My book is officially released today.
When I imagined the day it would be released, I expected be excited, happy, filled with joy and pride and accomplishment.
And I am. I so very much am. I, however, didn’t expect to also experience the emotional upheaval of the last couple of months as this book has come into form. Grief. Fear. Anxiety. Doubt. Waves of emotion crashing through me.
When I decided to write this book, Invisible Mothers, two years ago, I had no idea what it would involve or what would happen with it. I simply knew it needed to be written and I needed to write it.
I didn’t expect it to mean so much to me. I didn’t expect to have so much of my story included in it. I never could have imagined all the beautiful connections that have come out of it. I had no idea how it would feel to see it and hold it in my hands.
And I certainly didn’t expect it to change me.
Oh, but it did. I am not the same person who started this book two years ago. I’m not even the same person I was when I finished writing it just a few months ago.
Apparently, one cannot put one’s heart and soul onto paper and send it out into the world without becoming someone new. At least, I couldn’t.
Part of me feels that this is the best and most important work I have ever done. It may be the best and most important work I ever do.
And that, my friends, is terrifying.
Last week at this time, I was sorely tempted to scrap the whole thing. Take all the copies I had and burn them without letting anyone else read it. I had sent out a few copies to some of those who had participated in the book and to a couple folks for reviews.
The first person to read and give feedback on the final version talked immediately about typos she had found.
At that point, with the level of vulnerability and anxiety I was already feeling, all I could think of was to throw it all away and withdraw it, and myself, from the world. After all the time and work, the heart and soul, the faith and money I’d invested in it, the idea of putting something out that potentially looked less than beautiful and professional felt heartbreaking.
It felt too painful and I wanted it to go away.
Two years ago, or even a year ago, I probably would have tossed it away. Hell, even six months ago I’d have run for the hills. I might have made some excuse, scraped the whole project, and withdrawn out of shame and embarrassment and crushing self-doubt. That me could not have tolerated the intense sense of vulnerability that comes with sharing this book – perfect or imperfect. The old me would never have risked opening her heart in this way or remained standing in the waves of self-doubt and uncertainty. The old me would have heard that feedback and withdrawn so deeply into herself, it would have taken years for her to risk being seen again.
The old me could never have shared this book with anyone in the first place. She was too afraid of more pain, more hurt, and more loss to even imagine opening her heart up in this way again – let alone sharing it with anyone else.
But this book changed me. This me can stand, perhaps weepy and emotional, but stand nonetheless through the vulnerability, the doubt, and the pain of disappointment. Even through less than ideal feedback.
This book didn’t just change me – it shattered walls and torn down shields that I built around my heart the day my first daughter died nearly 13 years ago. This book freed me.
It opened up my heart again.
This heart of mine might be covered in scars and jagged edges, it might be dented and stitched together, but what this book has taught me is that this heart of mine is strong. It is strong enough to handle disappointment, grief, and painful loss.
I believe I have created something beautiful, something powerful and meaningful. I believe this book, this gift of my heart to yours, will touch and uplift countless lives. I believe that it already is touching lives. My newly freed heart believes that with all her power and strength.
Typos and all.
And if you haven’t grabbed your copy yet – get it here! It might have a few imperfections, but it is full of power and love and grace and beauty. May it touch your heart as it has mine.