Amanda West (USA, California)
The Summer You Were Born (2012)
I had always looked forward to birth. When at last it was my own birthing time, I breathed and moaned and meditated through it and in 24 hours it was over. Then I was dropped like a bomb into postpartum.
Nearly three years later I still sometimes feel shaky from it. I wrote this song from the place I did everything that summer – sitting in the green chair, nursing baby on one side, guitar balanced precariously on the other, pubic bones calling out in the afterpain of being torn in two.
It was one of those songs that just came through with little forethought or editing after. I was only trying to stay sane, knowing that if I could still write a song, I wasn’t completely lost. Without understanding it at the time, I was reaching to capture the wild juxtaposition of power and loss that new motherhood brings.
I never intended for my musical identity to be so affected by motherhood, but it was quickly all too obvious I had no choice but to surrender to and embrace its force. The audio recording of this song begins with the sound of my son’s fetal heartbeat, and ends with his baby gurgles. During the filming of the video we unintentionally captured his first steps. My art and motherhood are now inextricably intertwined.
Amanda West is an award winning singer-songwriter. With her musical partner and husband, she has extensively toured the U.S. and recently completed her first European tour. She has self-produced five CDs and is about to release a new collection of original songs themed around new motherhood.