I have labored, and given birth to exactly six babies and one business. There are surprisingly many similarities between them. In the early stages; one is pregnant, imagination soars, vivid dreams cascade our thoughts and permeate our breath, we glow with the hope of what is to come.
But sometimes we feel nauseous. Sometimes we are in pain. Sometimes we are in a bath of Epsom salts crying, wondering "what in the world have I gotten myself into?". With my baby business, it was the same.
Then when you finally start showing, and people start noticing something is going on, the tirade questions and presumptions begin. After having four daighters it was:
And with the business it was,
Then the belly shots come! And those little stickers you put on your t-shirt with the month? Yup, I did those too. Early pictures of prototypes, middle markers, testers, boxes, they're all we've got till that baby arrives! Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball or ultrasound imaging machine which can tell a budding entrepreneur what their "baby will look like". So we keep dreaming.
As the due date approaches, more questions come, tests come, shopping for baby comes... Nesting happens. Must. Prepare. The Nursery. And then there is the layette. A girls' gotta shop after all. Baby has to be dressed, products have to be packaged and stored. More appointments, more meetings, delays, measurements, bothersome comments, "You haven't had the baby yet?", "Is that really the name you chose for your baby?", or "I wouldn't make those choices for my baby, I'm going natural, no epidural, VBAC, organic, at home, in a forest surrounded by wood sprites, etc.," You get the point.
You can't please all the people all the time, and there will always be critics, sometimes even trolls and the occasional goblin, beware... Navigating the waters of a start-up can be tricky. The snide remarks and baseless rumors flit and and fly along with the breeze, buzzing among the buzzards.
But all that fades away as the due date looms ever close. The pressure builds. The tension mounts. The discomfort, heart burn, stress and panic (and belly) grow. A frantic pace ensues, impatience is the new norm. And then, the unthinkable happens.
You go over due, as I did with 5 of my 6 pregnancies. I am a 'Type-A' personality. I like schedules. Lists. Protocol. Going overdue was not in the plan, but it was in the cards as fate would have it, for more than my earthly babies in fact...
Then it's time. Things get left at home, the hospital bag is missing my lip balm, where is my lip balm?!?!?!? That's not the hair tie I want! Where is the photographer? Must. Capture. The. Moments.
Then, after almost 10 long and arduous months, this baby you have carried, you have sacrificed coffee and Merlot for, you have loved with all your heart and soul, you have dreamed of in the waking hours and into the dark depths of the night, the baby you have made plans for, the future you envision and hope for this baby is about to spring fourth into the world, and begin "being". Then, the baby you have planned for, prayed for, fought for, invested in, campaigned for, slaved over, believed in, marketed, blogged about, tweeted, posted, pinned and Instagramed on, is here.
I love this picture taken my Kathleen of North Photography, seconds after the birth of my son Beau, not only because it captures the birth, but because it captures the expression on my face.
Sometimes birth shocks us. Sometimes a moment can contain the most awful pain imaginable alongside the most awesome joy fathomable. Sometimes we are brought to our knees. Sometimes the passion, the elation, the raw emotion, the anticipation, (and the hormones!), overtake us.
A friend and fellow entrepreneur recently said this to me, "Business is brutal." Birthing a baby is hard work.
Yes, yes it is. But it is also rewarding.