Question 111 of 365: How hard is it to be born?

The structure of part of a DNA double helix
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It is all a matter of perspective.

My typical perspective is that it is hard to give birth to something. My wife  knows more than I do about this. She is intimately aware of the discomfort, the sleeplessness, the depression, and the sickness that occurs in the process of creating a human being. I know about the worry, the late night runs, and the intense planning for every possibility with my future child. Even still, I have never considered it from my child’s viewpoint. I never thought about what it must be like to go through all of those things and experience those particular stresses from the inside. Moreover, I have never considered the process of birthing anything else, like a company or a school, from the perspective of that entity. At least, not until today.

Today I heard this idea: “The hardest thing to do is be born.” It was merely in passing. It was in between discussions, between powerpoint slides. But, it stuck with me.

The hardest thing to do is be born.

I immediately thought about my kids and I thought about what I am attempting to do with this book. Is it their intention to be born? Have they conspired with the universe to struggle into being? Do I even have a choice in the matter?

The hardest thing to do is be born.

I am always so wrapped up in getting things done that the insurmountable process of creation always seems so much in my control, as if it would never occur without my help. But my creation is the one being born. It has a vested interest in being born well, and it struggles and pushes forward to complete the process, no matter if I help or not. It grows, however incrementally, and I can’t stop it. The only thing I can do is to feed it the right things and exercise it and take it in for checkups.

My Isabelle was first. We saw her fingernails and her lips and her lack of hair through the lens of a newfangled 4d ultrasound, and we knew that she was growing and moving and working so hard to create herself. We saw her hands move and reach out to grasp at the dense tissue around her. We knew that these things were happening, but seeing them is something else entirely. There is nothing like watching the created in the process of creation. There is nothing like watching growth occur, even if in tiny increments.

But what are the fingernails of a startup? What is the lack of hair in a new school? What are the premature hands reaching out toward in a project? If it is so hard to be born, shouldn’t we be going in for ultrasounds and seeing progress the same way that we would our own children. While I recognize that they are different and they should be different, I don’t think that birthing something of worth really should be left to chance. And I no longer believe that it is entirely in our control either. No matter what, the DNA of a creation is going to guide the process along and our influence is not always going to be positive.

Just to ensure that I am doing it right, I would like to see a pregnancy chart for an organization. I would like to see what the trimesters are going to offer me and what obstacles I would likely have to overcome. I would like to know what the morning sickness is like for some of the projects that I am a part of creating. I would like to know how changes to the biological makeup will influence the outcome. I want to see the Punnett square possibilities for eye and hair color. And yet, I still want to be surprised too. Just like with my own children, I would like to see what unforeseen beauty is created when the right mix of founders get busy.

The hardest thing to do is be born.

It should be hard. It should be worthwhile, too. An idea is conceived. It is housed in a hostile environment many times, but the people that care about it should be able to protect it. So long as it is cared for, the DNA will replicate and complete its mission. A fruitful idea requires frequent assessment and progress monitoring, and for this it needs people who know what they are talking about. Just as I couldn’t tell a boy from a girl in our original ultrasound, I can’t tell whether or not my ideas are progressing effectively.

I need expertise to see if the hard work that my idea is doing is going to lead to any long-term health effects. In short, I need idea doctors and nurses. I need them to see the whole and the parts and to analyze what is progressing appropriately and what is not. I need them to produce an ultrasound picture for me too. One that I can show off to all of my friends and family. I need them to reassure me that everything is going to be just fine too.

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