Pregnancy is a joyous, challenging and beautiful time in a woman’s life and we will never tire of talking to expectant moms about their reproduction experience which, hopefully, will encourage others. As Aijia Grammer moves into the last stretch of her pregnancy, we were pleased to chat with her about her impending baby’s arrival that she and her multi-platinum-artist husband Andy Grammer are excitedly anticipating, “We’re kind of in that weird middle zone where we’re not sure if we should plan the day…” Aijia tells Tinseltown Mom.
Aijia’s hands-on husband has been very caring and supportive throughout her journey, comparable to how she’s been there for him throughout his music career. Before Andy’s well-deserved accomplishments came into being she was, and still is, the constant throughout his musical voyage. In fact, she and Andy, both musicians, met back when they were music students at Cal State Northridge. “… We had the same group of friends and the music community is pretty small. We were just friends for many years… He would sing backup on my stuff, and I would sing backup on his stuff. And we would write together, and he was like my buddy.” Romance blossomed for them years later after college, and now they are both sharing in a new love that will be delivered to them any day now.
Aijia has made it clear that although her preparations draw her toward a natural birth she’s open to whatever’s best for her and baby. “Our plans are to labor at home as long as possible, and then be at the hospital at some point when she comes out,” she explains. “We have a doula that’s awesome who will be with us from when we start laboring, and I also have an acupuncturist who is going to be with me through my labor. Hopefully, we will stave off the pain with the acupuncturist for a while. …I think it’s really hard right now, especially in LA. I mean, I don’t know how it is around the rest of the country, but I think there’s a real push for natural birth, and I just find that it’s really specific to each person. … I’m doing a lot and it’s organic. But I’ve been in birth with other women where you know they had a home birth, and they labored at home, and there was going to be no drugs, no anything, and then… 40 hours in they have to go to the hospital because the baby is not coming out. And you need a nap. …I think everyone’s pain threshold is different. There’s complications that force different things. You come up with a goal, but the real goal is healthy baby. Healthy mom.”
The musician is aiming to make her pregnancy as healthy as possible and has been active with walking and low-impact exercises. She’s also used yoga as her exercise of choice. “… I did a ton of yoga, because I’m not very flexible to begin with and then when you get pregnant, all that relaxing comes into your body and all of a sudden you are more flexible than you were… …I just found that it really helped all my joint pain. I wanted to still feel like I was active, but it’s not like I could go running. I wasn’t really able to lift weights. I wasn’t that type of pregnant woman. So for me yoga was awesome…in LA the yoga classes are very competitive. Everyone is in their little sports bra. 6 Pack. And it’s like ugh, I don’t want to be around that energy. And when you go to a… pre-natal class it’s a total opposite vibe. ‘… I’m here, and that’s all I’ve got for you.’ And they go around the class and everyone’s like ‘Oh, I got gas,’ or ‘My wrist hurts’ and half the time someone is in a child’s pose; it’s very authentic. It’s great. I loved it.”
Something not so great that Aijia faced during her pregnancy was the constant nausea. “Oh man, I had the worst morning sickness. I feel like this pull between wanting to tell people and not wanting to tell people about it. But I was just like so sick… So everyone says you’ll be fine right at three months and then if it goes over, they start saying ‘Oh, well you could be like this the whole time.’ So everyday that it was over three months, it’s like ‘Oh my gosh, is this going to be the whole way?’” To her relief, the sickness ended at four and a half months. She used a recommended acupuncturist that specialized in pregnancy and fertility who helped her tremendously. “…I went to see her. I was still throwing up. Like, I threw up on the way. She did one session, and I was never sick again.” So the mom-to-be kept going weekly and the acupuncturist was able to stop the sickness. “…if I could do anything over, I would have done that sooner,” she explains.
Another challenge for Grammer was having to talk about her pregnancy in every conversation. “… I feel like because your belly is big and it’s there, it’s naturally what everyone brings up, so I found that to be kind of challenging. Because I was still in co-writes with other big writers and we’re trying to figure out lyrics for the next line or whatever, and it’s just there and then everyone keeps talking about it. I find it’s hard for women to get a break from their physical state, because it’s so in the way… in the middle of the conversation, all the time. So I don’t know if other women feel that, but that was challenging for me, because sometimes you just need to forget, for a little while, the physical and just be in the moment of whatever it is you’re doing.”
