How was Mumsician conceived?
Updated: Feb 27, 2019
Happy Santes Dwynwen Day to all the love birds out there! (That’s the Welsh Valentine’s Day for anyone who doesn’t know). You all know what love birds make, right? Babies! And I’m manufacturing one inside of me right now. Yes, I’m excited, but boy am I anxious about the effects this little thing will have on my life and career, especially being a freelance musician, with no support from an employer.
I’ve been lucky enough recently to be accepted on to the EFEx (English Folk Expo) mentoring scheme for folk musicians. In November - just a few weeks into the year-long scheme, all excited about the plans ahead, and mind bubbling with ideas on how to improve all manner of areas that musicians need to think about – I suddenly found out I was pregnant.
This is an important pilot scheme for the organisation, and the information they gather from me, and the other 3 musicians, will be cruical as they plan their future activity. I thought perhaps I should drop off the scheme, and make way for someone else, who will be able to give 100% to their careers over the course of the year.
Even though I was only around 8 weeks into my pregnancy, and hadn't quite got my head around the idea myself yet, I approached my mentor. Surprised, and perhaps a little disgruntled at hearing the news, she suggested I contact the organisation immediately.
I was dreading it. My mind in overdrive, I thought, “I’m that awkward one, that’s screwed your shiny new mentoring scheme over. The information you gather from me will be useless, and when you want that next batch of funding from the Arts Council, well, what use is my evidence? I’ve gone and made a baby in stead of making a career. You can’t do anything with this! I’ve just absorbed good tax payer’s money, and accepted valuable mentoring and career advice, just to sit on it, and pop out a baby instead. Someone else could make way more use of this opportunity than me.”
I plucked up the courage and called Tom Besford, of EFEx. Heart pounding, I broke the news. The words “I’m pregnant” felt so alien to me. I hadn’t even got my head round the idea myself yet, yet there were so many people I needed to tell who were relying on me. I don’t have one employer – but tens of them! Each one will need to be told. And each time, will I feel like this?! This was the first time. I braced myself for the worst… But I couldn’t have been more surprised with his reaction!
I was so taken a-back by Tom’s response and positive reaction, that I jotted his words down whilst on the phone. He said something along the lines of,
“You have no reason to be nervous or ashamed. You should never apologise for being pregnant. Life happens! You should be direct when you tell people. You definitely shouldn’t be penalised or unfairly treated for being pregnant. You can continue with the mentoring scheme for sure. And why not use the opportunity to champion this kind of thing!”
And there it was. He planted the idea there and then. How many women out there who are enjoying careers as musicians, have to seriously consider their futures on finding out they’re pregnant? What happens? Do they give up, or can they adapt? Which is when the idea for this blog was conceived.
So this is it. Mumsician – a place to share my thoughts and experiences, my hopes and fears on becoming a mother-musician. Can it be achieved? Will I even WANT to achieve it?! I’ll find out in due course. But in the mean time I hope to connect with as many other mumsicians out there for advice and support. Mewn undod mae nerth, as they say in Welsh. In unity there’s strength!