When we speak about certain personal goals, sometimes we don't fully have the expectation that they'll happen sooner rather than later.
Instead, we set goals and allow the Universe to manifest the work we put behind them. For my husband and I, our goal was not to have a baby within our first year of marriage. But, here we are, 36 weeks in our pregnancy, and absolutely loving the journey!
He and I talked about children on our first date, so we knew we were in the same boat with having children…eventually! We got married this past year in May and the original goal was for me to accompany him to China, as he was about to embark on his newest contract as an American Football Coach. I had been teaching high school English in Cairo, Egypt where he and I met and this would be the first time I would not work in 15 years (I'm 30 btw).
So, in the conversation of having children, we agreed on waiting a year “or so", while getting accustomed to traveling together with each new contract and giving me the time and space to start my own business.
Somewhere in the mix, we had enjoyed our “newlywed" status a bit too vigorously.
I remember Mother Nature meeting me a few weeks after he and I got married and then she came no more. I had never missed a cycle and knew that my body had not been playing tricks on me.
And it also helped that the two pregnancy tests that I got from Target popped up two blue lines within seconds. When I told my husband, he was ecstatic. Although planning to have kids was something he and I planned for our future, we were both mentally prepared to be parents in the present as well.
As the time approached to leave for China, I was often flooded with questions and concerns for my health abroad.
People couldn't fathom the idea that I would accompany my husband on a six-city tour in China, while this new life continuously grew and molded itself inside of me. I had friends and family try to convince me to stay in The States, so that I could keep my doctor and be around family and just be on what they considered the “safe side". But, I was going to China with no hesitations.
The decision was mainly because pregnancy was a journey that my husband and I were going to embark on together, much like going to China. We were partners in this venture and I wanted my husband to be around for the first of everything, as this would be both of our first experiences with having a baby.
My husband left out for China a week ahead of me, which left me to fly into the country solo. I had never had a fear of traveling solo because that had been a hobby of mine prior to he and I ever meeting. I flew into Beijing, China in my second trimester at 17 weeks. I had been warned by my husband that the smog level in Beijing was very high and he had equipped me with a face mask for the moments I would be leaving our hotel.
Each week, we traveled to a different city in China, each time I had to fly solo, as the league my husband was employed by purchased all of the tickets in advance for players, staff, and executives – no wives included.
I found myself enjoying the adventures of growing life and maneuvering through domestic airports where “toilet" and “exit" were about the only words in English that were not foreign to me. Tedious, at times, but overall travel gave me a boost of excitement. After Beijing, we traveled to Dalian, China and, as the tour progressed, we ended with six cities that we had explored within a six-week period.
After Dalian, we went to Qingdao, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and lastly, Shanghai. In those six weeks, I saw the doctor, got my blood drawn, urinalysis, tests, an ultrasound, and all was good with the world. Baby and I both were healthy, even though people tried their hardest to keep me off my feet or from doing anything for myself. We were going to explore as much as his schedule allowed.
I walked a lot and stayed pretty active in China, but as the season came to its end, my husband and I were looking forward to a nice vacation (babymoon) in Thailand. Yup, we were off to another destination. He and I knew that the season would take a lot out of him and we both planned that by this time, we weren't going straight back to The States.
We spent a month in Pattaya, Thailand where we got the most of soaking up the sun, swimming, cheap massages, cheap food, and temple exploration. We also rented a motorbike, that I hopped on readily and some jet skis that I also jumped on the back of with no hesitations. And just for kicks, we flew over to Bangkok a few days before heading out to enjoy what the city had to offer.
The wildest part was as we had enjoyed our vacation, we still didn't have a clue where we were going to be having the baby. I, for my own reasons, had been adamant about not having the baby in The States. Hubby seconded my emotions, however, had two new contracts on the table – one of which was in the states. As we made our way back to the U.S. post-vacation, the Universe had undoubtedly been on our side and we would be having our baby in (drumroll) POLAND! Yes, in Poland.
As nomads, we get up and go.
Onto new destinations, in search of adventure, life, and peace of mind. My husband's career allots the opportunity for us to be in a different country frequently, but only for a few months and then it's onto the next one. As his wife, that's what I had signed up for. My decision to travel while being pregnant stemmed from the notion that traveling provides me a euphoria that could only be a constant release of oxytocin.
For women who have had children and those yet to bear, know that being in your best self and being of a clear, positive mind cultivates an awesome environment for the one you bear in your womb. If I was a celebrity, I'd probably name my child "Zen" because ever since finding out we were pregnant, I vowed that this child would be cultivated and born in that type of atmosphere. Although people have had their concerns, had I listened to others' fears, I don't believe my pregnancy would have been the positive experience that I needed it to be.
So, here we are in Poland at 36 weeks, prepared to bring this new life in the world. Of course, we are making a quick trip to Berlin, Germany as a last adventure before I'm nestled in the house. This is a true testament that pregnancy doesn't have to be done any one specific way. As a pregnant woman, you don't have to be a stereotype or stuck based on the fears and/or standards of others. Life is meant to be lived, for your baby and for YOU.
Granted, not everyone will be able to tell this particular story, but do things in your pregnancy that make YOU happy and allow YOU to feel your best. Just as people find it important to go to a million doctor's appointments or take prenatals, it is just as important to find environments in which you feel you can thrive and be happy.
Go see a movie and a have a nice dinner. Have a girls' night with some friends. Meditate. Travel.
Pregnancy isn't a handicap and we can undoubtedly live life on our terms when bringing another life into the world.
Have you been pregnant or are you currently pregnant? Is there anything that you would do or are doing to get yo' life while you prepare to give life? Let me know in the comments below!
Imani Bashir is a writer, wife, and soon-to-be mother who spent five years as a Sports Broadcaster before a sporadic move to Egypt where she taught English Literature. Imani does not look to stereotypes to dictate her fate and lives by the narrative, "Women everywhere, can be anything they choose!" Follow her journey on IG @SheIsAbroad_ & Snapchat @SheIsImani.