Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Four Children

I always thought I would have four children.

Or rather I knew it.

According to my step mother, as a little girl I spoke about it a lot.

My husband and I spoke about it.

When pregnant with my second I had a dream of four sandcastles on the beach - they were my four children.

After having my fourth, and my husband's swift vasectomy I felt bereft, distraught, like a piece of the puzzle was missing, forever, there was a rip in the fabric of how my life was intended to be.

And yet I know I could not care for another child.

When my last child was about six months old I had another dream of four children. And this time my soul sister's only child was my fourth. That felt right. About two days later, unprompted our three year old refered to him as "our brother". Interesting.

And then, as you know, I have been wrestling with my need to mother and my need to write.

And it suddenly came to me. I have always referred to my books as my "other children". Only half jokingly. It is sad but true. My books, whilst all replaceable, hold a map to my soul and growth as a person on every level. And in the past few days it has become clear to me that my "mission" as a writer is to write the books I have always wanted to read, but never found. My writing is my fourth child. Just like we can sense our children years before they come to us, so I can with my writing. It takes the love and space and time and patience, and courage of a child in my life. It takes my energy and vision. It has my complete devotion and heart - and sometimes it disappoints me. I am never as good a writer as I want to be. Just like being a mother.

When my book arrived through the post this week, it truly felt like being a new mama again. The sheer elation, the sense of achievement. The sense of vision, destiny and reality coinciding in one barely believable moment which we have dreamed of all our lives, yet did not dare to believe could come true.

I am a newborn mama. I cradle my baby gently, carry her with me everywhere I go. She is precious. Perfect in my eyes. And I am beaming with delight, showing it off to everyone: look what I made!


  1. I am not really getting you 'after having my fourth?' That's not your book yet?

  2. But I am with you here, I always wanted 4. And my husband 2, so we settled on 3... now I don't think my body could handle it, and, unlike you, I felt extremely complete after the third was born. This is us!
    But I am expecting many book baby's, just received the contracts in the mail from the publisher today for nr two, jippie jee!!

  3. Yup, the proof copy of my book arrived on Tuesday. So delighted for you having your second book contract. Well done you! What's it on?

  4. It's a children's book, about a little girl growing up in Malaysia. A lot of my own childhood memories in there...

  5. So yours will be an e-book as well. Will that work on my new Ipad?

  6. Oh how wonderful! In Dutch?
    Yup the e-version should be launched this w/end I hope. With lots of gorgeous photos in it. You should be able to read on an i-pad (I got one for Xmas, after a sustained campaign and am loving mine!!) The paperback will be out mid-end of Feb.

  7. This is really really REALLY spooky! Just been having a very intense conversation about half an hour ago with my husband talking about there being a fifth child for us out there somewhere in the universe, that in my heart and mind our tribe somehow feels like we are still waiting for the last person to arrive. I can feel them out there somewhere and always talked of having five. Who knows.....maybe I too am feeling it too literally. The thought of never having any more fills me with such grief and yet having another right now would be very intense....tick tick......

  8. Beautiful post, Lucy! I'm a little unusual, in that the path of actual mama-hood has just never been one I've wanted to walk, but at the same time I totally *get* the idea of my writing being my baby.

    I definitely sometimes feel as though my ideas gestate, and then I somehow manage to birth them... but because I've never been through the physical act of carrying a child and giving birth, I've always felt as though it would somehow be inappropriate for me to use those words to describe it. This post has made me feel a bit more relaxed about it :-)

  9. How exciting - holding your 4th baby in your hands!! I've never had children but I agree with you about writing being like a child - that's how I felt about my own book... it follows a similar pattern doesn't it? Conceiving the idea, gestating and growing it, the pain and pleasure of birthing it, the sense of pride and protection you feel about it, the need to let it go in the world and on and on. Books are indeed like babies :-)

  10. Oh wow MF, we always seem to be tuned into the same stuff!

    Samantha and Tanja, so glad you could relate. The process is SO similar - books, babies, paintings...all gifts from our hearts and wombs and souls, all require the wisdom of birthing.

  11. I loved reading this Lucy........I believe we all have a story in us to's so wonderful that you are writing yours :).

  12. So excited for you, Lucy! What a huge accomplishment! I'm so happy for you and look forward to meeting your book-child!



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