This week my husband and I are on our babymoon. Some people say babymoons are the last hurrah before your baby arrives outside your belly, but since it’s impossible to hurrah with a child inside your stomach who doesn’t like to drink, I see it more as a vacation from putting together a baby registry.
If you’ve never done one or started one, a baby registry is the one gate of hell every woman must pass through to earn her child. No one warned me, so let me warn you: if you are pregnant, no matter at what stage in the game, start your registry NOW! You would think it would be easy to pick out cute things, but no, it’s not easy because it’s not just about the cute stuff—you have to think about how many diapers and for what stage, what kind of diapering you’ll want to do (disposables or cloth), what size bottles and how many, do you want to risk an all-in-one convertible car seat or change them three times. I held off for as long as I could to dive into this mess so I could try and enjoy the different stages of my pregnancy before making our new way of life a reality we were still not required to live. Thing is, once you start picking out things, you learn it’s impossible.
It took me two months to figure out and compile mine. I spent hours every day trying to make sense of this world I had never thought about before. What kind of person am I and what kind of parent will I be? Will I want to travel the world with my baby? Do I want my child to be babied or strictly raised with little extras provided? What kind of career do I need to set myself into motion for and how will that affect what I need for the baby? I spoke to four different women, perused over three different registries, read recommendations written by five different mothers, devoured the Oprah hailed book BABY BARGAINS, and, if you’re like me and have poor girl neurosis that makes you think everyone else is just as hard up on cash as you are, spent twice as much time as other mothers-to-be making sure I had a range of reasonably priced items so, as if I have the power to do so, don’t let the world throw itself into greater debt.
And then just as I finished, it was time for our vacation and what turned out to be the drug-like experience of a babymoon.
To get high without getting high takes a lot of noodle dancing or somehow throwing yourself off-kilter by exposing yourself to a dizzying number of unknowns. Not that this was planned—the best trips rarely are—but we ended up throwing ourselves into this otherworldly spiral by spending our first morning of vacation in LA by getting our things together for the trip in an unusually relaxed state, followed by a drive down to Joshua Tree where we stayed somewhere we had never been to to attend a wedding outdoors somewhere in the desert with a jaw-dropping star-filled sky, a moving heartfelt ceremony, beautiful friends and more dancing than my back could handle. Eight hours later and no time to get acquainted with our surroundings, we drove north eight hours up to Monterey and went from dry brown landscapes with stickly shrubs to green-filled roadways atop mountains covered in healthy redwoods and cypress trees. That sequence of events in only 24 hours could not have been more disorienting.
After the long drive we passed out for a bit in our hotel room and when I awoke, I had no idea where we were or who I was. I tried focusing and reminding myself of our travel plans but could not resolve the feeling of being misplaced to save my life. Without anything to ground me, nothing seemed real. It was as if I was in the middle of a real-life version of THE MATRIX and at any second I could wake up with my brain attached to some world-imagining machine. My only recourse was to ride what was a feeling of weightlessness and near non-existence.
Hoping some movement and change of scenery would help, I accompanied my husband to a nearby British Pub and kept staring at him like some psychopath in desperate need of clinging onto some semblance of sanity. And then I remembered… I’m pregnant. To think about being pregnant with no relation to who you are or where you are is, as hippies like to say, a trip. I was sure the cognizance of my pregnancy would bring me back to earth, but it didn’t. I was surprised to find that something so settled in my body could still be a part of my feeling so out of my body. Pregnancy it turns out is not the grounding experience so many people make it out to be; it too can float right along with you wherever you go. All of those decisions on who you are and what you hope to be with your new family are made from habits accumulated over time. It’s those habits that get you stuck and make you feel a false sense of being grounded, not babies, because babies are not a habit they’re just babies.
As a result, I was able to experience pregnancy in relation to me and my husband solely for what it was—time for a human to develop inside of me and time for us to grow with it. It was kind of cool to realize that no matter what our circumstances and way of life, there will always be one constant—the three of us exist. No matter the rocker, the carrier, no matter if I go back to school, if I’m rich or poor, we have this baby and the meaning behind it? Nothing. It just is. It is just growing. A little Zen I guess and not all that snuggly fun, but there was something so freeing about it all. We’re in this together and being a part of it means just being with it and each other. Suddenly the registry, who we are and all my worries about our future went out the window and our babymoon, as a time for one last relaxing hurrah, was free to start in earnest.
P.S. – Start your registry NOW!