As August approaches it's a time of year when most comics and performers are fretting and stressing: 'Why did I sign up for this?', 'Am I just throwing money down the drain?', 'Will I get any good return out of this?' and feelings of 'I need more feedback' and 'I'M NOT READY' are all common as they prepare for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Well, this year is no different for me, and I'm not even going. I'm booked in to perform the show of my life in August - popping out a tiny (I hope) human!
When I found out I was pregnant I was joyous my tired old eggs were clearly working, although three months of sickness does take the shine off that somewhat (especially over Christmas when you can't drink, can't tell anyone (it's not advised before the three month check up), and cry as you have to pour your sherry in the nearest plant pot).
My biggest fear, however, was as an artist (yes I'm calling myself that - my working class Kent roots cringe a little) that I will be forgotten, judged, and seen as washed up. So I kept it a secret from social media like something from a 1980's comedy, squeezing into power suits and throwing up in my handbag.
My first gig when I was over the advised 12 weeks safe period in which to tell people (although be warned if you have an elderly mother like me - she had me at 43 - then they just write it in every Christmas card they send at three weeks anyway) I didn't mention it on stage and it just felt wrong. As a comic and creator we talk about our lives, what's happening to us, and how that makes us feel. So even though I had a little fear that broadcasters, writers, promoters would see no point booking me or writing something for me because, well you know, she'll be off limits for at least five years- I had to make a stand.
One of the reasons for this was I was so angered when a female writer friend of mine who has a young child, was given not good feedback on a script, and asked had she sorted out childcare. Would this question been asked to a male writer with a baby? Assuming blame to her work by her taking care of her child, when actually she is lucky enough to share childcare 50/50 with her partner. However that's beside the point. Don't assume!
I've been guilty myself in the past too as that is the way a lot of us have been programmed. Years ago I ran a comedy night and had a female act headlining who I knew had a child. When the night looked like it might be very quiet or even pulled I rang to tell her to not bother. Thinking she probably has to pay for baby sitter, considerate of me, maybe? But would I have done that if it had been a new dad comic? At that time I'm sad to say, probably not.
So after my first gig at the wonderful Hello Comedy in Catford where I was OUT of the "preggy should be not heard or seen club" I had such a lovely time - it was like being pregnant on stage gave me a whole new super power. Like most comics and performers I can get very nervous before gigs, but somehow with this huge thing happing to me, I felt like a super human and doing a gig seemed like nothing in comparison.
Then I went all out and after searching pregnant things on line, I came across some Vlogs that either gave a depressing or un-realistic, 'look at my perfect nursery ' angle. Nothing really I or my baby father could relate to. So, I thought I need to do my own pregnant Vlogs - the world needs to see the REAL preggy vlogs. I'm up to my 12th Vlog and it's been great fun.
I've been reviewing clothes for fab clothes company Yummy Mummy maternity- thinking I'm some kind of preggy celebrity pound land Fern Cotton. I've had some great guests so far from Comedians Jessica Fosterkew and Catie Wilkins (children's author) sharing their preggy tips and tales.
My favourite thing is obviously when people who are not pregnant say they watch it because it's great procrastination! See, it's fun for all demographics, whether you're a pregnant mum or just putting off an essay.
So, I'm determined to force my way through the stereotype. And if you're a promoter with a night that's about to be pulled maybe consider calling the male comics with children as well and telling them not to bother. Equality!.
Real Preggy Vlogs are out every Friday on You tube and Touchcast
Hatty Co- wrote and created Comedy Central's GIVE OUT GIRLS now on Itunes