Having a Baby is a Lot Like Traveling
Exhilarating, exciting, fascinating, awe-inspiring…. and also terrifying, exhausting, intimidating, overwhelming…
These are all words that could be used to describe travel, but from my newest perspective- they also describe how it feels to bring a tiny little human home from a hospital.
Sorry you haven’t seen me around in a while. I’ve been focusing on a very important person: my new little traveler, Eleanor Grace. She’s a precious one, and I dare say trumps this blog in importance!
I tried to schedule plenty of culture-rich guest posts to keep you entertained, but I short-changed myself, under estimating how much time…. SO MUCH TIME…. goes in to parenting a little seven pound one ounce being.
Feeding her every 2.5 hours (for 40 minutes) makes a 24 hour day seemingly last for 6 (probably because I’m sleeping when I can – so the clock is irrelevant… and I’m mastering laundry, cooking and dishes with one hand. Typing’s a little more difficult, which is why I haven’t posted a “hi” to y’all in a while).
So the posts ran out, and it’s been radio silent on the blog for three weeks. I myself have not written a post since June 13th – and how funny that this was the day that I had Eleanor! Total coincidence. She was born on Friday the 13th, during the rare, June honeymoon (the next one will be on June 13th, 2098).
I’ve waxed and waned over feeling guilty- not that I necessarily have a ravenous audience pining for more travel related tales, but that I’ve neglected this space I’ve created and poured myself into over the past (almost) two years.
Will I lose my audience? Will my SEO plummet? Will the world end? In the grand scheme of things, I just have to let it go. I wasn’t able to get it together to create.
Frankly, any inkling of free time I have goes to baby girl. How could I not spend it on this one!
And I need to learn how to type with one hand (she doesn’t like to be put down. I say this at the risk of being judged as a parent by all of you other parents out there!)
But I do miss writing: composing these posts – shooting and editing photographs – interacting with my little community here. So, I’m trying to ease back in to it. Please bear with me!
So to segue from baby to travel, I’ve been thinking a lot about how being a parent to a new born bears some striking similarities to a few travel experiences I’ve had.
For those of you who don’t have kids, maybe you can relate to some of these travel comparisons. For those who do, I wonder if you’ve had similar thoughts?
How parenting a newborn is like traveling
Having a baby is like:
- Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru: Going days without showering, not knowing when you’ll feel really clean again and making due with wet wipe-down bird baths.
What’s that smell? Wait, what day is it? Um, when is the last time I bathed? I think it was about 3 days ago… Honey can you hold the baby for 15 minutes while I take a shower?
** Please note that on my list of priorities, sleep comes first! So, catching a nap always trumped cleaning myself off. Gross, I know. Sorry!! Oh- and forget about laundry or dishes!!
- Dealing with a language barrier in a new country.
Deciphering baby’s cries is a lot like decoding another language: OK, that sheep’s bleating, does that mean she’s tired? That piercing wail… I think that’s hunger. Screaming until she’s out of breath? She’s pissed! Pick that baby up right now!
- Having the worst case of jet-lag imaginable, except it keeps going (indefinitely) after the first couple of days.
At first, a feeling of disorientation sets in… At 2 in the afternoon, your body feels like it’s 1 AM. Eyelids heavy, burning, you can’t stay awake…but wait, you have to. Where’s the coffee? Later, it’s 4 AM and you’re wide awake. Why does it feel like 10 AM?
Six weeks later- it’s still the same (though a little less intense).
- Being somewhere foreign yet familiar (i.e. Canada) or familiar yet foreign (that exotic U.S. state Hawaii).
This is my baby. She looks like me; she’s a part of me. All is right with the world. I’ve got this…..
Wait. What’s going on? What the heck am I doing? How do I do this? Why won’t she stop crying? What is wrong? Did I break her?
- Losing your modesty on a topless beach, although breast feeding is a little less glamorous.
It starts with the in-laws. Hmmm, we’re in the hospital room. I have to feed her. Don’t mind the boobs!
You get home, guests slowly start to come by. Sometimes the timing is perfect. Other times… that pitiful, hungry cry breaking my heart- the baby must be satiated!! *** Sorry! I know you’ve never even seen me in a bathing suit! Don’t mind the breast!!***
Oh well, it’s natural, right?
- Experiencing pure love, joy, and the full potential of life.
The healing powers of nature and interacting with other cultures can heal any soul. Before having a baby, I’d never felt more full of love, hope and zest for life than I did traveling around southern Africa.
The joy and love a baby brings is unprecedented and all wrapped up in that tiny, cute little package.
Of course, what they say is true. You never really know love until you’ve had a child.
It’s amazing, and I’m still pinching myself. I’m so blessed and extremely fortunate to have such a happy, healthy, beautiful baby girl.
Next on the agenda: travel with baby! We’re heading “home” to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in late August. We’ll see how she does on the plane! Then we’ll be taking baby girl to Montana in early September. Hopefully she’ll need her passport for a little international trip soon! We’ll see!