Last weekend, I met Amanda Palmer and her husband. They were lovely. At the time, I didn’t know about this article or I would have said this in person.
First, I want to applaud you for answering this person with such grace and positivity. I know that in your situation my response would have been something rather Hulk-like. I would have wanted to do nothing more than grunt and smash someone who would presume they knew so much about me as to be so bold. I’ll admit that before reading your article I knew significantly less about you than the author of this letter and even if I did I’d let you reserve the right to change your mind without accusing you of being disingenuous. As a fellow woman, I understand what the closing of the ticking of the biological clock and the limited amount of fertile years. I also believe in never saying never even if you’re pretty sure. I think it’s always safe to leave a little room for changing your mind, but it’s also no one else’s business if you said never and then change your mind. I mean your best friend could call you out, but we all know they’d listen to your heart as it stands now versus before anyway. So let’s just say that I think the author of this letter was completely out of line.
Second, I think it’s pretty brave of you to share your past. I know that pregnancy and the post partum period are a very emotional time, and I know you’ve opened yourself up for more people to try to pour salt in an open wound. I know that you’ll have people who want to come throw hate at the mere mention of the word abortion and for that I’m sorry. I feel like we should all be able to recognize that what you’re telling is the story of the path you took to arrive at your current decision to have a baby with Neil and accept that it is your story. No one gets there the exact same way, and I don’t think others beliefs should detract from your rights. Personally, I still don’t think the author of the original email deserved such an explanation to be honest. They asked a completely unfair question. If they don’t want to support your art, it is their choice. Our relationships with art/artists is always an open relationship. We can always stop giving our money to art we no longer support, and we can come back to it later if we feel like it. Now, I understand that we want to support artists we love all the time, because we are sentimental beings but it’s fair to move on or outgrow something too. I believe that the author of this email should evaluate her feelings about your art and make her own decisions about what to do from here on out. Again, I’d like to praise you for being so polite, positive, and gracious in the open letter to the author. I would have totally had a different response.
Third, we’ve all been there. The sheer act of becoming a mother is terrifying and if anyone tries to tell you differently they’re probably lying. Truthfully, I wanted nothing more than to become a mother, but it was still scary. I knew what to expect once the baby was out, but I had no clue what to expect during the pregnancy. I didn’t know that the carpal tunnel would render me completely unable to write my blog posts, etc. Each new symptom gave me anxiety, because I didn’t know if it was normal. Of course I tried not to get too anxious either. I’d look it up on the internet or call the midwifery to be sure. All in all, I think I did pretty well, but that doesn’t make the sheer act of becoming a mother less terrifying. The fact that you’re going to push a small person out of your vagina is scary. The sheer fact that you can’t really know how your life will change until the little person is here is another. My son was born feisty. When you met him, you met his sweet side, but you can trust me when I tell you that he can scream like a banshee for hours on end. He can make me want to tear my hair out strand by strand. Like I told you though, it is definitely all worth it. You see that toothless grin and you’re in love all over again.
Fear is a normal part of the human experience. Your fear is unique to you. Your pregnancy is unique to you. Your family is unique. It’s unfortunate that the author of this letter decided to play on your biggest fears at a time when you really need people to lift you up and help you feel like you can and will be the best you that you can be even with a new little human. Embrace your fear. I trust that it will also help with your art in so many ways. I feel like art is just an expression of the human experience anyway. Fear is different for everyone, but it’s very real at this juncture in your life. I can only hope that people aren’t fanning the flame right now, but I know that’s unrealistic. You’ll just have to use your support system and know that there are some of us out there who don’t really know you, but we still feel that you’ve got this.
I want to hug you though and tell you that it’s okay if you still have fear after the birth, because it’s normal. I want to tell you that your art won’t suffer, but I’d be lying. It probably will suffer for a while as you recover, and you’ll probably have a little less time to focus on it even after you do. The truth is that for a little while you might feel overwhelmed, but then again you might not. I want to hug you and tell you that my experience will be different from your experience and your experience will be different from Gwen Stefani’s. The truth is that each baby is different and each mother handles things differently. You’ll be fine though. Your art will be fine. I have faith that you are strong enough to want to put out quality work that really speaks to yourself and your audience. I have faith that you’ll make time to do the things you love. I have faith that you won’t turn into something you don’t like. Your life will change, but you’ll find the right balance for you.
Lastly, I want to let you know that I’m way more willing to support you and your art after having met you and after reading this article. I want to see where you’ll go from here. I know you’ll rock your art and the mothering thing in your own special way. Good luck on your new adventure.