Thankfully, Andy has been devoted throughout. He’s been going to all of her birthing classes and he’ll be one of her coaches during labor and delivery. And, as parenthood nears and anticipation grows we wondered what was most thrilling about this upcoming endeavor. “I’m just excited to meet her… We keep saying, we don’t even know our favorite person… Which is kind of thrilling and terrifying and all of that. So for me, I think I’m just excited to jump in and understand this whole other part of life that I haven’t experienced yet. And if it’s even anything close to how much I love my dog, it’s gonna be awesome.”
With Andy’s touring and Aijia’s own career the timing of her pregnancy couldn’t have been more impeccably timed. She came off of tour with Selena Gomez, performing as her backup singer last year, and soon after she found out she was pregnant. “…Well it actually worked out that I did the Selena tour last year and then right when I stopped it, I got pregnant. We worked it out kind of perfectly. Andy was still touring, but I was able to visit a little bit in the beginning before I started getting sick, and then once I got sick, I stayed home and he would just come back every other week. And then most of the time he’s been home writing this new album. So it actually was perfectly designed.”
While singing backup for an award-winning artist is a great accomplishment Aijia’s bread and butter has been in songwriting. “…I do think the Selena thing was kind of a fluke, because when you write for people you are around a lot of musicians, songwriters, so it was supposed to be a temporary thing like ‘Hey our backup singer can’t. Can you fill in for this thing?’ So I was like ‘sure’ it was just one, why not, and then it kept adding on, adding on, and I stayed for a lot longer. …I’ve been songwriting for other artists, and commercials, and I just did the trailer for Baby Driver’s music.”
Working from home has been invaluable for the expectant mom, but after her baby girl arrives she and Andy plan to prioritize accordingly, take some time off and play some things by ear. “I’ve been able to work, but it’s really perfect because I’m like in my pajamas. So after the baby comes, I will probably keep doing the writing stuff and if Selena is like ‘You want to jump on this one?’ I’ll probably go, but probably not for a while. Everybody says they end up going back right away. Once the baby gets here you kind of feel it out, so that’s kind of what I’m gonna do. … I think it’s important to just be present to what is in front of you. And what’s in front of me, for a little while, is keeping this little peanut alive, and making sure she’s getting situated in the world. I haven’t put a time limit on it, but I think at least probably 3 months… …And he’s taking a few months off as well, so we’ll just be kind of holed up in the house, figuring it out.”
The singer-songwriter has been transparent about her pregnancy, but one thing she and Andy are deciding to keep under wraps is their little girl’s name. “…It’s like the only thing we are keeping a secret. Because we have big mouths and said all our other things. … And for a long time I didn’t want to tell the name, because we’ve already told the sex, and the date. And he’s a bad liar, like a really bad liar. Every time they asked in an interview or something, I told him to say we just don’t have it picked out yet. And he just couldn’t do it. So he started saying ‘We have a name but my wife won’t let me tell anyone.’” (Laughs) She does reveal that Andy’s mother’s name will be incorporated into the baby’s in some capacity. Unfortunately, Andy’s mom passed away before the duo became a couple, but they will hold on to her namesake in a special way.
As honored as she is with impending motherhood the supportive wife is equally as proud of Andy’s upcoming album. “…this album is going to be all him. It’s kinda like his most true project. In the beginning, when you put stuff out you are trying to appeal to the masses. And then when you have everybody’s attention, you can kind of stray from that a little and make what you want. And I think that’s what this one is for him.”
Another passion for Aijia is a non-profit organization that she’s been a part of for six years, Rock and Roll Camp for Girls. “…All female counselors and women. We run the whole thing and bring in little girls and show them how to be in the music and film business. They edit videos, and have band practice, and they play the Troubadour at the end of the week… Any girl can sign up for it between 8 and 17. It’s really cool, because it’s run by a bunch of women in music. And we also have awesome guest counselors like Katy Perry, Rachel Platten, Sara Bareilles. …these women come and donate their time, and show these girls that you can be doing this if you try. Female bass players, songwriters, publishers, video editors. …because it’s hard to imagine women in these roles if you don’t see it…”
With her pregnancy coming to an end, Aijia offers some encouraging words to those women who have hopes of getting pregnant one day. “…there’s such a pressure around. You say that ‘We are going to get pregnant’ and you try, and then you think it happens the very next day and for us it didn’t happen that way, because of touring schedules, and timing, but we never got stressed about it, we just sort of went ‘It will happen when it happens’ and I think that really worked to our advantage, because when it did happen, it was better timing than when we first decided to get pregnant. So I think I would just say, let yourself off the hook. There are other things at play besides your own timeline. …We think we have a lot of control over it, but really its kind of not up to us. So… hands off, let it happen, and trust that your body knows what to do.”
For more information on Rock and Roll Camp for Girls visit: RockCampforGirlsLa.org