I’ll cut to the chase here and address the elephant in the room…ZIKA. When I first found out that I was pregnant, we had just completed a 1400 nautical mile sail from Maine to the Bahamas, with two toddlers in tow. We were proud of ourselves, exhausted, and most of all ready to enjoy our hard-earned tropical winter. A pregnancy was most definitely not a part of the plan. So, at first, I freaked out, thinking I would not be able to stay there. Luckily, my doctor was very reasonable about it. She is an OB at what is consistently ranked tops in the US for maternity hospitals, with about 25 years experience under her belt (under lots of belts!!), so I trusted her to be conservative in her reaction. She assured me that the area of the Bahamas we were traveling to was not yet known to be dangerous–and at any rate, the bugs that were there were the same bugs that were in North Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. The Abacos are outlying islands on the North East corner of the Bahamas, and I barely saw any mosquitoes the entire time. So I wouldn’t say that I was nervous, but I was definitely cautious. Friends recommended the Thermacell, and I carried it everywhere. I’m not sure if it worked or not, but I am officially CDC-tested and Zika-free.
With my first two pregnancies, I worked out. I went to barre classes, yoga, and did cardio machines at the gym. None of this was an option in the Bahamas, so I simply ran. Running is just another level of exercise, and I noticed a big difference in how I felt. Beyond the physical benefit (and let me assure you, I was winning no races!), there is a meditative aspect to being in nature, solo, for a nice chunk of time every morning. I felt energized for the rest of the day, and noticed a big difference in my energy level when I didn’t get my morning run in. For other workout options, I love the online classes from Barre 3 and I ordered these cheap exercise bands that fit in your pocket and can be used for thousands of different workouts.
THREE: Beach attire
I know, not everyone wants to be in a bikini when your body is going haywire, you’re gaining weight in strange new places, and just generally feeling like a whale. But if you can embrace the beach wear, then suddenly the worries over maternity clothes and what still fits and what doesn’t goes away. Not to mention a tan does wonders for any appearance complaint! Sarongs and kimono cover-ups were my daily clothes. They’re so comfortable, never stop fitting, and let me wear a bikini without feeling too much on display. (Which is saying something, since being pregnant basically IS being on display!)
FOUR: Simplicity with toddlers
There is a lot to be said for waking up and climbing right out the hatch into the beautiful outdoor morning. If you need to go somewhere, there is even more to be said for getting them into life jackets and the dinghy instead of coaxing (carrying) them down 3 flights of stairs, through ice and snow to our garage, and wrestling them in coats and boots into their car seats. We woke up, and got right outside. They never wore shoes. It was simple, easy entertainment. I would trade a lot of perceived creature comforts for that simple routine.
FIVE: Healthy eating
I have been vegan for close to a year, Whole Foods is basically my mother ship, and I like to fancy myself a very healthy eater when pregnant, packing in tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. I was so worried at first that I wouldn’t be giving this baby the proper nutrition since we were nowhere near a health food store, and our local market was not much better-stocked than your average US convenience store. What food was there was shipped over from a Costco or Winn Dixie in Florida. There was nothing organic. What happened was, I focused so much on getting what nutrition I could, I ended up eating way healthier than I would have at home, because it required a conscious effort. Instead of buying and eating an entire “organic” baguette from Whole Foods, I was forced to actually make salads.
SIX: No news is good news
With limited internet and no TV, I missed an entire season of rather depressing news. While my friends were fighting the good fight on Facebook and getting fired up over pretty much every news story out of Washington, I was blissfully ignorant at the beach.