolly little lamb, it's 150.

Gorillas and hippos and moose (meese?) are close to human gestational periods at about 225 to 260 days.

Human babies? 266.

In all three of my human pregnancies, my average 255 or so days of lugging each little one around inside my uterus seemed like FOR. EH. VER.

Little did I know I would carry my unborn book around for much longer than that. For the length of FOUR human pregnancies.
I think I look pretty good for having just given birth to a book after a 36-month pregnancy.

Indeed, from the time I began my outline until Tuesday, February 12, when my book baby, Calling Me Home, popped, it was 36 months. Except, I had--more or less--two semesters, because I don't even want to count the trimesters if we're talking three-month intervals.

I outlined, wrote, and revised for 18 months. I sold the book, and performed my part of the tasks related to growing it from sold manuscript to real book baby in 18 months.

But I will tell you that all the backaches (revisions), the constant bladder pressure (copy edits), the heartburn (page proofs), the mistaken sonograms (changed covers), the swollen feet and ankles (checking amazon rank 432 times per day), and--most of all--the labor pains (writing about yourself in interviews and Q&As until you can't remember your own name, much less anything interesting you haven't already said four times) don't mean a thing when it comes down to one moment in time:

The moment you stand before your family and friends and see the joy and pride and LOVE in their eyes.




My book launch, last Tuesday evening at Barnes & Noble in Arlington, Texas, ranks right up there with the BEST days of my life.

I had an amazing labor nurse--I only met her shortly before Calling Me Home hit the nursery, but Jessica Prigg was the nicest, most gracious Community Relations Manager I could have worked with. She even provided a box of tissues to keep handy at the lectern.

My critique group looks on as I read
from Calling Me Home
Because I did cry. I think the only other time I've truly cried with joy during this long, long journey was when I called my oldest child to tell him I'd sold my book. I think that's significant, considering he was the first human baby who made me cry tears of joy.

Tuesday night, the tears started when one of my beloved critique partners from my group blog, What Women Write, asked if I was nervous shortly before the event began. When I nodded, she leaned in for a hug and whispered in my ear:

"You've got it. And if you fall, we'll catch you. We always do."

My best friend Gail and me, next to cake and flowers
from her and my critique group
What author could ask for more than that? I mean, besides well over a hundred friends, family members, former bosses and coworkers, church members, neighbors, book club members, people from my dentist office, and the list goes on ... there in the delivery room, simply to encourage and support and listen to me (ME!) talk about a story I wrote with no guarantee this day would ever happen.

I realized, as I stood before these people, that NOTHING else mattered when it comes to this book. Not the sales numbers, the Amazon ranks, the lists, the magazine or news coverage, the good or bad reviews--the good times and the bad times, whatever was and is to come for Calling Me Home.

All of that pales in comparison.

What mattered was right there in front of me.







Photo credits: Rick Mora

25 comments:

  1. Okay, so now I need the tissues, too. Fabulous post, Julie.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara! We could join the band The Weepies! ;)

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  2. I'm loving your journey, Julie--reading each and every article with a smile (and no, they don't sound redundant!). So, so happy for you. Your warmth and graciousness come through loud and clear. Congratulations.

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  3. Wonderful post! Such a huge turnout for your launch! Impressive! This is Anne Barnhill, by the way. I'm always anonymous :)

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    1. Thank you, Anne-onymous. ;) It was fun!

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  4. I am so thrilled for you Julie! It's wonderful that your launch day exceeded your dreams for it. I am reading Calling Me Home now, and it is fabulous. I'm sure there will be many more launch days for you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Erin! I hope you like it all the way to the end!

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  5. Congratulations, Julie!!! So happy for you!

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    1. Thanks, Priscille! Your turn this Saturday???!!!

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  6. Dang it, where's my hankie?? So very sweet, Julie--and so true. How could any of us possibly keep going without our friends, family, colleagues, and readers to cheer us on? It takes a village to raise a book.

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    1. You've got that right! Thank you, Holly!

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  7. YES!!! That is exactly how I felt at my launch! I started crying when I thanked everyone for coming and told them how much it meant to see their smiling faces looking back at me. It is an AMAZING feeling and you captured it perfectly in this post. I'm SO glad your launch day was wonderful!!! OXOXOX

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    1. Thanks, Ellen. I'm completely amazed I haven't cried at the other events I've done since then. I was kind of worried ... LOL I guess I used up all my tears that night. oxox!

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  8. Your lunch day sounds like a real climatic moment in your life. My best to you. I want to read your book. My book baby hasn't gone out into the world but once to visit an agent who rejected her, but someone will love her, I am confident; and then I hope I have a night as happy as yours.

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    1. Thank you, Bernie! It was really wonderful. Wishing you the best in your journey!

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  9. Oh, Julie. I'm so happy for you! Knowing you, it makes perfect sense that you have such supportive friends and family. Congratulations on a beautiful book and a wonderful launch.

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    1. Thank you, Seré! I thought (and spoke) of you Saturday night at BookPeople! :)

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  10. I love you, Jules. And yes, I will always catch you, because you always catch me! I'm so proud of you!

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    1. Dangit... you're gonna do it to me again. ;) Love you right back. We should build one of those ropes courses for writers, right? :)

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  11. We wouldn't have missed your delivery for anything. We're your doulas, Julie! Loved being a part of your journey, every step of the way!

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  12. If you glimpse that I deleted my first commentary, it's because I'm presumed to post as myself and not as my acct name. express gratitude you.

    Thank's & Regard's
    Ketan Mehta

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  13. Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success..
    JC. Maria

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