If you read the title of this post, you probably thought I was crazy. Isn’t it true that pregnancy is like traveling? But stick with me, I might be able to convince you otherwise.
For the past seven years, my heart has been all about travel. For the past seven months, my mind has been occupied only by my pregnancy and my baby. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about both, and here’s why I think they’re similar.
Both travelling and pregnancy consume your every waking thought
That’s all I can think of. That’s all I can talk about. That’s all you can read. I’m tired of talking about anything else and can’t believe anyone is interested in anything other than my travel plans and my new baby.
Travelling and pregnancy are both unexpectedly tiring
Travel: You spent the whole day sitting on a plane watching movies. Why are you completely exhausted!?
Pregnancy: The most exhausting part is when your baby is the size of a blueberry. Seriously, how can making something so small be so exhausting!?
You embrace minimalism
Travel: I only have a few clothes with me because I don’t have the space when I travel.
Pregnancy: When you’re pregnant, it’s hard to find clothes that fit and you only have a few clothes to wear.
You’ll be surprised how liberating it can be to wear almost no clothes. You don’t have to decide what to wear in the morning, and you don’t feel pressured to keep up with the latest trends. Who would criticize a pregnant woman wearing the same maternity jeans every day for three months?
You want to eat everything
When you travel, you encounter so many new and delicious foods that you want to eat them all. During pregnancy, you are literally starving.
You become unashamed and unembarrassed when talking about personal things
If you’re sitting with a group of backpackers in Asia, I guarantee it won’t be more than 30 minutes before the topic of poop comes up. Backpacking in Asia can make anyone cringe. It’s just one of those things that has become so normal that no one feels uncomfortable discussing it.
Your body is doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things during pregnancy, and it doesn’t take long for nipples and boobs to become part of everyday conversation. Especially if one of your best friends is a midwife and you have detailed discussions. We talk about vaginas like other people talk about what happened with Corrie last night. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to blog about these conversations!)
You realise money and work aren’t the most important things in your life
Traveling and seeing the world has taught me that happiness doesn’t come from having a lot of money or being successful at work, but from experiences. We are taught to think that these three are related, but in reality they don’t have to be.
I’m sure you’ll feel that way even more once your baby is born.
Same, Same but different
We are all the same, but we realize that we are different. You will see this with your own eyes while traveling. We are all human beings, and no matter where we come from in the world, we all essentially want the same things. We want family, friends, good food, good company, and a warm place to sleep at night.
But we also realize that we are actually different. Due to differences in culture and beliefs, humans are similar yet very different.
The pregnancy awareness here came from a friend who is a midwife in a really multicultural area of London. She says that Chinese women make almost no noise when giving birth. The African woman screams like crazy, but she gets through it with minimal fuss and gets up and leaves the hospital as soon as she gives birth. She said British women are the worst because they research too much and plan too much. This is obviously a generalization (please don’t be offended!), but I thought it was interesting that different cultures treat childbirth very differently.
You realise people can be really friendly
When you’re pregnant, they reach out to you in ways that others never will. And I don’t mean physically reaching out and touching (although this also happens). As soon as people see my bump, they start laughing at me and talking to me about their children, grandchildren, pregnant friends, baby-related things, etc. I was talked about on the tube the other day, and we all know that no one talks on the tube!
The same thing happens when you travel, where you meet unexpectedly friendly and chatty people in new places. When people find out you’re not a local, they’re immediately curious and want to know why you’re there and what drew you to this little corner of the world.
Living in London, it’s easy to forget that there are friendly people in the world, and that people actually like chatting to strangers.
You want to read every single blog/book/article in the whole entire world
When I went on a trip for the first time, I devoured every travel book I could get my hands on. I did the same thing when I first found out I was pregnant and read every pregnancy guide I could.
And then I realized it was completely different than what the guidebook had suggested….
You don’t need to drink as many cocktails during pregnancy.
No matter how much money you have, it’ll never be enough
You always want more, more, more.
Whether you want to travel for a long time or stay in a luxury hotel. Or if you want to buy luxury cribs and designer baby products. It’s easy to get carried away and feel like you need more. If you think you need more, go back to the basics: money and work aren’t that important.
There’s never a ‘perfect’ time
There’s never a good time to quit your job and travel the world. Similarly, there is never a perfect time to have a baby. There’s always something else to do, more money to save, a project at work, etc.
The waiting is the hardest part
Whether you’ve booked an RTW ticket and have 8 months to go, or you’ve just found out you’re pregnant and have 8 months until your due date, waiting is always the hardest part.
No matter how much you plan, you’ll never be prepared
You can write all the guidebooks in the world, but you’ll soon realize that no matter how much you read, you’ll never be able to prepare a real guidebook.
You realise everyone is winging it too
Do you know people who seem to know exactly what they’re doing? it’s not trust me!
The first time anyone does it, they have no idea what they’re doing.
You realise how important your health is
Getting sick while traveling is the worst. You’ll miss out on the experience, and it’s never good to get sick when you’re away from home. Spending a few days in bed can ruin your trip, so it makes you realize how important it is to take care of yourself.
During pregnancy, you can often feel fit and healthy one day and feel like 90 years old the next. If you don’t exercise, eat junk food, and don’t drink enough water, it will be noticeable the next day. When you’re young and healthy (and not pregnant), your body rebels against almost everything, and it’s easy to forget how much stress you’re putting on yourself.