When Boy was a not-very-small almost-8mth bump inside me, I finally started my maternity leave and we promptly took off on holiday. We already had a 3 yr old, funds were tight and the British summer was actually glorious (no, really, it was…) so we decided that holidaying when pregnant definitely meant the camping thing. I’ll admit I did some fast-talking to convince Mr LittleStuff that I could TOTALLY handle camping with a toddler at 7.5mths pregnant. Pffft. Easy.
And actually… no matter how foolishly mad the scheme sounds, it was fine. Of course it helps that I love camping anyway, so there was no innate stress for me to be living under canvas. Sleeping was a bit tough; my beloved Mummy-style sleeping bag simply didn’t fit around my magnificent roundness, and my pregnant body didn’t seem to appreciate sleeping on the floor. But thankfully it was a scorching summer so the sleeping bag wouldn’t have been zipped up anyway, and the slightly achey slow-moving mornings soon wore off.
The lasting impression of the holiday isn’t one of worn-out stress. It was a gloriously special fortnight filled with a unique small-family happiness that is very different to our big-family-times holidays since. We spent a wonderful two weeks being a ‘three’ – we practically consumed our beautiful tow-headed toddler with greedy eyes, knowing that the new invader would necessarily suck up our time in the coming months. We were excited to get to know baby no.2 – but this was our time with our first born and we cherished every second. I spent hours wading in the sea, letting the salt water and the sunshine work their magic on my soul while my husband and son built impossible sandcastles and napped in the shade they made. We explored new places, ate simple camp food, played foolish games, sang silly songs and spent long relaxed evenings doing not-very-much-at-all as our exhausted boy slept (and I’m afraid this was the pre-digital days, and all the photos are in a box in the loft and I’m not climbing up there right now to scan one in for you…).
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
But I’ll also admit that in subsequent pregnancies I chose not to go camping again, instead opting for the easier holiday cottage route. In fact, being 5mths pregnant with No.4 barely even registered when we holidayed in the Lake District with our three boys.
And now as a wise-old mama of four teenagers, I’d say never ever DON’T have a holiday when you’re pregnant. Obviously there are some extra considerations to take into account – I’d say that a fortnight’s rock-climbing or water-skiing are probably out, likewise you’ll need to double check flight restrictions. Of course if you have any health issues it’s a good idea to check with your midwife before venturing too far too. But please DO go.
Pregnancy is a special time, whether it’s your first or your fourth, and a holiday really helps you stop and take time to enjoy it. If it’s your first, there’s time to focus on the new life inside, and on making some precious lasting memories between the two of you before the baby arrives to make you a three forever. If you already have children then it’s a great time to sit back and relax, forget about the laundry and the bills and the nursery that still needs painting and whether you have enough bedding for when the new-baby guests come and stay… It’s just time for you, and we all need that.
There are a whole host of experiences out there waiting for you – and even with a bump travelling can be easier than it is with a toddler, which will obviously be who’s accompanying you next summer!
A couple of fellow bloggers have written some fab advice on holidaying when pregnant, which are definitely worth reading if you’re thinking about it…
Karen over at Mini Travellers has everything you need if you’re thinking of flying while pregnant
“I flew to Barbados when I was 5 months pregnant with my eldest daughter and so glad we did… I can’t tell you I was comfortable for the whole trip but I can tell you I am really happy we did it.”
And Stacy wrote a fab post over on Travel Mamas, collecting a range of inspiring stories of women who totally didn’t take the easy option and took their pregnancy travel to places you might not have even thought about – yet.
“…Rude strangers, pregnancy discomfort and harrowing tales aside, many parents choose not to put their lives on hold while pregnant. Instead, they set forth in the world, ready to explore new places with their babies riding along in their bellies. If your doctor gives you the green light to travel and you’re feeling up to the challenge, I say go for it! My baby-to-be and I will be waddling along right beside you.”
And Cathy over on Mummy Travels has a brilliant post listing the 7 Lessons Learned about travelling when pregnant.
“…Learning to pack light. Never a strong skill of mine… and Don’t watch sad films on planes….”
And if you’re keen to find some sunshine but are really keen on sitting back and taking it easy, then maybe a cruise option is the very best way to go. But be aware for all the don’t-lift-a-finger service at your elbow, there are still potential restrictions – check this little video for a super handy checklist of what you need to know before you book…
(This handy video is courtesy of Cruise1st )
Whichever you decide to do, please do just do it. You’re a magnificent Human Bean Grower, and you definitely deserve a break :)