Since its release in November of last year, Encanto has captivated us with its storyline and relatable characters but mostly with its music. Stephanie Beatriz, who voices Mirabel Madrigal in the film not only recorded the hit song “Waiting on a Miracle” with the authenticity needed to honor her character, but she did it while in labor. “I didn’t want to tell anybody at Disney because I didn’t want anyone to freak out,” Beatriz told Variety, “but I was already having some contractions when we were scheduled to record that day. I was like ‘Well, fingers crossed I finish the song before [the baby] comes!’” Beatriz made it through the song and delivered a healthy baby girl the next day in August 2021 while simultaneously delivering Mirabel’s power ballad.
The song is Mirabel’s fight song where she expresses her frustration about being the only Madrigal who doesn’t have magical powers. It seems fitting that it would be the song that Beatriz would sing as she’s going into labor and when the news came out, it was deemed essentially a heroic feat. However, since the story was published on March 10 many women have been vocal about the pressures we face and often place on ourselves. While Beatriz’s labor story may scream “poderosa”, it is also telling of how demanding it can be to be a working mom. Balancing work and parenting can be draining on the body, the mind, and the spirit. Being pregnant and working or being a working mother can create immense pressure on a woman. It can be discouraging, and it can be a lonely road. Though Beatriz intentionally kept it from the studio, it wasn’t like they had no idea she was close. Byron Howard, the film’s director, told the publication that “We knew [Beatriz] was very, very, very, very ready to have that baby. But she did not tell us she was almost, almost ready.”
What does it say about how far women push themselves, especially when it comes to work and not wanting to inconvenience anyone. Following the news, Word Agency founder Zoila Darton posted on Instagram about how she was negotiating a deal while in labor and how now she’s baffled as to why she wore it like a “badge of honor.” She goes on to say about Beatriz, ” I applaud her for doing what she felt she needed to do the same way I respect my journey and choice to do what I needed to do in that time. But why are women constantly applauded AND expected to put themselves through hell to “make things happen?” I need answers and we need ease.”
Being a mom is extremely hard. It’s a non-stop, full-time job that, ironically, society still hasn’t accepted as a full-time job. Mothers don’t feel comfortable expressing concerns like “I can’t make the 8 a.m. meeting because I was up with my baby until 5 a.m.” or “I may have to get this recording back to you. Currently in labor.” And while we’ve been taught that’s the superwoman in us, and to be proud and to celebrate her, no one teaches society to offer the flexibility and understanding needed to help moms and moms-to-be in the working world. As much glory as all working mothers receive for being strong, they also need rest. We’re tired.