This month marks three years since we decided to start sharing our story and launch this blog!
I couldn’t let this go unrecognized! Blogging about Down syndrome has brought my family and I so much joy in that time period, so we need to celebrate, so I gave the site a little facelift!
Where have we been?
The last time you heard from us, we were gearing up for an interview for a Cycle of Health on PBS. If you missed it, click this link (Nicholas’s story begins at 17:43). It seems like a lifetime ago!
So much has happened since then. Nicholas was about to start preschool, and I was a nervous wreck about it. Marley was about to establish her role as the dominant person in our household, a title that she still holds to this day. We had a corona scare, established new routines, and started to learn how to stamp out toddler fights. I wanted to write about all of these things, but I just didn’t have the time.
No, we haven’t just been goofing off by the lake this whole time..
The truth is, I have been too busy working on my book!
I wrote a book?!
One day when Nicholas was still a baby, one of my professors from college messaged me and asked me to meet up with her. She said she wanted to talk to me about my blog. I really respected this particular professor’s opinion, and also was excited at the prospect of a break from my mom-duties, so I set a date to meet up with her.
We sat in her backyard. While enjoying some fresh guacamole, she told me that I should turn my blog into a book.
What am I, some kind of expert on Down syndrome?
I let out an awkward chuckle as if she was kidding. Nicholas was under a year old at the time. Who the heck was I to write a book about Down syndrome? Or even motherhood for that matter. I hadn’t even been in this game for a whole year yet. I was parenting my first child and juggling the fact that he was born with a disability. When I expressed these concerns to her, she said something that changed my entire outlook.
“You are an expert. You’re an expert in your own experiences.”
Okay, she had a point. No one really knew what I went through. All the people around me knew were the things I was willing to share, which wasn’t much.
I left that meeting with the seed planted in my mind and thought about it for weeks. In the days afterward, I scribbled some ideas down for a book here and there, but never anything too serious. I’ve always considered writing as a hobby and that always protected me from letting other people read my work.
Then, I remembered what was missing.
As I spent the following months stewing about this idea, I realized what I missed out on with my own experience as a new mom. The only books that were out there for me to read were stories of how a child had been diagnosed with Down syndrome and the family lived happily ever after.
I love those stories when I read them now, but that isn’t what I needed back then.
What I craved was a story like mine, where the diagnosis sent me into a tailspin of anxiety and depression. What I needed to hear was the stories of other mothers who had a hard time in the beginning and didn’t know exactly what they were feeling. I wanted to see other moms in my shoes so that my journey could make more sense to me.
I decided to fill that need with my own story.
If I were feeling that way, there’s got to be other mothers out there just like me.
Once I had a few solid chapters down, I researched what it took for me to get this published traditionally. Let me tell you, it isn’t an easy process. Long story short, it could be years before I even received a rejection letter from a major publishing house. If I were going to commit to writing a book, I did not want to wait around for years after hoping that something came of it. I almost dropped the whole idea right then.
As I went on with life, I was connecting with other mothers through this blog. I found myself validating them with the same stories that I so craved when I was a new mom. Using the same experiences in my conversations over and over again, I couldn’t get over the fact that I was the first person who shared these vulnerable things with these other parents.
Wouldn’t it be nice if more people were willing to share the parts of their lives that aren’t so pretty so that mothers didn’t feel so alone?
I just couldn’t let it go.
Instead, I took things into my own hands and decided to become an independent publisher. All this means is that instead of having a publisher hire everyone and dictate the direction of the book, I made every decision and delegated tasks as I needed to under my own LLC. This process has taken a ton of research, and more than a ton of work. I am wearing more hats than I ever have before and I’m honestly loving every minute of it.
Thank you, Amy, for inspiring me to reach my goals long after I graduated! I went from someone who thought I could never write a book to becoming an independent publisher!
After this due date, we will be back in full force!
The book is due to the copy editor on March 22nd. I’d love to share more about my publishing journey soon, but for right now, I want to express my gratitude for everything this experience has brought into my life. As I am working on my fifth draft, the one that I have to very awkwardly read out loud, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I went from a rookie parent who couldn’t stomach the idea of writing her feelings down for the world to see to someone who would dare to write and publish a memoir.
Seriously, look at this first post I wrote. It is so short and I stressed out about it for weeks. WEEKS. What are we doing here?
Here’s to three years of eye-opening experiences, lifelong connections, and amazing family memories. Thank you all for joining me on this crazy adventure.
I will share some of the stories I have stockpiled with you all very soon!
If you wish to receive updates on the release of the book, make sure to sign up below!
photo credits: Elizabeth Canfield Photography