After a successful run earlier this year, Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood returns to The People’s Improv Theater, September 15 through November 10. This is a repost of editor Jamie Rosler’s conversation last March with writer/performer Jamie Aderski, about a show that shares the raw truths of birth and motherhood.
Let’s start with the toughest question, just to get it out of the way: How are you? Did you sleep okay?
Ha! I’m just ok to slightly above average? He’s teething right now, so that’s not a good time. Lots of late nights and early mornings, currently.
I see your promo photo, holding a baby and drinking from a bottle of champagne. To me, that just looks like brunch in Brooklyn, but I wonder if you’ve gotten negative feedback on that image, or the use of the word “reluctant” in your show title.
My husband took that picture three days after having [our son]. I was pretty much out of my mind and that was the first drink I had in 9 months. Ha! And yes, I live in Williamsburg, totally get it – it’s becoming the new Park Slope baby/family wise. People have been responding positively to the image and show title, at least, to my face. I get that it could be a turn off for some, but then they wouldn’t like my show anyway. Good way to keep out the riff-raff!
What’s the best/worst reaction you’ve gotten from someone who asked about motherhood and got an unexpectedly honest answer?
Ah. I messed up. I still feel a little bad about this, but I ran into someone who was a few weeks away from her due date, and I was two months postpartum. She seemed so glow-y and excited. Casually, in passing, she asked how everything was and I basically cornered her and told her about my bleeding hemorrhoids and sore, ripped vagina. Too much? I’ve never seen a 9-month pregnant woman waddle away so fast.
After that, I toned it down. A bit. An acquaintance was pregnant and asked me some questions about birth and postpartum. Or did she? I may have just offered it up (which I realize is potentially very annoying). I told her about some of my experience, 21-hour labor, not sleeping for 3 days straight, how difficult breastfeeding was. I saw her a few months later after she had the baby, and she was like, “You were right! It was insane!” Glad I could help.
Are you worried about being over politicized, is that your intention, or are you just doing a public service and what will be will be?
I am not trying to convince anyone to have a baby or not have a baby with this show. There are enough people in this world telling you what you should do with your body and your life. Fuck them. This show is just my experience, and if it makes people uncomfortable that’s because it’s not talked about enough. Having a baby is not easy, and anyone who tells you different is lying. It’s also not for everyone and that’s completely okay. This show is a warning, yes, but it’s not sermon. I think it’s important that women, and men, know what it entails, but also that you can do it. I didn’t think I could or even if I wanted to. I’m an a actor and a comedian, my husband is a chef. He works crazy hours and I never know where my next gig is coming from. Our lives are very busy, we don’t have family here, we aren’t rich, and we live in New York City, one of the most expensive cities on the planet. But we are doing it and we are all thriving. I think it’s important to know that you can have a family and have a career, whatever field it’s in. You can pursue your goals and have a baby. My biggest fear was that having a baby would devalue my life and take away who I was and everything I have worked for. It’s just the opposite. It’s made me better. It’s made me stronger. Deciding not to have a child is also something I understand and have great respect for, as well. My show plays to both. And people should also know It’s okay to not be sure. And to fucking laugh about all of this.
Your picture is on a Snuggie box. Did you get a free Snuggie and is it the most helpful tool in raising a baby?
It is! They gave me several. Some really nice high-end ones, too. I break those out for company only. I have one with puppies all over it which is my favorite. You know you’re special to me if I let you use it. They should make a baby Snuggie. That would be great!
Finally, here comes the cliche you’ve been waiting for: Do you have any advice for women of child-bearing age that are either trying to get pregnant, or trying not to but might anyway?
A cliche for a cliche: take it one day at a time. Seriously, though. I still tell myself that, or it can all become overwhelming fast. You are now responsible for another life on this earth. It’s a big fucking deal. So, one day at a time.
If you are trying and it’s not happening, enjoy yourself. Go on a vacation. That’s what I miss the most.
If you weren’t planning on it, but now you are [pregnant]: you can do this, momma. If I can, you can.