Opera singer says career prepared her for delivering her own baby in the car: ‘You focus on what you’re doing’

‘I just thought the pain was so intense that my body was fighting it,’ opera singer who gave birth in car tells The Independent

Clara Hill@clara_ish
Monday 05 July 2021 20:33

An opera singer has claimed her career helped her deliver her own baby in the backseat of her car.

Emily Geller Hardman, 35, toldThe Independent about the experience of giving birth to her daughter, Rosemary Claire, in the backseat of her car during a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for a wedding and said that that her extensive performing career helped both mentally and physically.

“You really get used to and train yourself, your body, to focus on pressure,” Ms Geller Hardman said. “That’s something I have experience with as an opera singer,” citing the importance of using breathing techniques in the car and making sure her body was relaxed.

Ms Geller Hardman works under her maiden name, Emily Geller, as a successful contralto singer.

Her website reads, “Recent notable concert soloist work includes Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium, Duruflé’s Requiem, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, and Handel’s Messiah with companies across the United States.”

She told The Independent about the importance of mind-body connection involved in being a professional singer.

“In performing you do lots of preparing, right before the actual performance, and you train your body, and your mind, when it’s time for the performance, there is a certain amount of muscle memory.

“You have to figure out how to roll with the punches. a little bit and make changes when necessary,” she continued.

Emily Geller Hardman after giving birth to her baby.

Ms Geller Hardman said she had extensively prepared for her daughter’s birth, so much so that when her loved ones heard about what happened, they said it could not have happened to be a better person.

The drive to prepare came after the birth of her first child, a boy named Wesley, 3, who was born by caesarean section.

“When that didn’t go the way that I wanted to, I dove head first into the birth world,” she said.

She told The Independent that while the surgery went off without a hitch, she found the experience hard due to the recovery and the lack of agency she felt she had over his birth.

“I was forced into a surgery I didn’t want, and that frankly I didn’t need,” she said, outlining how life was difficult with a newborn and recovering from a major medical procedure.

For her second birth, Ms Geller Hardman wanted to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section), but wasn’t expecting to deliver her baby by herself.

She had believed it was fine to attend a friend’s wedding as she had several weeks to go until her due date, and thought when she went into early labour during the couple’s trip that she would have time to get back to the hospital in Connecticut, which is a few hours’ drive away.

However, the couple’s timeline was off as at 5.45, their daughter was born in the car after 1 hour and 45 minutes of driving.

She told The Independent, “I certainly did not think my labour was going to be that short.” She said that she felt pushing but was not sure about how dilated she was.

Emily Geller Hardman getting picked up an ambulance after having a baby in her car

“I just thought the pain was so intense that my body was fighting it,” she said, but then she felt her daughter’s head and reached down.

“Her entire body just flew out,” Ms Geller Hardman told The Independent.

“The birth of my daughter, I wouldn’t describe it as traumatic, at all. I found it to be a very healing experience, and empowering,” she told The Independent. “And I know for some people, you know, just hearing like giving birth in a car sounds traumatic and before I did it, if someone would have asked me, I would have agreed.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments