A Change of Plans
meet Fiona Bailey!
You may have noticed this newsletter has been missing from your inbox for several weeks now. I apologize for disappearing without notice.
The plan was to hire someone to run One More Question for three months after my daughter was born—which was supposed to be in August.
Fiona Bailey had different plans, arriving 7 weeks early on January 23.
She surprised us again when she was placed on my chest, immediately after birth. The doctors had warned me they might have to whisk her away if she struggled to breathe, which was a strong likelihood given her prematurity. But Fiona greeted us with hearty wails from deep within her little chest, limbs flexed and eyes open wide. I got to hold her immediately and marvel at her tiny fingers and toes and those big, beautiful eyes.
Unfortunately, we’ve since discovered that Fiona’s health is more complicated than it seemed. She has a rare condition in which a gap in her esophagus prevents food from passing from her mouth to her stomach. She’ll be in the NICU for at least 6 weeks while we wait for her to grow enough for surgery to connect the two ends.
My life has come to a screeching… not a halt, but a dramatic detour. My partner and I both stopped working much earlier than planned, and our days now revolve around Fiona, not at home as we envisioned come August, but at the hospital where she sleeps in a little incubator instead of her basinet, and a nurse has to help us hold her, to navigate all of the wires and tubes. It is a wondrous and heartbreaking experience. Our days are exhausting in the way so many parents warned us they would be—but also nothing like that at all.
Needless to say, my focus is far from writing and work these days. I’m on maternity leave, but without a definitive plan for how long. We don’t know exactly how long Fiona will need before surgery or how long she’ll need to recover, and I’m still figuring out how to strike a balance between taking the time I need now and saving some time off for when she’s finally home with us.
So, here’s the new plan, for now, as it pertains to OMQ.
I’ll be taking off from the newsletter for another two weeks. Then on July 19th, I’ll resume the weekly Tuesday issue with all of the writing opportunities and deadline reminders, funds, classes, and nuggets of inspiration that paid subscribers signed up for. While I won’t be returning to other work for awhile longer, the weekly Tuesday newsletter feels manageable. I think it will feel good to return to this practice of writing to you. (It will also be very helpful to have the continued income, as all of my other work stopped much sooner than planned.) I probably won’t include the intro essays, as I can’t imagine having anything useful to say about freelance writing right now. But we’ll see.
As with everything right now, I’ll have to see how it goes. If I resume OMQ and don’t feel like I’m able to deliver a certain level of quality, I’ll reassess from there.
If you applied to take over OMQ in my absence, I’m so sorry to be rescinding that opportunity. I just don’t have the bandwidth to finalize the search or the flexibility to pay someone as originally planned.
If you’re a paid subscriber, it would mean a lot if you stuck around. But I totally understand if the break plus the uncertainty of future issues makes this subscription less valuable to you. If that’s the case, feel free to unsubscribe—no hard feelings. ‘
Free subscribers, there will be less public content moving forward. But I hope you’ll stick around for the occasional free issue. And maybe you’ll decide to upgrade once I resume the Tuesday emails.
Also, I won’t really be responding to emails. Even though I’ll be back to sending the one weekly newsletter in just a couple weeks, that’s the only work I’ll be doing for the time being and emails will likely go unread for awhile. I need to limit how much time and effort I devote to OMQ for now, as being with my family and resting takes priority.
If you need help with pausing or canceling your subscription, all of that information is available through “settings” in your account on Substack. I’m sorry I can’t be more responsive on those questions.
Regardless of what level of subscription you have and what you decide moving forward, I am so grateful to everyone who has supported this project over the last couple of years. And thank you for understanding the sudden change of plans. And for being flexible if those plans change again.
I imagine I’ll eventually have lots to say about preparing for the unexpected as a freelancer and what it looks like to take parent leave when you don’t have a full-time employer, but for now I’ll have to focus on living all that.
See you soon…