“2015 is going to be the year of birth. First I’ll birth a baby, then I’ll birth a book.”
I don’t know how many times I said those two sentences last year, but it was a lot. And since having Ezra and releasing The Fringe Hours, questions about how having a newborn while launching a book have been frequent.
Today I wanted to write a bit about the journey – both in case you have been curious as well as for my own documenting.
I want to start out by acknowledging that Matthew has been incredible throughout the whole process. He was patient and served me and our family with intention, commitment and passion. I could not have done any of this without him.
I'm a lucky woman.
When I found out I was pregnant, I told my publishing team right away. Pregnancy is not easy for me and I knew we would need to make some changes to our plans for editing and the book launch. They were fantastic and very accommodating, even moving my publishing date to give a bigger gap between my due date and the book release. (The book was supposed to release at the beginning of January originally.)
We worked very hard leading up to Ezra’s birth to have as much done for The Fringe Hours as possible. For instance, we shot the Bloom book club in November, used my promo video that I shot in 2013, made all the Instagram graphics in advance, etc. We also hired a manager to run the launch team knowing that I would not have the capacity right after Ezra’s birth.
Even with all of that support and preparation, I had a TON of work to do once Ezra was born and I was on maternity leave. I basically sat on the couch for the month of January nursing, healing from my c-section and working on book launch activities.
I wrote blog posts.
I recorded podcasts.
I did radio interviews.
In many cases, I did all of these with Ezra sleeping right beside me. I’d nurse him right before an interview and then he would snuggle in, fast asleep while I talked about the book’s important message of self-care.
Of course, there was the time he had a blowout all over the couch right before I recorded a podcast. Or the time the phone range for a radio interview I hadn’t put in my calendar, and he had just woke-up crying.
But overall, we managed really well.
On average I worked 4-6 hours a day on book launch related activities. I think many people think publishers handle the bulk of the marketing for a book, but much is required of the author.
It was a lot of work – and harder than I expected. Before having Ezra I thought, oh it will be so good – I’ll be on maternity leave and will have so. much. time.
And yes, maternity leave did afford me way more time than I would have had otherwise, but you go on maternity leave because you have a new baby (who likely wants to eat a lot) and you are healing and you are so tired!
The exhaustion combined with the volume of work was not easy. Some days my hormones got the better of me and I cried, overwhelmed with exhaustion and feelings of self-imposed pressure – two things I ironically talk about in The Fringe Hours. But most days, I paced myself well and approached everything with a I’ll do the best that I can attitude.
I’ll also admit – I rarely showered before 2 pm, wore pajamas most days and only put a bra on if I was going to leave the house.
Ezra also has done lots of traveling with me for the book and has been such a trooper. I've nursed him everywhere – even green rooms at national television shows! I'll always treasure the memories of taking him with me to Austin, Toronto and Milwaukee to both see family and friends and do media for the book.
Amidst all the busyness, I have been very intentional to take time to really soak in the newborn season with Ezra. This was very important to me, especially since he is my last baby.
I would let work wait to just hold him while he slept.
I took hundreds of photos.
I kissed him thousands of times.
I savored his snuggling, his breathing, his noises.
I loved him well.
It’s hard to believe that I am in my last month of my maternity leave. And while it hasn’t been a quiet, relaxing season, it has been filled with much joy and satisfaction.
I am so very proud of The Fringe Hours and thankful that the message is touching so many women. Each day I receive emails, tags on Instagram and Twitter, etc. from women whose lives have been impacted by redeeming fringe hours for themselves. It is a privilege. (And if you haven't bought the book yet, I hope you will consider doing so.)
But more importantly, I am overjoyed to be Ezra’s mommy and to have had a season at home with him. I can’t wait to tell him someday about the time we released a book together.
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Amy M says
Aw…what an amazing year for you so far! I can so relate to what you said about maternity leave. The first few months of 2014 felt like that for me (minus writing a book!). Because I was healing and bonding so intensely with this new little life, it felt like I was in some kind of hazy, alternate dimension sometimes but I do get nostalgic for it.
Congratulations on the book! I just bought a copy and can’t wait to read it.
Laura Vanderkam says
Launching a book and having a baby both make life crazy for a while, so why not combine the two and get all the crazy over with? It’s efficient! 🙂
That picture of Ezra laying on you in the plane – so precious! I’m in the middle of your book – ordered a copy for myself and requested a copy for our local library 🙂 – and it is such a blessing to me! I’m taking my time reading it to soak it all in!
You truly amaze me! You have probably heard this more times that you can count … but I have NO IDEA how you managed to juggle everything in the past few months. As I was reading this post, the thoughts that ran through my mind were “what about laundry? meals? making sure the rest of the family were they needed to be?” It sounds like Matthew was a big help in this area, and I am also blessed to have an incredible husband who dives in an helps me in a big way. His love language is acts of service, and I always tell him that he could be the poster child for it. I will also add that it was probably a HUGE blessing to be on maternity leave now … imagine if your book was releasing around the same time you went back to work? 🙂 All this to say, I loved the last sentence … it gave me goose bumps! How fun that you had such a special time with Ezra.
In true southern fashion, friends and co-workers brought many meals during our first month home, so that was a HUGE help.
Matthew took care of school drop off and pick up every day. Our kids aren’t in any activities during the winter, so all was good there.
Laundry piled up, but we managed to not go a day without clean underwear. 🙂
Amber Paulsen says
Hi Jessica! I’m super grateful for your book. I’m one of the women in the study on incourage, com, but I am behind a little bit. It has really impacted my life~ I’m even handing the book over to my husband to read some of the SUPER inspiring parts that will be good for him. He does music (songwriter/worship leader/music ministy) almost full time, other than working 12 hours a week as a Jimmy John’s delivery driver. When I told him about the book and women’s study a few weeks ago and told him what it was about, he said “Can I sign up?!”. Anyway, the book has truly blessed me to help me take time for my passions and especially help me to discover time that I had that I didn’t even know I had. Thank you for everything! You’re a blessing! God bless you and your family!
P.S. I wonder if you were in a video that our church played to the congregation about 9 years ago. It was a short skit video, and the woman looked a lot like you. 🙂 Have a fun-filled, passion-filled day!