They say a baby changes everything. Well, I’d say a baby changes most things.
We’re entering the holiday season and that means holiday music. Right now, I’m thinking of Faith Hill’s “A Baby Changes Everything.” Not only because I really enjoyed the film that featured this song (“The Nativity Story”), and not only because I like Faith Hill (pre-2010), but because one month ago I had my own baby boy. And, man, has he changed a LOT of things!
(Sharing this video just because I can. Boo-yah.)
I say “a lot” and not “everything” because, at my core, I’m still the same person. The Jessi who was there pre-baby still exists. I still like to write, illustrate, create. Though my son is pretty much the cutest and most precious thing ever (EVER), I don’t want people to forget me in the midst of cooing and cuddling with my wee little babe.
But my interests have taken a slight re-direction. I want to write, but now my genre lies elsewhere. Things I used to care about matter less (or not at all), and things I hadn’t even considered before matter much, much more.
So in quiet[er] moments, while Luke is napping, I think, “Yeah, my baby has changed a lot, but I still want to write, and I want to write about things I’m passionate about. But what am I passionate about now?”
Well, I’ll tell you what I’m passionate about now: pregnancy, birth, the parental struggle, and the raising of babes in this crazy, hectic, going-too-fast kind of world.
Passions Change. We Don’t.
We are not the things that interest us. Interests are merely tastes, and they change as we grow and adapt to the changes that happen to us over time.
As a kid, even in elementary school, I was mesmerized by the conception and birth process. How could a baby be made… from nothing? Freakin’ magic! I would (shamefully) hide in corners of my school and public libraries flipping through books about childbirth.
This past year, the experience of pregnancy not only engulfed my life but fascinated me on a deep intellectual level. Finally I was justified in researching everything there was to know about it without feeling awkward or guilty. I’d always had this curiosity, sure, but the experience itself literally changed me, mentally and physically.
As an inquisitive person, I discovered certain aspects of pregnancy to be misunderstood and miscommunicated. As a writer, I developed a journalistic photo book concept (with the creative and jestful help of my midwife) that I hope to bring to fruition in 2018.
As a parent, I’ve unexpectedly had to adjust my ways of thinking about the world. My direction and attention as a writer has not gotten less ambitious, the execution of my ambitions has not become less complex, but the projects themselves (at least the end products) have become simpler.
A series of science fiction novels has transformed into a series of children’s books.
A long-winded, autobiographical piece has evolved into the photojournalism book mentioned above.
In short: The simple has become more intriguing. I try now to see my work through the eyes of my little boy so I can connect with him.
And isn’t connection with one another — whether from parent to child, adult to adult, friend to friend, etc — what this life is all about?
And that’s why 2018 will be different. It is the Baby Year, the year that my work’s direction will take a slight detour into the simple, the pure… the baby. ❤