In Birth Story: Pregnancy Guidebook + Journal, Certified Birth Doula Heidi Snyderburn and Dr. John Thorp, a leading OBGYN with more than three decades of superb clinical research and academic service, share their immense knowledge about the journey to motherhood. Week-by-week, this pregnancy book guides future mothers through pregnancy with engaging educational material designed to empower and prepare them for this journey. Journaling prompts invite the reader to document and memorialize their birth stories. Each week begins with a “Postcard from the Womb.” Finally, Heidi shares some of her favorite real-life birth stories, filled with educational tidbits and explanations of important medical terms.
Heidi Snyderburn is a Certified Birth Doula (DONA), a Certified HypnoBabies™ Doula, the entrepreneurial guru behind Birth Story Media™, a former pharmaceutical and medical device consultant, and a mom with a passion for writing and storytelling. Heidi felt “called” to her practice as a doula early on in life. At age twelve, she supported a mom through her birth. Since then, Heidi has attended hundreds of births throughout her fifteen-year doula career. She is actively practicing today with up-close and personal doula services in Charlotte, North Carolina, and virtual doula services around the world.
We spoke with Heidi about her publishing journey.
Heidi on working with SPARK Publications
I am forever thankful for the Pink Mentor Network and the connection to SPARK Publications. This book wouldn’t be what it is without them. SPARK Publications gave me the tools, the roadmap, and the freedom to take an idea all the way through. My idea went on a journey, and we both evolved, myself and the book, through SPARK Publications’ process.
There was a plan, a roadmap that was organized, and the communication was great. I found SPARK Publications to be very, very, very affordable, and I felt really loved and supported—and not pressured—through the whole process.
Is there a particular moment that SPARKed your interest in writing a book?
There were probably two moments. The first one was early on in my doula career; I found there were not any pregnancy books catered to moms birthing in a hospital that may want an epidural. I felt the market was really flooded with books on how to have a natural childbirth. It seemed 96 percent of women were coming into a hospital to give birth with an epidural, and I felt like there was a disconnect. I knew then I was going to write a book.
Three years ago, I attended an event with Fabi Preslar hosted by the Pink Mentor Network at Park Road Books. I went because that first seed was planted inside of me on writing this book, but I just never really had a plan. At that book event, someone had given me the title Postcards From the Womb and right then, something inside of me changed. I knew I was ready to go from an idea to ideation.
Now that your book is published, what goals or experiences are you looking forward to?
I mean, my first instinct is to say I’m going to gain back a whole bunch of time. I’m just really looking forward to transitioning from creation mode into sales mode. I spent the first half of my life getting an MBA and being in sales, but I’ve taken a different direction into creative mode over the last couple of years. I am really looking forward to figuring out how to launch a book and sell it, and how best to apply my sales experience.
But really, I look forward to taking a pause from working really, really hard—setting a goal and working to accomplish it. Then I’m going to pause and enjoy reconnecting with myself, reconnecting with my family, and then creating space to dream up my next project.
What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?
Probably the first surprise was how many cheerleaders I had. I was intimidated and afraid that people were going to be like, “You’re not a writer. What do you mean you’re going to write a book?” But I was really surprised how everyone came out of the woodwork to cheer me on and preorder a book to help pay for just even writing and publishing it.
I could have never anticipated how long it takes to write, edit, and market a book. It was surprising that writing a book really became its own thing. I felt like I was a vessel for this idea, and as the writing unfolded, something much bigger than me was driving the ship of what the book would become.
I let myself listen to what was being brought to me and put those words on paper. The book really grew and evolved and changed through the publishing process, and it became something completely different than I initially envisioned it to become. That was the biggest surprise to me—that there is something about writing a book where it’s almost like the book is writing itself, and you’re just the vessel.
How did SPARK Publications help in championing and publishing your book?
SPARK was there from the very beginning of taking an idea and helping me to understand the writing process, the editing process, the publishing and marketing process, timelines, the importance of graphic design and layout, the importance of just being patient and understanding. I mean there’s just so much, I don’t even know what to say.
I learned a lot about how the correct publisher can give you tons and tons of freedom and space but also knows when to reign you in, and at what time. There was a point where Fabi said, “Heidi, it’s time to birth your book,” and I was like, “Okay, I’m going to stop critiquing and reediting every single thing.”
SPARK Publications helped me to let go and let the book become what it is in the right timeframe, with patience, and also with art direction and graphic design. I didn’t think beforehand about the importance of the look and feel of a book, not just the words that are inside of it, but how the book engages the other senses.
What advice do you have for other authorpreneurs and aspiring writers?
Just do it. Once the seed is planted, it will never go away. You might as well find out how to weave writing it into your life. I firmly believe that if you don’t write it, someone else will. If the idea is given to you, then you should do something with it. If the seed is given to you, you should plant it.
I would also say triple your timeline. Don’t set a hard date. Don’t have a lot of expectations. Write for one person in mind. Write for yourself, but then write for one person. If only one person buys your book, then it’s a success. Understand that you are doing it for yourself and to just change one person’s life, and that is enough.
Tell us about your future plans—what’s next for you?
The writing of Birth Story evolved into launching a media company, Birth Story Media. Right now I’m working on my online childbirth education courses. There is the podcast, the Birth Story Podcast, the book and audiobook, and then the online courses.
What does success mean to you?
Joy. I don’t want to ever do anything to just do something. At the end of it, at the end of every process, at the end of every journey, at the end of every hardship, the whole thing should have droplets of joy or be leading you to joy.
Writing this book brought me a tremendous amount of joy. Launching it and releasing it to the world brings me a lot of joy. Leaving a legacy for my kids to have my words brings me joy. They will always have access to my book and my podcast so that they will know my voice, and just knowing that brings me a lot of peace and joy.
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