As we made our descent onto the harsh landscape of a country inhabited with a mere 300,000 people, I couldn’t help but feel like we were landing on the moon. Accurately named the land of fire and ice, this country already had a grasp on me.
After much anticipation, 10 upcoming days of Icelandic adventure, a writing retreat, and a baby-moon were upon me. Here is a small taste of my experience traveling to Iceland while 22 weeks pregnant.
International travel as a baby bean carrier felt amazingly out of whack, but at the same time, so normal, because it was still me, doing my favorite thing in the world.
Far outside of my control and comfort zone, I quickly realized that the real Mother Nature rules the roost on this island.
My anxiety level was certainly higher than on a normal trip, unsure of so many unknowns and wanting to protect my baby. I had a few rough nights of heart-racing insomnia that left me questioning my strength. This led to anxiety about having anxiety and not wanting to put extra stress on my baby. Anybody?
I quickly turned those thoughts into a positive mantra, arming myself with a new sense of purpose and double the amount of strength with my baby on board.
“I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore.” – Elizabeth Gilbert.
With pickled shark plaguing the menus, I knew I was in for an interesting week of eating. We as Americans, or maybe me as an internet reading informant, seem to be significantly stricter on pregnancy diet than other countries. No lunch meat, no unpasteurized cheese, no raw eggs, the list goes on. No such rules exist in Icelandic culture. I cheated a few times, and gave myself permission to be ok with it. Hunger and nausea usually won the battle when there was nothing else to eat!
Bean, will you forgive me?
Natural, geothermal hot springs sprinkled the landscape. While my feet enjoyed a dip, my doula and I decided it was best to avoid a full plunge, despite the tempting relaxation of a mineral bath.
The obvious travel and pregnancy discomforts did not go unnoticed. Constipation when traveling, constipation when traveling and pregnant – nothing else needs to be said on this topic. The tired feelings came creeping in sooner than usual, as I was unable to master every hike and city street like I would normally attempt.
As if in perfect harmony with my need for reassurance, bean was moving around inside of me like a wild, fist-bumping banshee the entire trip. While laying in bed one night, watching “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, my husband felt bean kick for the very first time. His reaction and disbelief were priceless, slightly creeped out yet unable to get enough. We laughed and cried in a magical moment imprinted on my memory forever.
Despite the challenges, and missing out on a couple of experiences, it was worth it. It’s always worth it to jump out of my comfort zone and come back built up with an even greater layer of strength and bravery.
Our pseudo lunar landing was complete. One small stamp on our passport and one giant leap in the memory book for our family.