Writing a book isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of time, effort and hard work. Which gets even more complicated when you’re a mom and have a thriving, busy practice—like Parijat Deshpande. Deshpande, MS, is a mind-body wellness counselor who helps women in high-risk pregnancies to lower their stress, strengthen their overall wellness and have a healthier, safer pregnancy.
It’s something she knows all-too well: Deshpande experienced a very high-risk pregnancy, with eight complications, 16 weeks of bed rest at home and 2 weeks of strict bed rest in the hospital.
Deshpande is the author of the new groundbreaking, empowering, beautiful book Pregnancy Brain: A Mind-Body Approach to Stress Management During a High-Risk Pregnancy. Pregnancy Brain features rigorous research and practical tips, along with Deshpande’s story and the stories of her clients. Below, Deshpande shares a behind-the-scenes look into creating the book, including what first inspired the idea, what her writing process looked like, her go-to writing resources, and a whole lot more.
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: I actually resisted it for a long time! The first time someone suggested I write it was while my son was in the NICU. I brushed it off as just a kind comment and moved on. But over the years, I heard this suggestion from friends, family, colleagues and even clients.
As my private practice grew and I saw what tremendous results my clients were achieving with their health during a complicated pregnancy, I was convinced that it was time. More women needed to know just how much power their bodies hold, especially during one of the scariest times of their life.
More women needed to know how much control they still do have during a pregnancy that is complicated by health challenges. I had a moment on a walk one day when it just hit me that everyone around me had been right for years.
I needed to write a book….So that’s how the idea was born. But I committed to myself that while it would be heavily cited and research would be referenced, I did not want to write it as a clinical guide like all the other pregnancy books out there. I wanted it to read like a kitchen table conversation where me and the reader could chat, like girlfriends, about the reality of her health, what lies ahead and what she can do about it besides just hoping for the best.
Q: What was your writing process like? How did you make the time to write, especially while having a thriving practice and being a mom, and writing something as all-consuming and demanding as a book?
A: Huge thanks to my husband for prioritizing it. To him, this was my life’s work and it needed to be prioritized just as much as anything important we’d prioritized for his career. So he made a lot of adjustments and sacrifices at home to give me the time to write while he got some bonding time with our kiddo.
It also helped that so much of the book was already written in my head. Knowing that it was going to take a conversational tone, I knew a bulk of the book would be my story and client stories. And I was already familiar with much of the research that went into the book because I had done it prior to starting my practice, just to validate that my idea for this work was important and real enough – and backed by science.
So it was a matter of me making sure I carved out the time and was meticulously organized about it. No writing until the outline was complete. No editing until the writing was complete. That helped me make the most of the time I had to write the book between everything else going on in life!
Q: What has surprised you about the book writing process? What have you learned?
A: Writing a book has been one of the biggest personal development exercises of my life. So much of the reason people stop writing books (and I know because frequently I contemplated stopping too) is all in the mind. The doubt gremlins were very loud some days and frequently I had to lean on my village of supporters to cheer me on when I worried I wouldn’t write a book people wanted to read.
For anyone who’s thinking of writing a book, more than the research you do or how organized you are or what you write, is what’s going on in your head. As much time as you spend writing, spend as much if not more on making sure you have a positive, supportive mindset that will allow you to show up every day to write just a little bit. And surround yourself with people who can remind you when you can’t believe it yourself.
Q: What are your go-to resources on writing?
A: My editor was by far my #1 most trusted resource. From questions about formatting to whether a particular joke lands or is too dark, she knew exactly what I was aiming for and was the best support and resource I could have had.
Related to the question above, another tremendously helpful resource was The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. It’s one of my favorite books on mindset and helping you take these big leaps in your life or your career and what to do when you want to just stop and walk away.
Q: What do you want readers to take away from your book?
A: I want readers to know that no matter what anyone says, what the research tells us, what your doctor is convinced is going to happen, no one knows your body better than you.
And while most people around you might be telling you that there’s nothing you can do to help yourself during a high-risk pregnancy or your doctor might be telling you to “wait and see,” I want readers to know that you CAN influence your health and the course of your pregnancy even if you have complications. Your body IS that powerful.
Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know?
A: I never thought I could write a book. Being an “author” was never part of my identity and felt like something only other people can do. But the reality is that if you have a story in you that’s dying to get out, that you know can help others (whether through a nonfiction piece or a fictional story), you are an author already.
It’s just a matter of sitting down and getting the words down on paper so you can share it with the world. It’s scary. It can be overwhelming at times and you will doubt yourself. But the world will also be a better place because you took that leap of faith and put yourself out there.
Parijat Deshpande is the leading perinatal mind-body wellness counselor, high-risk pregnancy expert, speaker and author who guides women to quickly and effectively release their stress during their high-risk pregnancy so they can manage their complications and give their baby a strong start to life. Her unique approach has served hundreds of women to manage pregnancy complications and reclaim a safety and trust in their bodies that they thought was eroded forever.
Parijat is the author of Pregnancy Brain: A Mind-Body Approach to Stress Management During a High-Risk Pregnancy. She is also the host of the popular podcast Delivering Miracles®, that discusses the real, raw side of family-building including infertility, loss, high-risk pregnancy, bed rest, prematurity and healing once baby comes home.
You can learn more about Parijat Deshpande and her work at www.parijatdeshpande.com.