When Nicolle Nattrass started writing her one-woman show about her experience with pregnancy as an “older” parent 2013, the words poured easily onto the page.
The Lantzville actor and playwright, who gave birth to her first child at the age of 40, was eager to share a story that she said is not often told.
“What I realize more and more just from audience feedback is that people really relate to it and it’s telling the journey of birth from pregnancy to birth that not a lot of people talk about,” she said.
Nattrass has been performing her show, Mamahood: Bursting into Light, on-and-off for the past five years. Last year, she brought it to Malaspina Theatre at Vancouver Island University for a Nanaimo Women’s Resource Society fundraiser. She said she was impressed by the response.
“Last year when I performed it at Malaspina on the Facebook [page] just went crazy,” she said.
“It had all these moms on the Facebook page just like, ‘Oh my God, it was like listening to myself.’ So it’s just been incredible.”
Following the show, a “talkback” session with women’s health experts was held to allow moms in the audience reflect about their pregnancies and learn about the resources available to them.
“A lot of women who have had traumatic or really, really difficult births don’t get an opportunity to talk about their experience because all of a sudden you’ve just got to be mom, right? You’ve got this baby in your arms,” she said.
This year the Nanaimo Women’s Resource Society asked Nattrass to return to for an encore. She’ll again be performing Mamahood at Malaspina Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 21.
Nattrass said she didn’t expect her show to make the kind of impact that it has. She said early in its run she was surprised to hear from men in the audience who reported that they gained new insight into what their own mothers went through.
“Birthing is really seen, I think, on TV, in commercials and in movies as this, sort of, woman screaming and then the next minute it’s like a diapers commercial. And so my show really talks about that and really exposes that and kind of turns it on its head,” she said.
“So it’s funny, but it’s also really poignant because, actually, giving birth is the biggest physical, emotional, mental [and] spiritual transformation that a woman experiences and I think the media were actually missing that point. So I’m really trying to give voice to women’s stories.”
WHAT’S ON … Mamahood: Bursting into Light returns to VIU’s Malaspina Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. Admission is $25 with proceeds going towards the Nanaimo Women’s Resource Society.