I’m currently 7 months pregnant with baby number three due in August! It has been so fun to feel the baby moving in my tummy as I sing and as she hears a large symphony play. It often feels like popcorn popping in my belly! She moves a lot when I sing! I can tell that I’ve woken her up if all of a sudden when I sing a loud phrase, I feel a big kick out of nowhere. To be a mother and a singer is a constant balancing act, but if you love what you do everything becomes gratifying and rewarding. Every time that my oldest son James, who is 3 ½ says “mommy sings for work” and wishes me luck as I leave the house on weekends to perform, is uplifting to my soul and inspires me to do my best.
From a vocal technique standpoint, I have to pay extra attention on my breath support when I am pregnant. Although each pregnancy has been different, all three times I have had to have extra focus on my breath support and control. It’s a great reminder to have the breath be ones foundation. Not only does it give one the power to sing with strength, but it also has a relaxing effect and helps ground the performer. I have found I feel an extra weight while I am pregnant (for obvious reasons) so I find it helps to be very grounded. I take an extra moment before I sing to make sure my breath is supported.
Singing for pain management
During labor, singing is an important technique I have used for pain management. I have successfully had two births with no drugs; quick and easy labors. I highly recommend hypnobabies (https://www.hypnobabies.com), which I am using on my pregnancy. During contractions, I also use long vocal tones. When we are in pain, it is a natural reaction to make a sound. When you hurt yourself you say “aaoou” or “ouch” but a high-pitched scream will just make your body tense up more. I have learned that a low pitched long sound on “haaaaaaaaa” will keep your body relaxed and let you sink into the contraction instead of fighting it. It helps me feel that the contraction is my baby giving me a big hug instead of a pain I am fighting against. During every single contraction from active labor until pushing in my last two pregnancies, I phonated on these low-pitched sounds. Believing that my quick and natural labors were due to the combination of using hypnobabies and these lows vocal tones. I plan on using these same techniques for my upcoming labor this summer.
Planting the seed of Music to children
This season I was blessed to have a lot of performances. One of these is performing for children with the San Francisco Opera Guild. We performed La Cenerentola (Cinderella) in the Fall of 2017. I was Cinderella, and my colleagues were other major roles; and the students played smaller roles (such as the evil stepsisters). I also played the Mama in the opera for children Lucinda de las Flores de la Nochebuena; which I will perform again with the San Francisco Opera Guild in December of 2018. Knowing my colleagues and I are helping to plant the seed of music in student’s hearts is so rewarding. As a singer and a mom, I know the importance of introducing children to the arts; it’s great to know my baby enjoys live music even before she is born.
Singing is healing!
I want to encourage other pregnant singers to continue singing during their pregnancies. Singing while pregnant also helps to develop the deep relationship between mom and baby. The baby will recognize the voice of the mom after they are born and singing while pregnant just makes that connection even stronger. If you are pregnant or plan to be soon, let me tell you it is the most gratifying thing to sing to your baby while you are pregnant (even if you are not a professional singer!). Your baby will love your voice no matter what, even if you just enjoy singing for fun in the shower. And singing helps so much during labor! So add some humming on your walks, or sing your favorite song while you are driving. Singing is healing and is great for everyone, professionals and non-professionals.
Here’s to all of you singing mama’s!