Interview | Local XPress
The fringe is a “springboard” for new mother and Halifax writer, performer and storyteller Amy Grace.
Over the winter she wrote her first one-woman show, The Mom Show or The Most Boring Show Ever, all the while doing yoga and breastfeeding her daughter Zoe, now 16 months.
Grace looks at how to find balance and maintain identity as a new mother.
The societal expectations of pregnant women and new mothers “kind of threw me,” she says. “Everyone has thoughts about what it means to parent or to be a mom.”
She felt pressure to conform to set patterns like the stay-at-home mom or the working mother.
“I felt I wanted to be a bit of everything. I didn't want to join the mommy groups and I also wasn't working 9 to 5. I couldn't say I was on mat leave. It left me in this position of, 'If I don't fit any of these categories, where am I?'
“I wanted to maintain my own self identity so I could be the mom I wanted to be.”
The Mom Show is full of yoga, the movements matching each stage Grace goes through in her maternal journey.
Grace started yoga when she was working as a sign language interpreter. “It's just good for your body and it helped with the physical pain of the job — like my wrists.”
Three years ago she wrote Chronicles of the Dramatics Society for the fringe festival and switched direction, training as an actor in Neptune Theatre's pre-professional program. She studied yoga and voice with Mauralea Austin. “It's important as a performer to be one with your breath and body.”
After Zoe was born, “I had to have yoga and I had to have certain things for me to be able to care for her without losing my mind.”
Grace advises new mothers to walk daily, an activity she started to get her baby to fall asleep and also to revel in the ability to move after 42 weeks of pregnancy when “getting out of bed was a job.”
She also advises new mothers to care for themselves physically and spiritually, to drink lots of water and eat well, only wear clothes they love and avoid mommy blogs “because you'll cry,” she says. “Unplug.”
Grace is trying out a 30-minute version of The Mom Show to get feedback with the idea of performing the longer version elsewhere.
She has a lot more material that she edited out and has pumped five and a half bottles of breast milk in the hopes she can make it to the fringe's Axed: Material From the Cutting Room Floor on Monday night at The Timber Lounge.
The Mom Show isn't just about motherhood; it's also about women in general and what society expects of them. “I hope my mom enjoys it as well. I want it to be insightful for people and for them to have a laugh as well.”
- Elissa Barnard | Sept. 1, 2016