ON STAGE | with Manuela Maletta
SCREEN AND THEATRE - The new story of 2016 for Mums On Stage is an actress. She speaks about the new confidence towards work she discovered after having kids and her quest to try be stressfree about work and have faith that all would go all right. A very gentle voice to be heard. Enjoy!
My name is Manuela Maletta, I am Italian, was born in Lecco, Lake of Como.
What was your occupation or what kind of work you did around the time you became a mum?
I was a regular in a TV series in Italy.
Where do you live and work at the moment?
Now I live and work in London.
When did you start thinking "I am ready to be a mum" ( or maybe not yet) ?
I was 28 and felt I was ready to take care of someone else, to take responsibility for someone else’s life. It was a beautiful and scary feeling.
When did you find out you were expecting and how old were you?
I was 30 and hoping to be pregnant. I have been very lucky.
How long did you work for during your pregnancy and after how long did you start again?
During my pregnancy I didn’t work at all, I decided to take my time and fully live this wonderful experience, listening to my body and its timing. I slept a lot and it would have been a huge effort to work! I started working again when my baby was 7 months old.
And how much control did you have over when you stopped working and started again?
When I stopped I knew I was in control of myself, but was insure if it would have been the same with my career. Anyway, I didn’t care, just felt and followed what was right for myself. When I started again I felt overwhelmed to be honest.
Did you get support with maternity pay?
I didn’t, there was no way as I was free lance.
How was your pregnancy?
My first and second pregnancies were not very lucky, as I have been hospitalised first for a pyelonephritis and then for a metal arrythmya. My third pregnancy went swimmingly.
What were your thoughts about work and did you have something planned, did you stop, for how long?
After feeling overwhelmed when I got back to work the first time, I waited 2 years before getting back to work after my second and third pregnancy. I had nothing planned as every time I wanted to listen to myself and my own rhythm to know when it would have been the right time to start again. I tried not to stress about work, and to have faith that I would have been fine anyway.
How was the birth?
Three Cesarian unfortunately! The first two because of issues at that very moment, the third has been planned as a routine because of the previous two.
How was your post natal experience?
Happy but lonely I must say.
After the birth of your baby (babies) did something change towards how you were thinking about work or when to go back?
It has been weird, I felt like I was not the same person as before, my priorities had changed and my feelings were amplified. I was much more relaxed (and I am still, luckily!), as if a wider sense had been added to my life, and I felt a lot more of comprehension of the roles and the characters, as if I could go deeper in their analysis and interpretation with a confidence I didn’t have before. I believe every child brings a gift to his Mum!
When was the first training you did after birth. Tell us your experience leading to the first show post natal.
It was rehearsing for the Italian theatre play “Il principe di Salina.L’ultimo Gattopardo.” con Luca barbareschi e Bianca Guaccero. My child was 7 months old and I badly wanted to go back to work, didn’t want to “waste my time” and I rushed. I wasn’t ready for the new experience and I felt completely overwhelmed.
What you did and how you managed, who helped and how?
I brought my baby with me for rehearsals and tour. A nanny was helping, taking care of him when I was busy and bringing him for breast feeding. After a while I lost my milk because I was too stressed out.
How much support did you feel like you had for combining motherhood with work? (From partners, parents, friends, colleagues, society at large, government institutions etc…)
I felt it was a mission impossible at first, and when my salary wasn’t worthy to pay a nanny, it wasn’t a good feeling. But thanks to my parents, some nannies and friends I made it. But I think that if you are not “covered” on a personal level, it’s tough.
If you feel like you could have used more support/less interfering what would you have wanted?
I think we need to talk about how much men contribute to the motherhood through their paternity. I’d have wanted to be able to share the responsibility with my partner, which wasn’ t the case.
Have you got any pratical tip, web link, for mothers like you for example maternity pay, support groups etc...? Please add it here.
Actually, the best tip I can give from my experience is: Please listen to yourself and your body, don’t push too hard and take care of yourself! Do not worry about what society says “you should do” because you will make it anyway. My motto is: "In your own time, at your own pace”.
Manuela Maletta Actor