Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a new mama than those three terrifying words: Long. Haul. Flights. Sadly experiencing this is the reality of an ex-pat mama, and soon after the birth of our bubs the longing to see family calls, as does our eagerness to introduce our bubs to loved ones back home. So off we must go, no sooner have we just learned How-To-Get-Out-of-the-House-In-One-Piece, we find ourselves booking our tickets and rushing off to make passport applications for our bubs (read: most tedious administration ever) in order that we can voluntarily, slowly torture ourselves for 7 to 15 hours depending on where you call home.
This is all very fresh for me, I had the joy of doing not one, but TWO SOLO FLIGHTS with Bub to Australia last month. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t give this decision the appropriate amount of thought beforehand. I blame my eagerness to see my own mama back home. I thought, “Why not go on my own, this way I can spend more of my maternity leave with family and friends.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely proud of my efforts. Us mamas are so gangsta, we are strong in any situation – mamas can and should do it. I did it and live to tell the tale! But oh help me, if there is a way to exhaust your entire body in every way, this is it.
I had to learn how to sumo squat while holding bub in order to pick anything up off the floor in the plane.
I had to learn how to breastfeed on a pile of strategically placed blankets that continuously fell onto the ground, causing me to reach painfully down to pick them up while my bare boob was flapping around for all to see.
I had to improvise nappy changing in the toilet with one hand when the other became covered in poo because the air pressure in the plane had caused it to shoot up Bub’s back like a comet.
As for sleeping, I am clearly far too highly strung to have even contemplated sleep on either flight. One eye open, the closest I got to rest was half-watching a couple of episodes of Modern Family while wolfing down plane food while Bub napped in the bassinet.
On the plus side (I am not all about the whining…well I mostly am), now that I have done two long haul flights on my own, I am fairly certain I can do anything else ever if I choose to. No challenge will appear too great, it will never get worse (I can hear all mamas with toddlers and mamas with more than one child laughing at me and saying “Just. You. Wait.”).
The truth is though, no matter how scary, or anxiety-inducing doing something new might seem with our bubs, we will always surprise ourselves – we really can do anything mamas! We just need some time to recover, a wine, and some sleep after… (if we can get it!).
Sophia is a new mum, slowly adapting to the many changes that a new baby brings to life. She is a keen writer and adventurer who loves to travel, although now considers leaving the house and walking around Kennedy Town, where she lives, an adventure in itself (ah, how times change post baby).
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