From Nomad to Mom….
I remember the photo distinctly: A picture of a nomadic looking mom, in the jungle somewhere in Thailand, trekking in the footsteps of an elephant with a baby strapped to her back. I immediately got super excited as I rubbed my growing belly. YASSSSSS that would be us. My prenatal travels had included Bermuda, New Orleans, Miami, a babymoon in Belize. I was already grooming my first born to become a baby nomad.
Prior to my pregnancy, I traveled every month or two. I lived for flight deals, even mildly….ok, I’m downplaying it….no, I fully obsessed over them. Any flight that was a few hundred bucks had a good chance of getting booked. I was apart of several travel communities, loved to influence others to travel….yes, it was a major part of my identity.
So it would be a smooth, natural transition to me and my son traveling the globe together, right? I would plan our first trip before I even got out the hospital, right? We would go get his passport the day of his first checkup, right?
WRONG. The first few months after having my son, I was so tired between caring for him, breastfeeding and transitioning back to work that there was no mental energy to sit and book a flight anywhere. Every week it crossed my mind, made it to my to-do list, but didn’t happen.
The extent of the changes to your post-partum life isn’t talked about much beyond caring for and feeding your baby, healing from your birthing experience, and transitioning back to work. Your family and friends didn’t have any advice for you resuming interests, hobbies and social life after baby. However, those things are just as important as being a mom and an integral part of self-care. The way and how often you incorporate those into motherhood will be different but are necessary. Say hello to 3 am bubble baths while the baby is sleeping!!!
Some tips for your transition from Nomad to Mom:
*Recognize everyone is different. No two moms have the same journey. How you view your postnatal life, what you’re influenced by (hence my Thailand elephant picture lol) and how things will actually be may or may not align.
*Tread carefully with planning postpartum trips while still pregnant. It’s impossible to predict how you’re going to feel once that little person is in your arms, where you’re going to want to go, where you’ll feel comfy taking your brand new baby. Canceling trips is a major pet peeve of mine so I waited until after I gave birth to plan anything.
*Prepare for naysayers. Your family and friends are going to ask why you’re taking your infant to “some strange country”. People are going to ask why you’re traveling alone and where the father is. One of the most annoying comments made constantly to me is: “He’s not going to remember all of this”. You have to ignore and block out the negativity. You got this! You and your baby will come back in one piece with beautiful pictures and priceless memories.
*First trip with the baby is going to be a crazy, fun, maybe scary, learning experience. All of the blog posts, Pinterest pins, Facebook groups cannot fully prepare you. You will have to figure out your system and tips/hacks work best for you and baby.
*Be open to various forms of travel. My first trip with my baby was a 2 hour road trip to the beach for a week. He was a month old and it was actually my first time alone with him for 2 days of the trip. Besides the bonding time, it helped me master pumping milk and tending to him at the same time lol.
*Don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t living up to your pre-partum nomadic self. Its going to take some time. Your nomadic bestie may have jumped on a plane 2 weeks after giving birth. You may need longer. My son was 7 months when we went on our first flight. And we just went to Florida. A far deviation from chasing an elephant down in Thailand with him on my back. 😉
K’Cee Horne is the mom of a 2 year old nomad-in- training, therapist and entrepreneur in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. She is the owner of a special needs socialization support and travel company The Moving Brain http://www.themovingbrain.org. She also provides therapeutic services to children, families & new mothers and mediation services to co-parents/blended families. She chronicles her son’s travels on Instagram at @maximus_worldwide.