"In giving birth to our babies, we may find that we give birth to new possibilities within ourselves." -Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Change is hard, because it's deviating from what you know and venturing into the unknown. As my body was changing to accommodate my first baby, I noticed that my interactions with people started to change, especially by those in my workplace and in my industry. Instead of being proud of being pregnant, I felt that I always had to hide my bump to be treated equally. I was pregnant...not brain-dead. Pregnancy doesn't change your personality or will; if anything it makes you stronger and bolder given the right kind of support and positivity. The environment of film was not conducive to pregnant women; 14 hours on your feet isn't exactly ideal. However, I worked all throughout my pregnancy and only revealed to the crews that I was pregnant upon wrapping up. I was able to fool many into thinking I had a huge muffin top, but most of the female crew knew and congratulated me. I hope that I changed the views of those crew members, that by working on-set while pregnant and doing a stellar job, would not stop them from hiring women or pregnant women (who are still able to work). I did do more studio/fabrication work into my third trimester, which allowed me to sit most of the time. But I wanted to allow “myself” to make the “decision” of being capable of working, and not allowing others to make that decision for me upon seeing my belly.
The photo above is of me after I finally moved out to my first solo studio. It was just me and my then-assistant, Ariel, who set up the studio and furniture. On top of being pregnant, moving was so physically and emotionally hard. The pregnancy forced me to leave the special effects shop/team that I belonged to for almost 2 years. I had to start all over and find ways to create things safely using as many on-toxic materials. I also had to figure out how to balance time with family, work and physical limitations. I was scared and had no real help or encouragement from members of my industry. I tried reaching out to other female artists and received only 1 response through Facebook. (Thank you, Naomi Lynch!) Fast forward to now, after taking some online business courses, finding great assistants, doing a crap load of research and development on using non-toxic materials, surrounding myself with positivity...I have created a viable business which is sustaining itself and my art; it just took a lot longer but I enjoyed and savored the time I had with my 2 children and family.
Looking back, I can't believe how far along I've come and how happy I looked, although I was trembling and stressed out all the time. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something. Don't ever let anyone make you feel small and worthless. More importantly, don't ever feel burdened and hindered by being pregnant. Thank you, Misha & Max, for changing my life and making me stronger for not giving up!