Redefining adventure as a new parent

Just having children is so far the biggest adventure I’ve ever been on. Like every good adventure there have been highs and lows, excitement, happiness, fear, moments when I’ve felt I couldn’t go on, and an overwhelming sense of fulfilment and joy. 

Even when still pregnant, my feet were itching to go and climb a mountain. Unable to do much, I learnt to be content with a slower pace of life, knowing that it was only for a short time. Once the babies were here, and the memories of a physically difficult pregnancy were rapidly fading, being replaced by sleepless nights and raging hormones, my new found patience was being tested once again. Relieved of several stones of baby weight, my energy returned and I was raring to go! There was only one problem (well, two in fact). Newborn babies don’t have many needs, but they do need to feed. A lot. And when there are two of them breastfeeding at least every 3 hours, for 45 minutes at a time each, there isn’t a lot of time left for doing much else. The babies came first and it dawned on me that life really was very different now – the days of flinging a bottle of water and a map in a bag and setting off on a day-long hike were on hold for the foreseeable future. 

So, instead, I began to focus on what I could do. We live close to the sea and I made it my mission to go for a walk every day. Baby steps! I found these small outings, far from being boring in comparison to what I was used to, were enhanced by having my two babies with me. Asleep in their carrier on my chest or in their pram, oblivious to me chattering away to them, pointing out a seagull, the waves, explaining how the tides worked, oh look there’s a crab.. The slower pace made me appreciate everything so much more and magnified every experience. It is so much easier to be pleased when you become fascinated by the minor details, and see the wonder in everything around. We began to have our own little adventures every day, growing braver with each successful outing. 

 

Twin life: Adjusting to a new era as a mum of twins

Finding out we were having twins was a hysterical moment. I say hysterical because it was hysteria that set in when we heard the news. In the small, dark sonography room where we saw them wriggling on the screen for the first time we nervously laughed and cried our way through relief, disbelief, shock, happiness and gratitude; followed by fear, panic, and, I’m ashamed to say, a little bit of disappointment. This would change everything. Not that one child wouldn’t, but our carefully made plans for a family were blown out of the water now we were expecting two at once. My naive vision of continuing my busy, adventurous life, pausing briefly only to give birth and sling my baby onto my back to come with me wherever I was going, dissipated like a bursting bubble.

Pre-babies I lived for having adventures and challenging myself, whether that be trekking the Inca Trail in Peru, hiking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, camping on an active volcano in Guatemala and scuba diving in East Timor; or closer to home running the London Marathon, bone chillingly cold winter swimming, exploring waterfalls and caves, or even just tree climbing. I couldn’t sit still for one moment without planning the next adventure. Mother Nature must have had a great laugh when she came up with my biggest challenge yet.

As the babies grew bigger and my body slowed down with the ever heavy precious load I was carrying, I began to realise that I was going to have to adjust my perception of adventure. The 9 long months of slower living – not for want of trying, but my body just couldn’t do much else other than grow my two big healthy babies – were a great lesson in patience; something i’d need in bucket loads when the girls were finally born.

The sense of adventure I felt as we got into the car to bring the babies home surpassed any of the crazy road trips we’d set off on in the past. These babies were going to be my greatest adventure!!