For 17 years, Annie Mac has been a household name for anyone who listens to Radio 1. With her ear for new talent and her skills for curating people’s music, she’s become well known as a DJ and presenter, but earlier this year, she became an author with the release of her first novel Mother, Mother. As a mum of two boys, Annie has her own experiences of motherhood, and she joined Gi to talk about the ever changing relationship she’s had with her body, how pregnancy and motherhood have played a part in that, all while sharing her innate Irish wit and wisdom.
Having had a “pretty blissful” childhood in Dublin as the youngest of four, “surrounded by chaos and noise”, Annie always wanted to be a Mum, but struggled to find a way to step out of her career in a way that felt “safe” to do so. She had many of the same concerns that loads of parents have about stepping out of work to grow their family – like losing momentum and navigating change.
She explained: “I had carved out this place in the landscape of electronic music and new music and there were no other women in my world doing what I was doing. I could count on one hand the amount of female DJs that were mothers and still DJ’ing and still touring and I felt very insecure about stepping out of the world of gigging because you build up and up and you get a momentum and then if you come out of that and you miss out on a summer of festivals, you’re a step backwards and you have to build it up again.Equally with radio – I worked so hard to get the shows that I got and the idea of someone stepping in, you’re just always conscious of people who are dying to get your job because Radio 1 is an amazing place to work and I understand that so it’s there’s always this kind of underlying insecurity of “oh god what if they’re amazing!”
Once she made the decision to have children though, Annie says she was lucky with her pregnancies and this hugely impacted the way she thought and felt about her body: “I guess I got this whole newfound respect of realising that no matter how useless I am, my body is very useful and will get on with things and i just have to in the way that you kind of get on a fairground ride you just have to kind of strap yourself in and just allow it to take you through the pregnancy”.
Describing her birth experiences, Annie said it was “very quick but it was pretty fraught because we went to the hospital too late” after a mix up with the timing of her contractions. By the time they arrived at the hospital, she was fighting the urge to push: “I kind of walked in [to the hospital] and went “let’s get this show on the road” and my husband was like “I’m really sorry about her”. I couldn’t stop swearing and then this midwife came up to me. She just grabbed me and she said “You’re gonna have to stop shouting. That’s not helping. We’re gonna get this baby out, just listen to me” and I just felt so scared and out of control I just needed someone to take control and I was like whatever you want just tell me what to do. I was so locked into her. I was nine centimetres dilated when I got there they put me in the bath to slow it down and then the baby came like about an hour later”.
For the rest of the episode with the inimitable Annie Mac, check out the YouTube video below below, or listen to the episode wherever you usually find your podcasts. We’re in all of the regular places. Check out all other episodes of Happy Mum Happy Baby here.