An exercise in honesty
(why eight years after I started reading Catherine Newman’s blog, I still find her Uber~Fantastique)
People drove me insane when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Amethyst. The amount of unsolicited advice was astounding: from everything to epidurals, episiotomies, constipation (I wish I were kidding, but no, I’m not), breast feeding, how and where to put the baby to sleep at night, it came at me like a machine gun. Rather than hear the advice, what I heard was, Blah blah blah. Do it my way or you’re wrong and the world’s worst parent, blah blah blah. I’m sure it was all well-intended. But you and I both know what they say the path to hell is paved with, right?
I have no idea how I came across Catherine Newman’s blog, Bringing Up Ben and Birdy on Babycenter.com. What I do know is that in the middle of a ton of suggestions I had not asked for, there was a weekly escape into what was waiting for me on the parental-horizon. She had a way of saying, Hey, this is what I did, and this is what worked best for us as parents. But most importantly and what endeared her to me as a writer and a mother was the fact that Catherine was honest. And by honest, she told her readers that in no-uncertain terms that post delivery? Your crotch was going to feel like someone went after it with a 2X4. And that a day or two later when your milk came in? It was going to feel like someone took the same 2X4 and applied it to your breasts.
I loved every single word I read.
Catherine Newman somehow managed to break through the mind-numbing slew of advice I was receiving with her weekly blog. She not only gave you a honest heads up about what life would be like post-baby (say “good-bye” to lazy Sundays!), she gave you an honest view at her life as a mother and co-parent. She very candidly wrote about how exhausting the job of being a mother was, how she felt she had failed as a mother, how she felt about sex post-baby. No topic was off-limits, and each week, she gave her readers an honest view of her life, and never once did she shield herself from those of us who were lucky enough to have found her.
Two years into her four year run on BabyCenter.com, Catherine published Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family, based on her blogs. I pre-ordered my copy, and waited for it to arrive. I’ve since ordered more copies than I can count to replace the ones I’ve worn out, and when a friend tells me they are expecting? I automatically order them a copy.
I felt like I had lost a dear friend when Catherine announced after four years that her run on BabyCenter.com was coming to a close. She had given her readers a gift: we had been witness to her and her family’s lives for four years. We knew her children, knew what foods they liked, their favorite colors, what they liked to do for fun. She had shared her life with us, very openly and honestly for four years. And still continues to do so today on her personal blog through BlogSpot.com
Catherine’s book, along with her essays published in other collections, are some of the most honest words I have ever read in my life. And she inspired me to write my own journal and later, my own blog, upfront and honest without holding back. In my life as an Indie Author, I’ve taken the lesson she unknowingly gave to me to heart: write honestly, and write from the heart.
Amber Jerome~Norrgard was first published in her hometown’s paper at the age of seventeen. Since then, she’s used writing as a free form of therapy to celebrate the best parts of her life, and to work through the rough experiences. She is author of the bestselling collection of poetry, “The Color of Dawn,” as well as “4 a.m.,” a poetry and essay collection, “Wanting,” a collection of short erotic stories and “My Beautiful Jewel: Book One of the Miracles Trilogy”. She is co-creator, and co-host of “TweepNation with Amber and Dionne,” a weekly podcast loosely related to Twitter and Independent Authors. She is currently working on her psychology degree, and lives in Dallas, Texas, with her family.
Find more on Norrgard or find her books: