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ON STAGE | With Esther Palleja'

THEATRE - I am Esther Pallejà, I am from Barcelona where I also live and work.

I am a Voice & Movement Teacher.

I teach Fitzmaurice Voicework which is quite physical and I am also a Grinberg Practitioner which requires also lots of my physicality and physical and emotional strength.

Mainly teaching at Eolia, an acting school in Barcelona, and working with private clients. I live in Sitges a town about 40 kilometers away from Barcelona, where I work.

I was 30 or 31 when I started thinking that I wanted to be a mum.

Time passed and there was no successful relationship at that time. So I started to worry. The biological clock kept moving and worry transformed into fear. By then I REALLY wanted to be a mum and the thing I was scared the most was to not make it on time. That fear took me to try artificial insemination -from unknown donor- Something inside me though kept telling me that the medical procedure -with all my respects- was not for me. However I tried 5 times. For what seems a very obvious reason now, it didn't work.

Time kept passing and my hopes to find the right person with whom to fulfill my deepest wish started vanishing.

"After all, there are many other things in life. I am good, I love my profession, I have everything I need within myself and I don't really need anything else to be happy". Those were more or less my magic words. And... Tachan! My blue frog appeared! Everything was crystal clear all of a sudden, no doubt he was the one! He seemed to have it pretty clear too, we were both on our 36 year old, so... Why waiting?

I had Ama -my baby girl- at 37.

Everything makes sense now and I am a happy mum.

I worked all along my pregnancy as a Fitzmaurice Voicework teacher, and that was a gift because I could use the work to be more in contact with my body, my needs and my baby. I had to rediscover the work through that new body and that was an invaluable learning for me. I taught regular classes until my 36th week.

I was also working as a Grinberg Practitioner and that was harder at times. Working hands-on with private clients required sometimes a too high level of energy and physical strength. But again listening to my body and trying to not overdo helped me to find a new approach and I had clients until my 34th week.

I stopped some weeks before the due date to be able to focus on the baby and prepare our home birth. I went back to teach when Ama was two months an a half. I had a good contract to teach at the University and I didn't want to say no so I commit to it during the pregnancy thinking "oh god, am I gonna be ready? Is the baby gonna be ready?" When the time arrived I knew I was ready even though I also knew it was gonna be tough.

I was breastfeeding on demand so my breasts needed to be pumped every two hours.

I was teaching 3 hours class everyday in Barcelona, so with the commuting time it made 5 ours away from Ama. Yes, those were busy days, a bit stressful at a times but I was as happy to be back to work and start slowly feeling myself again. And for Ama I don't think it was too traumatic either. Most of the days it was her father babysitting and giving her the bottle with my milk, which Ama took with no signs of discomfort.

I started to attend to a local group of mums and I heard from many of them how much they changed after having their babies, and how hard was for them to go back to work. Some of them didn't go back yet one year after having their babies. I thought "am I a bad mum for enjoying my working time?".

Now I know I wasn't, and even if I have had one year maternity leave (I had 4 months, and I used two before giving birth and two after) I would have went back to work before that. I love my work, and coming home after giving a good class to my students is the fulfillment I need to enjoy even more the time with my daughter.

In my case, the support of my partner has been and still is priceless. Actually I shouldn't call it support, since he is taking care of Ama the amount of time he does out of his will to spend more time with her daughter and to create a bond that only the everyday presence can create. He has decided to work part time, and that equals a lot the presence of both with Ama. Personally, that's the change I would like to see in many more parent couples: Men who take their parent roll as seriously as their jobs and who want to take a big part in the kids everyday life, education...

I'm certainly lucky to have such a committed partner.

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