"When can I go back to singing?"
This is the number one question I see asked by pregnant singers and, unfortunately, there's no one answer for this. Some singers go back immediately and others take months or even years.
We tend to look outside of ourselves when we start a new journey, but only using other singer’s experiences of pregnancy and postpartum to set your expectations for your career is slippery business. Yet this is the primary way singers prepare themselves for parenthood.
And I get it, you need something to work off of, but here are some important things to consider:
Most people aren’t fully transparent about their experiences. I’ve seen this many times. A mom will confide in me about the challenges they are facing, but tell a different version of events to someone who is still pregnant. “I don’t want to ruin it for them!” There’s no guarantee the information you get is true or accurate.
We can have dramatically different experiences in our bodies due to genetics, medical history, privilege and even varying degrees of awareness and sensitivity to what's happening. There’s no way to know what you will or will not experience versus your peers. (This is important to remember as you venture through parenthood too!)
When we base our expectations off of someone else, we’re unknowingly mapping in their limitations. I heard so many times that urinary leaking was just a fact of motherhood - there’s endless jokes about it - so I could easily assume it is normal and not seek help. [Spoiler alert - it’s not normal! It’s common, but it’s easily treatable.] I've spoken to several other mothers who also assumed leaking was normal and didn't know they could get help for it. I don't want you to experience these kinds physical limitations just because someone else did.
What happens when your experience doesn’t match up with what you’ve been told by someone else? “There must be something wrong with me!” You feel bad about not having the tools or foresight, you might even lose gigs and feel disconnected from your body and singing. “So and so was singing at 6 weeks pp, why can’t I?” It’s a slippery slope. And the shame of not meeting those expectations can prevent us from seeking appropriate help and guidance.
It’s much better to set your expectations around what you want to happen - your own desires - and have support at hand to help you achieve that.
I think we all have deep desires for how we WANT our pregnancy and postpartum to go, but we talk ourselves out of naming them because we don't want to feel let down by our expectations. There's also an offloading of responsibility when we base our desires on someone else's - if it goes wrong then it's not our fault, it's so-and-so's for not being honest or clear or whatever else.
But here's the thing, you can't get the support you need if you're not willing and able to ask for what you need.
And this is a HARD lesson to learn on the journey into motherhood.
You can't do it all alone, you will need support, and you have to be able to ask for what you need - especially as you learn to balance your family and your career.
I created my training programs specifically to help singers on the journey into motherhood. Instead of hearsay and vague ideas, I use precise information of physiology and function to paint a clearer picture of what actually happens, how to can navigate those changes, and help singers et better expectations for themselves on an unknown journey.
When I work with clients preparing for parenthood, I focus on what they want the experience to be and zero in on the tools, resources, and support you need to make that happen.
I help them build connections with the areas of their body that are most affected by pregnancy so that they have clearer understanding of how to help themselves heal more efficiently in the postpartum phase.
I show them how to cultivate a loving and committed relationship with their body so that no matter what happens they have a safe place to come home to.
But most importantly, I set them up for the reality that they are going be a different person through this experience. The best thing they can do for themselves is hold space for the person they are yet to become.
Make room for new desires.
And the beauty of this work is that having sat with their desires once, they will already know how to start that process again and again and again. The more we do this work, the clearer and more specific we can be in our desires and, ultimately, our results.
To learn more about this work, send me a message or check out my program offerings.