It was 2013. Life was going awesome and then I threw up. Alot. Like all the time. The morning of my eldest boy’s birthday I took a test and discovered a third baby was on it’s way.
This was just a few short months into the beginning of my burlesque journey and I wondered how a little bean growing in my belly was going to fit into the equation of performing burlesque. My body was about to go under an extreme makeover for the third time and I wasn’t sure how I was going to weather it and whether it was appropriate to perform while expecting.
Fortunately the world of burlesque is a very large place where anything goes. There are numerous performers whom have been expecting, performed and even incorporated their baby bellies into their acts. With this knowledge and encouragement from performers and friends. I continued to perform and hoped for the best.
During the warm glow of pregnancy (warm glow=morning sickness, awkward movement, hip expansion and ribcage extension) was an extremely trying time. Your entire wardrobe becomes unbearable, your shoes decide they are too small, your body literally is a stranger while there’s a little alien in there moving around, stepping on your bladder, kicking your ribs and keeping you awake at night. It’s a beautiful thing, having a life growing inside of you and sometimes I miss it. However I’m very happy with my kids being outside my uterus.
While the magic of baby growth was happening inside me I believe having something (like performing) to focus on really helped. I walked in the Pride Parade, became a narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty for Indy Fringe, examined Boba Fett’s home life during Nerdgasm, and turned into a glamorous Jill O’ Lantern for Spooktacular where my final reveal was a baby pumpkin on my belly. At seven months I was hoping my belly was reading as pregnant because oh boy I sure felt like it! As the year progressed in direct relation to my belly size and the more performances I did, my fears about performing while pregnant faded. I was completely engrossed in my characters onstage and in a whirlwind of preparation and excitement offstage. In my final month of pregnancy there came a point where I was not confident of entering/exiting the stage safely with my grand belly. At that point I was ready to take a break, relax and enjoy some upcoming baby time.
Four years and one 4 year old girl completing our family later I am more comfortable with my body. After chasing the “skinny” ideal my entire life I am accepting my body because it is a part of me and my journey. I take care of myself, eat healthy but am also indulging and enjoying life. I’m doing things physically such as jogging and weight training that I’ve never done before because an earlier me would have said “I can’t. I shouldn’t. That’s for other people.” It’s not. If you enjoy doing it, it’s for you. I would have even doubts about joining a lightsaber academy because I wouldn’t be fast enough, small enough, young enough, have time enough, etc. But I did because time waits for no one and only you can decide for yourself whether you want to do something or not.
The point here is if you’re just starting in burlesque, parenthood, and/or both, or you’re in your second trimester and worried you won’t be able to get back onstage OR start the process of performing after that adorable baby enters the world, don’t worry.
Burlesque will be here whenever you’re ready, whether it’s a month after you find out you’re expecting a bundle of joy, a few months after giving birth or 5 years later. And your body? It’s your vehicle of expression no matter what size you were, are, or will be. Be proud of it and celebrate all you’ve accomplished with it. Then go home and teach your kid(s) about glitter, doing things you love and how they can do the same because their parents have the confidence to go after their dreams.
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*Feature Photo: Schwebach Photography*