I must say I never really knew about “babymoons” until a work colleague, M, asked me about it. Granted, though she’s Singaporean she’s spent most of her adult life in Melbourne and therefore she knows all about funky drinks I’ve never heard of like Lemon, Lime & Bitters (a.k.a. LLB), calls sunglasses “sunnies” and has friends who go on babymoons.
As far as babymoon breaks go, we started out a little late. Popular pregnancy websites recommend trips to be done in the second trimester, “the most comfortable time to travel.” I’m a little over 27 weeks pregnant and feeling every week to the bone.
These days Peanut also likes to make his presence felt — often in the mornings or in the evenings when I’m about to sleep — by rolling around, kicking (or punching?) me in the bladder region, or in a few instances, hiccuping (at least that’s what I think is happening; those times he moves in a small, steady dum-dum-dum rhythm).
I’m still getting used to how Pregnant Me looks and feels: my slightly larger, redder nose; puffy cheeks; legs that don’t spring back when pressed; my waddle walk; the straight dark line from my belly button down (and the funny, lighter-colored crooked line above it), not to mention my 3-D belly button which now looks like an actual button; my massive weight and how I feel like it will stay with me forever and ever.
Sometimes I can’t believe I’m carrying a little person around inside me. Funnily enough (to me at least), the Hubby doesn’t feel like a dad yet either, though he’s felt Peanut kick a few times. I guess we both need to see, smell, and hold Peanut when he’s out for reality to truly sink in.
Not that we haven’t been preparing. We signed up for antenatal classes in KK Hospital, where so far the most useful thing I’ve learned is to never bend my back when picking up things I drop (I’ve taken to doing a plié in order to do this — yes, a plié — in first or second position. Thank you, grade school ballet classes). I’ve dutifully popped a prenatal vitamin at least 96% of the time, and even taken to drinking an iron supplement after my 20th week based on advice from ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ (though I slowed down on the iron after reading this WHO study). I explored prenatal yoga classes (but balked after discovering those near my office were crazy expensive). I bought a wedge pillow to rest my bump on while sleeping. We Baby Fair-ed in Singapore Expo and bought a two-boob breast pump. I’ve followed Peanut’s fetal size progression from lentil to cauliflower, thanks to babycenter.com. I’ve Google-d “is [insert food item here] safe during pregnancy” more times than I care to count.
I’ve also taken to watching baby breast crawl videos on Youtube. (There’s one here. If you’re short for time start at around the 3-minute mark.) It’s amazing how these little people are born with the natural instinct to survive — they know they need milk and they know where to get it. I close my eyes and imagine Peanut and hope we’ll have the same experience.
But for now, there’s the babymoon.
I kept email-checking and social media-checking to a minimum in a bid to completely unplug. The first two days, Hubby went diving and I was in a small way relieved that I didn’t have to go diving too. I didn’t do anything except read. I brought a small bag full of books and managed to start and finish:
- One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China by James McGregor
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- HeartBurn by Nora Ephron
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
I started but haven’t finished ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ (Daniel Kahneman). I’ve read more than half of it before. It’s a book I love to come back to from time to time especially since I seem to forget what I read quite easily; and I want my Systems 1 and 2 vigilant and alert to their possible mistakes.
We stayed in two different hotels: the Rama Candidasa Resort & Spa for the first three days, since it was closer to the Hubby’s dive spots, then the huge Ayodya Resort Bali in the Nusa Dua compound for the rest of our stay. I ate a lot — the Ayodya’s breakfast buffet in particular was quite comprehensive so it was difficult to keep track of calories. The beach atmosphere also called for the frequent consumption of lots of smoothies (with summery, tropical names like Bali Sunrise, Cucumber Cooler etc), fresh young coconut juice and grilled meat/seafood. Needless to say the recommended “300 extra calories a day” rule was not followed the past week.
A highlight of our babymoon was a Legong Dance show at the Ayodya’s Balinese Theatre. It included an Indonesian dinner buffet. We were treated to four Balinese dances: the Panyembrana, a welcome dance; the Tarunajaya, a dance meant to show an adolescent and “his emotional turbulence”; the Legong Kraton dance, which told the story of the King of Lasem going to war for a maiden, but unfortunately dying in the end (as foretold by a bird of evil omens); and the Oleg Tambulilingan dance, a love story between bumblebees. The dancers were young girls, even those playing male roles. They wore vividly colored costumes and heavily lined eyes, which highlighted their eye movements and exaggerated facial expressions.
It was lovely to watch them on stage. At the end of their performance each of the dancers tried to get an audience member to come up and dance with them. A little boy volunteered to go. As soon as he stepped onstage he shimmied and shook for all he was worth; he twirled his hands and looked sharply left and right trying to copy the dancers’ eyes. And he was dead serious about it. The audience laughed and a few Chinese tourists snapped photos.
I wondered about the little boy forming in my belly and whether he would be an enthusiastic dancer too.
One step at a time.