4. Sleep Deprivation = Jet Lag
Another part of the extended labor I dreaded was the sleep deprivation. I imagined writhing in pain for hours, desperate for a rest. But the epidural provided me with the best nap I’ve ever had. The early days of late-night feedings and 5 am wake-up calls were surely exhausting, but were about on par with how I felt after an 18-hour flight from New York to Seoul, or Miami to Delhi.
5. Taking Baby Home = Living as an Expat
Most new parents talk about the overwhelming feeling of when you finally take your little one home from the hospital. No more nurses to help with breastfeeding issues. No pediatricians nearby to check on the baby’s progress. Finally, the weight of responsibility is fully on your shoulders. It is a huge adjustment. This strange little organism relies on you completely for its health and well-being. While my husband and I surely felt the burden, it somehow did not overwhelm as much as I had expected. If there is one thing that being an expat teaches you, it is adaptability. No electricity (or air conditioning) during an intense heat wave? No worries. I can’t flush the toilet paper in our flat? Gross, but whatever. A dirty diaper? No big deal.
6. The Pay-off After a Long Ordeal
You might not expect a world traveler to say they hate airports, but I absolutely despise them. They are mildly irritating at best and Kafkaesque at their worst. Train stations are slightly better. There is a sense of nostalgia and romanticism you feel as you wait on the tracks. Until you find out that your train is coming in on a different track and have to race across the station with all your luggage to hop aboard just as it pulls away. So why do we put up with all the horrors of traveling? The answer, of course, is the pay-off at the end of it all. Three weeks in India involved staving off heat stroke on a daily basis, swatting away flies in the street and running to the bathrooms after each meal (or during.) Despite all this brutality that my poor body suffered through, that initial glimpse of the Taj Mahal made all the pain and misery disappear. And I think most moms would agree that that first sight of their crying newborns gave them the same awesome feeling that the pain and horror of childbirth was all worth it.
What do you other traveler moms think?