By Kristin van Ogtrop
Updated January 22, 2015
Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

My book officially comes out two weeks from today, which means that (a) you can actually get it now, if you are so inclined, and (b) I have spent the last year and a half hearing countless people tell me that writing a book is like childbirth. I personally don’t think writing a book is anything at all like childbirth. Here is what childbirth was like, at least with my last two children:


Doctor: “Kristin, because of [fill in the blank reason], I’d like to induce you.”

Me: “Doctor, I thought you’d never ask!”


I arrive at the hospital with my husband, who spends the next 18 hours alternately napping and watching sports on T.V. I get an epidural at the earliest possible moment and then catch up on my magazine reading.


Time to push. My legs are completely numb from the epidural, but it turns out you don’t need functioning legs to give birth. I push three times and the baby comes flying out.

Pretty easy, even if you do pay for the experience for the rest of your life. In contrast, writing a book is more like the five stages of grief. With apologies to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:

1. Denial: There is no way I actually signed that book contract. I can’t possibly fit writing a book into my schedule. I think someone put something in my drink.

2. Anger: Seriously! If I could just go live in a cabin by myself for the rest of my life, maybe then I could write a book. That is: If no one at work needed to talk to me and no children ever needed my help in finding, say, brown paint for the cardboard tape recorder that is due for the music class project. Tomorrow. Not that that has ever happened to me.

3. Bartering: Darling husband, if you will just be parent-in-charge every Sunday for the next 12 months, I think I can fulfill my legal obligation to this book publisher. (Note: Bartering does not work. But I highly recommend finding a nice neighbor kid whom you can pay $5/hour to play with your 2-year-old while you furiously type away on your laptop upstairs. Thank you, Olivia and Chloe!)

4. Depression: I am not funny, and I have never been funny, and this publisher is idiotic to think I can be funny for 250 whole pages. Maybe I would be funny if I didn’t also have a full-time job, or so many shedding pets. And I’m not a very good writer either. And what do I know about working moms? I am just a lunatic pretending to be a working mom.

5. Acceptance: OK, the book is not completely horrible. I did what I could. And since my father comes from such a big family, at least 50 people will buy it. And the cover is pretty cute. And there are a couple of good stories in here, mostly involving other people, but who cares?

And finally, if I may add to Elisabeth K-R’s timeless list, one

Giant Caveat

I know I am lucky that I was able to write a book that somebody actually wanted to publish. I know that’s the stuff that dreams are made of for some people…including me.

It’s just not like childbirth—that’s all I’m saying.