Stephanie Burgis
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Excursions & Inspiration
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Well, it had to happen someday... Today, Mr Darcy is 4 weeks old, and today we finally had to go back to the time & money sink that is Mothercare, for the first time since his birth. Sigh. At least we were spending a gift voucher this time (courtesy of Patrick's very kind coworkers), so it was less financially painful than most of our earlier trips...and it turns out that going to Mothercare with a tiny, beautiful baby who still isn't even big enough to wear newborn clothes is kind of like carting around a miniature celebrity. All through the store, people stopped to ooh and ahh and coo over him - one woman even summoned her friend from across the room: "You have to come see this beautiful baby! He is SO tiny!" Afterwards, we recuperated in the nearby Costa café, where Mr Darcy slept serenely in his stroller (see photo in his 2nd blog entry - different café but same pose). Ah, yes, the admiration of the masses, it is only to be taken for granted...

Also, I have to say that every single day, I am grateful for the sheer bliss of no longer being pregnant. All those women who talk about the joy and bliss of pregnancy? Well. I'm not going to start slinging around accusations of bad memories/strange drugs/etc., but I have to say that that was definitively not my experience. It was well worth being pregnant to get Mr Darcy at the end of it, but wow, am I happy to have my body back...and even my brain, somewhat, as I start to get a bit more sleep and feel more like myself again.

And of course, getting more of my brain back is making me really itch to get back to Kat and her world! I got the most wonderful, inspirational writing gift from one of my friends last week, as a conratulations gift for Mr Darcy's birth: a "witch's heart" brooch, made in 1800(!!!!!!), just 3 years before Kat's first adventures take place! Now, I have wanted a real piece of antique jewelry for most of my life, and I've lusted after a real Regency-era witch's heart ever since I first found out about them on Candice Hern's gallery of Georgian sentimental jewelry, because of the thematic connections with my Kat novels. Better yet, this particular one even has a bit of blonde hair braided inside - utterly perfect, since Kat is a blonde. But right now it has an even better double meaning for me.

Traditionally, parents used to pin the brooches to newborn baby's blankets for good luck. But, according to Hern, "by the 18th century, the shape had taken on a slightly different meaning — they were given to a loved one as proof of being 'bewitched.'" And I already know exactly which guy in Kat by Ghostlight is going to give his fiancée a witch's heart brooch with exactly that meaning...

So, between the two different uses, it's a perfect symbol to combine parenthood and writing, all in one very beautiful package. I am in awe every time I look at that brooch. And I can't imagine a more perfect piece of inspirational jewelry to wear as I start to wrap up my writing "maternity leave" and sink back into Kat's world (while Mr Darcy naps, warm and snuggly on my lap).

This first month of parenthood has been hard and exhausting and also miraculous and filled with wonder and love. And one of the things it's really brought home to me - between life-saving emails, phone calls, journal comments, and beautiful, thoughtful baby gifts from so many people - is just how lucky I am in my friends, and in this community.

Thank you, guys, so much. Thank you.

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