Some of you in the big lurky family might already know (or have noticed) that I’m about five and a half months pregnant. From what I’ve found so far, there are two types of difficulties with being pregnant and travelling round being in a band:
1 – the actual physical and emotion constraints, and
2 – coping with other people’s judgmental comments.
One of the first things someone said to me when they found out I was pregnant was ‘oh you’ll have to stop doing gigs then’. This was astounding news to me. All I could say was ‘um, I disagree’. (This comes along with a litany of other unhelpful advice along the lines of: you’ll have to get a bigger house, sensible car and buy heaps of plastic crap).
5 months pregnant at Peats Ridge Festival: yes, that's lemonade
Why is it that when you announce you’re pregnant, people assume that you have to get a lobotomy and start living a suburban nightmare?
Admittedly, there are definitely some physical and emotional constraints that are very real and need to be factored in:
Oh wow, the exhaustion!
I had no idea I could feel so utterly utterly buggered. For the first couple of months, I would come home from work, sleep for a few hours, eat some tea then sleep for another ten hours. It felt like being on some kind of sedative 24/7. Feeling tired and crap for the first couple of month made rehearsals a bit unproductive. Also, Pretty Boy Floyd and the Weary Hobo have been doing most of the driving when I’ve been feeling so sleepy I could fall asleep any time, anywhere.
Performing with morning sickness was a bit of a challenge. At a gig at The Shack in Narrabeen, I was dry wretching through the show which was a bit tough while trying to sing. Here’s a video of that show:
Crazy mood swings
I feel very lucky that there’s a lot of love and trust in The Lurkers and the Weary Hobo and Pretty Boy Floyd are extremely accommodating with my mood swings and unexplained tears. Playing music makes me feel so much better and usually the tears dry up after a song or two. A cuddle, some singing and not being treated like a freak are a pretty good cure for pregnancy mood swings.
Actually travelling so far has been great. We toured to Melbourne and Adelaide when I was 11-13 weeks pregnant. I was feeling tired and sick for the first bit, but turned a corner about a week in. Being on the road was really great at that time – playing music and travelling with The Lurkers makes me feel good despite the weird hormones pumping through my body.
At the Switch off Hazelwood rally in Victoria (3 months pregnant)
Despite the travelling, it was much easier than being at work, where it’s not really appropriate to cry during meetings.
We’re planning to go back to Melbourne and also do another stint in the rehearsal studio in March, at which point I’ll be 7 months pregnant. We might need to take the driving slowly and plan in a few extra rest breaks than usual.
In our last recording session, the baby actually started kicking in time after listening to “I’m in love with a skinny man” for 90 minutes. I’m hoping that means it’s starting to recognise the music and will therefore feel safe and happy at gigs.
At Pirate Studios near Tathra (5 months pregnant)
Playing at Peats Ridge Festival was awesome, though the heat was full on. Your body is already hotter when you’re pregnant, and it definitely makes the heat harder to cope with. So the chai tent at 40 degrees on a summers afternoon did take it out of me. You can see in this video my hair is drenched cause I had to duck backstage and douse myself in a bottle of cold water halfway through the set.
Performing while very pregnant
This logistical challenge is still to come! My tummy is sticking out a bit, but I can still hold the banjo with no dramas, and I haven’t had any breathing troubles yet. We’ve got a song on an upcoming compilation of Eric Bogle songs, which is being launched at The National Folk Festival at easter – by when I’ll be eight and a half months pregnant. I’m hoping we’ll be there to perform at the launch, but we might just need to see how we’re faring then. There are so many changes in such a short time it’s really hard to know what it will be like.
Hibernation period (baby arrival time)
After the baby is born (due 8th May), we’ve put a line through all of May – no gigs and no pressure as we spend some time hibernating and showing a new little person around this amazing word of ours. But we’ll ease our way back in gently, with a show at Hornsby Folk Club in June, and then our album launch in August.
Lurking with a baby
We’re also contemplating a trip up the NSW north coast in October. We’ve put a window in the back seat of the Lurker van so we can bring this new little character on the road.
Also, before you ask, no – The Lurkers are not planning to become a kids band.
All offers of baby holding during gigs will be taken seriously and are very much appreciated.
Desert Rat Shorty