At age 10, I knew I wanted to be a singer and songwriter when I grew up. That dream took its share of beatings along the way and heaps of courage in a thousand moments, both big and small; it took focus and sacrifice; and it took on a number of forms before I moved to Nashville at 20 and started getting serious about writing songs. There was one other dream I had as a little girl: To be a mother. This dream eluded me for so long, and took everything I had to give to make it happen.
Finding success as a female recording artist comes with ready made obstacles. There's the sex appeal prerequisite, of course. And for goodness sake, make sure you don't age. I have spent more hours of my life stressing over what to wear on stage or in a photo shoot then I'd like to admit. Add to this the uphill battle realities of women artists being offered far less slots by venues, festivals, and radio play. For the most part over the course of my career, I have taken these obstacles in stride, and allowed them to make me stronger and more sure of my dreams and goals. But nothing, no single thing has challenged my musical dream more than becoming a mother.
I did not go into this blindly. I remember in my early thirties while at a folk conference, sitting on the edge of my seat in a panel of established female artists talking about the marriage of music and motherhood. The basic vibe among the women was: "Don't do it."
Or, if you do choose to be a mama musician, "Change your goals and find a job helping with music in a church, or try and teach."
Or better yet, "You'll just need to be prepared to put yourself aside until they're gone to college. It will be 20 years, but you can pick back up where you left off."
Not one of them made it sound remotely POSSIBLE to continue a career as a performing songwriter after having children. I left utterly discouraged.
As fate would have it, making babies did not come easily for me. Years ticked away on tour, us trying with no success, until I was 37 and left with medical intervention as the only path. If my motherhood dream were to ever become a reality, time was of the essence. Within weeks of my 37th birthday, I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility, offered a spot in a medical study, and BOOM, we conceived Beatrice.