A lot of us (myself included) use the birth analogy when we’re bringing something new into the world. We talk about our newly formed businesses, freshly written books, or works of art as our “babies”.
I like the analogy, personally, but I think we often forget about some of the details of giving birth. We want to believe that once something is birthed, it’s ready for the world, but the truth is much different from that.
For starters, the birthing process starts nine months before the new being arrives. Yes, it may start out with an exciting encounter, but that moment is followed with months of waiting, preparing, vomiting, crying, worrying, and waiting some more.
Then when the time finally comes for it to be born, we have to go through hours of contractions, pain, more vomiting (or worse), interception if necessary, pushing, and crying. Sadly, sometimes the baby dies on his/her way into the world.
If we’re lucky enough to bring a living baby into the world, the new being that’s placed in our arms is beautiful, but it is far from being ready to walk on his/her own two feet. First there are months of sleepless nights, thousands of diaper changes, and endless floor-pacing. Every bit of our energy is suddenly usurped by this new person who’s been entrusted to our care. Every few hours, we must stop everything we’re doing to make sure the baby is fed. Yes, there are many beautiful moments of pure love and connection, but those come with a price and a whole lot of exhaustion.
Then, when the small person begins to walk, there is the need to be ever vigilant, lest the child swallows poison, bumps an elbow, or wraps a tiny hand around a curling iron. There are visits to the hospital, more sleepless nights, temper tantrums to deal with, and more exhaustion.
With each stage of childhood, the worries and concerns are different, but they never fully go away. We’re dealing with the teen years in our house, and I can assure you that vigilance is still very necessary, as is the need to break up many fights, console many broken hearts, and walk through a lot of unfamiliar territory.
When you’re tempted to get discouraged (as I often am) about a business that doesn’t feel like it’s getting off the ground soon enough, or a book that’s taking far too long to get written, or a new community group that just can’t seem to get its act together, remember to treat it like a baby.
Give it months to gestate and years to grow into the thing it’s meant to be.
Make sure you pause every few hours to give it (and yourself) nourishment.
Remember that rushing the process only results in stunted growth.
Sooth the broken hearts and bumped knees and remember that wounds heal.
In the middle of the hard times, remember that valuable lessons are being learned.
Let it emerge into its own life and don’t let your ego get too attached to the results.
Sit back and enjoy it whenever you can.
Spend lots of time on the floor playing with Lego or reading books.