Writing a Book is Like Having a Baby



Last week, it dawned on me that it had been exactly nine months since I signed my book deal. Nine months of stress and excitement and worry and exuberance and everything in between. It seemed perfectly fitting that the gestation period so closely echoed my pregnancies, since the book really has become my fourth child. But, the timing is the very least of it. Everything about coming out with this book has been like having a baby…

1. It’s nothing like I expected. I imagined pregnancy and childbirth to be this miraculous event where I would suddenly just feel like an earth goddess and be encompassed in pure maternal love and joy. Just like I envisioned myself suddenly all intellectual and shit once I became a published author. Hardly the case with either. I hated every minute of pregnancy and got scolded at a reading for swearing too much. Nothing changes.

2. I’m obsessed. I must have sent out ten e-mails a week when Lily was a newborn with pictures and updates, driving everyone in my life crazy. She was all I could talk about, write about and think about… Sound familiar? Remember when I used to write about something other than the book?!

3. People tell me more than I care to know. Take for example, this email I received from a man I don’t know in Utah: “I am so sorry to do this, I promise, but since I’m a guy I’m going to “go there,” that purple seemingly “leather” dress? outfit? is not something that you want to wear on TV with the orange sweater over it, it doesn’t fit and it reflects the TV lights. Don’t forget what TV does….” Um, did I ask? I didn’t ask people what they thought of my baby names or the fact that I formula fed and I certainly don’t recall asking people what they thought of my dress.

4. I use the baby as an excuse. You know that haze you walk around in when you have an infant and everyone just understands because you have a new baby at home? I’m in that delirious phase again, except my baby doesn’t spit up or need diaper changes.

5. The lows, are LOW. Like the Concord, New Hampshire, book signing/reading, where ONE person showed up. I think a good rule of thumb is that you should never have fewer people at your book signing than the number of people who watched your bruised vagina push out a newborn. Sitting at an entry table accosting innocent strangers to buy your book is even lower than having a meltdown when the mailman asks when you’re due as the two month old baby sits in the next room. Not so much fun.

6. The highs are high. The sleepless nights, crying fits and utter frustration suck, but then you have that moment of peacefully holding your sweet baby and they all wash away. The last few months have been some of the most stressful of my life. That NH reading kicked my ass, but the two readings following in Warwick, RI and Burlington, MA were so much fun and more than made up for it.

7. The “it” moment. For me, it was the moment each of my kids flashed me that first smile. Nothing but pure and utter joy. With this baby, it was finding out that I hit next week’s New York Times Best Seller’s list late last night. Holy shit!!!!! 

And, thank you. I could never have done this without your support.


The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

  1. 5

    bree says

    Amazing!!! Screw that man talking your outfit..you looked fabulous. he’s just jealous..as I am jealous of that one person that showed up at your Concord signing! wish that would’ve been me!

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    • 6

      Erin says

      I know…I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be the one person who had you all to myself for an hour!!!

      I know one person wasn’t ideal for the signing but…hopefully it makes you feel better knowing that there are literally THOUSANDS of us who would love to have time alone with you:)

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      • 7

        Jen @ Mommy Tries says

        Yes, as the lone fan in Concord NH, I can attest that I was delighted to have some one-on-one time with Jill! (Though, of course, sad that she had invested all that time getting there for just little ol’ me…thrilled to hear that the subsequent signings have been well-attended and, of course, about the NYT best-seller status!)

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  2. 8

    Michelle says

    Way to go, Jill! It was a pleasure meeting you in Burlington last night, and don’t let the Concord thing get you down. I’m from NH and I NEVER go to Concord unless I’m forced to to do business for some reason. Loving the book… The part about women who go their entire pregnancy without knowing they’re pregnant… I feel the SAME WAY. :)

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  3. 11

    Angie Kinghorn says

    OMG, NYT bestseller list!!! And #15 on Amazon? You just knocked out a giant portion of most people’s bucket lists right there!

    Finished the book the other day and loved it. It felt, scarily enough, like you were in my head.

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  4. 13

    Kate in Ohio says

    I just finished reading mine and my kids kept asking me why I was laughing so hard. I couldn’t tell them as they are 6 and 12, and, you know, they are boys.

    Congratulations and continued success!

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  5. 14

    Abby says

    As you know, I don’t even have kids but still love your stuff and can completely relate to the book love (minus the actual book deal, but whatever.) The good thing is that the book stays nice and small forever and ever. With kids? You’re on your own…but they might just help inspire a sequel ;)

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  6. 15

    Alexis says

    So sorry to hear about NH. If it helps I also live in VT and can tell you with all certainty – New Englanders are weird. No not people from Boston or Hartford but REAL New Englanders. These people like they’re syrup with bits of bark in it. You are “new in town” if you can’t trace your roots to the Mayflower. They think science is just a bunch of people trying to figure out new ways to sell you stuff. So really – having fewer people come is really a bonus.

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  7. 16

    Alison@Mama Wants This says

    Yay for your fourth child! And like having children, having just pushed one out, people will ask, “WHEN’S THE NEXT ONE??”

    Congrats on the NYT bestselling list!

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  8. 18

    tigerlillie2u says

    Does the lovely Ms. Smokler not realize the magnitude of making the NYT Best Seller list in the company of “The Book?” (Or all three of them as the case may be!) Freaking awesome!

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  9. 20

    Natalie says

    Congratulations Jill! Those of us who love you just knew that your book would be awesome. It is so fun to be on this journey with you and to share in your success :) Wishing you nothing but the best!

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  10. 21

    Eve says

    Congrats again on making the NYT bestseller list! You’re fabulous and deserve every minute of this awesome ride you’re on. It was SO fun meeting you last night in Burlington! I’m a bigger fan now than I was before meeting you.

    Also? You looked amazing last night and on The Today Show. That guy from Utah is a loser if he needed to take time to email a stranger about her outfit. Clearly he hasn’t been laid in a while. HA!

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