They tell you having a child will change your life. You will sleep during the day and stay up all night. You will lose your sense of decorum and casually – on more than one occasion- undress your boob for a feed infront of strangers. Then forget to put it back because mummy brain is real and you stopped fighting it two months post-partum. You will be reminded about it – the heavy, drooping, leaking boob that’s air-drying in the wind- when, after you feel the cold trickle of milk on your skin, your licentious uncle mutters something about naked boobs belonging in the bedroom. In the arms of a grown man, not stubby little fingers that cannot make out the nipple from the rest of the thing in broad daylight.
They don’t tell you that having a baby will change how you recreate- unless you keep really cool company that recreates outside Easter and Christmas and the occasional trip to the coast during school holidays. Babies, with all their 3.08kgs and 49cms change even the most immutable of men.
The seasoned club hopper will submissively stay home flipping through over-priced pay Tv, his phone on silent in another room because he doesn’t want to sound emasculated by the mocking laughter that meets another one of his “guys, I’m at home with the fam tonight.”
For months after her baby’s arrival, the fervent bookworm will not pick up anything written – other than multiple prescriptions for colic or another mother’s blog or the WHO’s campaign on breastfeeding. The nature photographer may continue to take photos of nature- but only as long as their baby is the centerpiece. The foodie will uncover new degrees of home-made puree, and go on to colour milestones with the new food that baby has taken to, occasionally discolored by concerns about why baby is adamant about trying eggs. Oh and the more discerning foodie – the one who regaled us with tales of exclusive restaurants, beautiful food and decadent wine- will be elated to enjoy a fresh, albeit lukewarm home-made meal once a month.
I’ve been through all those changes, and then some. When my baby was still fresh (depending on the type of mom you are, fresh could be anywhere from zero to thirty-six months) I didn’t go out as often as I did pre-baby. I kept worrying about something happening to my baby. And that the single glass of watered down white wine I had with my 400grms of steak would inebriate me so much, I’d not hear the child screaming at night. Or worse still, my single glass of wine would find its way to my milk and I’d slowly be feeding my baby alcohol.
I don’t read anymore because, which mom has time to read? And indeed, the only food I talk about is the one my baby is, or is not having. Yet, I take these changes, and many others that I cannot put in an article that will be read by my mother, in stride. I don’t take notice of them. I shrug them all off, including the diabetes.
There is however one thing that I have not been able to shrug off. I’ve learnt to embrace it and accepted the changes it has forced me to make. I’ve accepted that having a baby will change the way I travel. It doesn’t matter if I’m going to the market, taking a walk to the kiosk with my baby, or flying across continents. Travelling, post-partum is a whole different ballgame with new rules, new destinations, a new found appreciation of checked luggage, seats with extra leg room, and those little appliances and nuggets that they put in your room. Things you took no notice of unless they were on top of, next to or inside the mini-bar.
Let’s travel, post-partum.