Thursday, May 13, 2010


A while back, I entered a writing contest being hosted by Rixa of Stand and Deliver, one of my favorite blogs. The topic was, "Becoming a parent, becoming transformed." When I first saw the contest announcement, I thought, "Hm, writing. That's something I like to do," but I had no intention of entering. What in the world would I say?

I couldn't get the contest out of my mind though. Not because I intended to enter, but instead because it made me think about think about how becoming a mother had changed me. I hadn't had that transformative experience the natural childbirth books seemed to promise. It wasn't like in the movies or on TV shows when the moment of birth is marked with shouts of joy. By the time Will entered this world, I was just so, so exhausted. And I was emotionally and physically drained from 9 months of constant nausea. The days immediately following Will's birth only got worse. The nausea did not go away, and we didn't have that perfect breastfeeding relationship the natural birth books had led me to believe would be the end result of a drug-free birth. It didn't get better for a long, long time.

I suppose these experiences have transformed me, but somehow the whole thing just seemed larger than that and much more deeply rooted. I began to wonder how I had gotten here, from someone who never planned on having children, to someone who practically felt like Mother Earth herself. I distinctly remembered having a conversation with a female colleague the first time I was in Nicaragua doing research. "That whole biological clock thing," she had said, "never happened to me." "Yeah," I agreed, "Me neither."

So what had happened?!

And the answer, of course, was Eduardo.

My transformation had occurred before getting pregnant, before hyperemesis, before labor, before birth. I felt like I finally had something to write about.

So I sat down at the computer while nursing Will and typed out the story one-handed. I kept it for many days, in fact, until the day before the contest deadline. Until the moment I entered, I wasn't sure that I was actually going to do it. I didn't think what I'd written was all that good. I didn't think it was going to win any prizes. I think I just wanted somebody else to read the story of Eduardo and what he had meant to me.

I sort of forgot about the whole thing. Then, this week, I received a message from Rixa herself, notifying me that I was a finalist. I was completely floored. And then, come to find out, I won. I still can't believe it.

All 5 of you who normally read my blog already know the story of Eduardo. But if you want to read it again, you can find it on Stand and Deliver.

Thanks for reading.


Rixa said...

You know, sometimes the best writing comes not from hours of exertion and revision, but from a spontaneous wellspring of pent-up thought. I self-censor too much when I write--and granted, I don't do a whole lot of creative writing, but even in my blogging and academic writing I do the same thing--and I probably miss out on really good stuff by doing so.

I did place in a university-wide writing contest back in my undergrad years. And it was something I wrote down in my journal one night, all in a rush, not even planning on submitting. But I submitted and voila! Surprise! My husband was a wee bit jealous, because he's a creative writer and he worked and worked on his and didn't win.

Cathy said...

I knew the story, and I still cried. Well Done!

Anonymous said...

How many of your writings have i read, i'm wondering ... and i love each one of them -- but the contest winner is my very very very favorite of all. And yes, I knew the story but your writing was the best ever! I cried, too... but am so happy that you have William! PLEASE keep writing. Congrats!
hugs, auntie