Ani DiFranco Says Writing Can Wait, Daughter Can Not
Touring alongside her 20-month-old daughter Petah Lucia is actually easier than staying at home, Ani DiFranco says. “People say it takes a village to raise a child, and I have a little rolling village on the road,” the 37-year-old singer and songwriter tells Mindful Mama. “It’s really great…she just infuses everything with such joy.” Aided by a nanny, Ani is able to hit the stage each and every night knowing full well that “there’s all kinds of people around who entertain [Petah] and interact with her” when mother and daughter can’t be together.
In addition, “the constantly changing landscape” is “very stimulating” for a baby, Ani feels. While the ‘singer’ section of her resume has been minimally impacted by motherhood, the same cannot be said for her work as a songwriter.
The “glorious redundancy” of motherhood caught Ani by surprise, as well as her newfound capacity to love and care for not only her own child — but children everywhere. Noting that “we’re all somebody’s baby,” Ani says that through Petah she’s learned to “transfer that love and respect and caring to everybody’s babies.”
Click ‘continue reading’ for Ani’s thoughts on her homebirth, her greatest wish for Petah, and video footage from the interview.
Ani’s decision to pursue a homebirth with Petah was rooted not in a desire to “be independent,” but was instead rooted in fears that she’d become intimidated in a hospital setting — something she feels would have been “really counter-productive.” To that end, Ani likens a hospital birth with her experiences “making 20 records in awkward situations where I don’t feel comfortable, and then [having] to sing.” In choosing a homebirth, she says she was hoping to avoid “that moment when you’re not really in your own skin.”
Her labor with Petah was “long and nightmarish,” Ani says, leaving her with a broken tailbone and — to some extent — a bruised ego. “I went into it with a lot of expectations about the power and the beauty and the transformation” of childbirth, Ani reveals, “and then I was just scared, and hurt.”
Yet another “ego-awareness” lesson for Ani involved the realization that the self image issues she’s struggled with throughout her life would be passed on to Petah, if she didn’t address them now. “After she was born, she came out all scrunched and purple and puffy,and her father in classic form was like, ‘Oh, she’s the most beautifulthing ever!’ and I was like, ‘Oh my,'” Ani explains. “Then she proceeded to eat herselfto uncomfortable, dough-boy-like fatness for a while.”
Petah is Ani’s child with partner Mike Napolitano.
Source: Mindful Mama