If you’re a new parent, the thought of taking your baby camping might seem pretty far-fetched. But if it’s something you love to do you may be tempted to give it a shot. Break them in early, right? I figured that the earlier we took our little one out, the better. If I didn’t try, I’d never know, and I might get too comfortable with the idea that it would be too hard. So, this past week my husband and I packed up our sleeping bags and ventured into the great unknown: sharing a tent with a 10-week-old baby.
Parenthood aside, how we evaluate and choose to take risks in the outdoors is already a rather heated, or at least passionate, debate. Add kids into the mix, and that heat turns to blazing inferno.
Once I was through the first week of bliss with my daughter, the realities of my new body sunk in. I had spent a number of days in bed recovering from the birth, and otherwise didn’t venture out of the house until about Day 6. On that day, I walked about a block before pain turned me back. Though I was able to walk farther and faster as each day passed, I was discouraged by my reflection in the mirror and my inability to really move. My daughter brought me so much joy, but I felt that my body had betrayed me. I longed to run, to feel my heart pumping, to feel sweat on my back, and my feet hitting the pavement. I longed to feel lightness again. Instead I felt heavy, swollen and slow.
My discouragement went on for the first month until, funny as it sounds, I remembered I had just had a baby.
Wikipedia tells me that our feet and ankle structure contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. Each of these tiny parts bears not only my weight but often the pack on my back, and they are called to manouevre over uneven, often accident-prone terrain. Yet, all things considered, very little has happened to them and they continue to take me faithfully wherever I’d like to go.
When I had the chance to interview Lindsey via Skype, I had a picture in my mind of an energetic, fun-loving supermom. And she is. But, while we chatted, we also dug deep about some of the struggles she’d been through with her pregnancies and in bouncing back since. Slowly, my preconceptions peeled away to reveal a deeply honest and very real human being. Now this was someone I could relate to.
My conversation with Chris went in a direction I could never have predicted. For weeks I’d been talking to outdoor adventurers of all kinds, none who had ever lost sight of the role that their outdoor passions play in their lives (or at least they hadn’t mentioned it). But though he had enjoyed outdoor activities since he was a kid and truly needed the outdoors to keep a clear mind, Chris went through a stage just prior to having kids when the rat race really took over and his commitment to the outdoors evaporated.
Erica Lineberry didn’t set out to climb 5.11s until the end of her pregnancy. But she surprised even herself when just a few days before giving birth to her son, Canaan, she climbed a clean 5.11, big belly and all.
Somehow early on in my interview with Mark and Brooke Stephens, I managed to stump Mark with a question I thought he’d have an answer for, ready to fire. He runs AdventureParents.com, after all, a “source for celebrating the amusing, yet frequently trying, lifestyle of being a parent… who’s doing what they can to raise some outdoors-loving kids.” It’s likely not the case that he had never defined what he considered to be adventurous. It’s just that we don’t often take the time or have the opportunity to articulate something that our lifestyles simply embody.
This time it’s an item I may not have picked out on my own, but I am sure glad to have in my closet! The Acadia Maternity and Nursing Poncho is just as it sounds – a maternity and nursing poncho! This “sweater” tents over the body, but has buttons sewn in so that you can create pseudo-sleeves. The poncho is thick and fleecy – just perfect for those cold winter days or, as as see up here in the Canadian Rockies, cold summer nights!
I have had the Trinity Maternity Hiking Pant in my possession since the beginning of my pregnancy. And while I’m almost eight weeks postpartum, I have waited until now to post a review because these pants, like many products from Mountain Mama, are made to be worn before, during and after pregnancy. I thought I’d put that claim to the test.
The Adventures in Parenthood Project is all about the transition of outdoor adventurers to parenthood. But I’d be remiss not to take some time to explore what this transition also means for me as an entrepreneurial and rather independent woman. In my last post I explained my choice of self-employment and how having a child has entered me into a life-long contract. In just a single day – Maya’s birthday – I went from being a hardworking and self-directed writer and editor to full-time mother; from a mat-toting yogi to receiving blanket junkie; from inspired foodie to ready-made soupie…
Wanting to take home a little reminder of our trip to the Arctic, I chose a small print of an Inuit woman and her baby looking at each other within the hood of her amautik. The amautik, a parka with a built-in baby pouch in the hood, is a clever garment, developed out of necessity to keep the baby safe from the elements. It also creates a beautiful picture of mother and child sharing one vessel as they go about their daily activities. I could never have known when I purchased the print how relevant that image would be to me just two years later.
Just a small entry for today – a reminder that every day is a new day. Yesterday’s challenges are behind you and there is so much to look forward to!
After many long months of anticipation I am so excited to introduce you all to our little adventurer, Mistaya Joy Zizka! Mistaya or “Maya”, as we call her, was born at 2:03 am on March 22, 2013, weighing 7 lbs. 5 oz. Her name, Mistaya, means…
I remember the odd alpine start on a climb where I was geared up and ready to go, but faced a delay. Whether a partner needed some extra time or the weather was suddenly looking questionable, unexpected delays such as these have often sucked the energy right out of me. This morning my husband remarked that this is how he feels as we wait for our baby to initiate his or her entrance into the world, and I certainly agree.
Suddenly I’m counting down the days, not months. As I write this morning I am taken back to the very roots of this project.
I have deeply missed the peace and quiet of the harder-to-reach places, the joys of getting there, of spending the night out away from civilization and recharging my system. I know it’s all worth it, and I would never have wanted to endanger myself or the mini adventurer by venturing too far way, so here’s how I’ve coped with my backcountry-less winter.
It’s 2 am. After one of my many trips to the washroom, I lie awake in bed thinking about the other times I have spent awake at this time of day. This hour has become very familiar to me throughout this pregnancy. But the wee hours of the morning are also familiar to me on a very different level. Beyond the all-nighters I spent studying and writing through university, I associate these precious early hours with very fond memories of alpine starts in the mountains.
My husband decided that the best way to get ready for the arrival of our little bundle in March was to start combining his household chores with his outdoor adventures. Here he is taking care of the ironing on Mt. Lady Macdonald near Canmore yesterday. There’s nothing stopping him from getting outside even when the chores are calling!
As we enter parenthood it has been a regular part of our conversation to plan a trip internationally before our baby reaches his or her first birthday. We feel that the best way for us to learn how to keep doing the things we love is to keep doing them. I am also a firm believer that children, no matter their age, benefit from being exposed to different cultures and environments, even if it is only on a visceral level when they are so tiny. But, I can’t tell you how many times in the last half year I have heard someone tell me or suggest that we can put our travel ambitions aside once the baby arrives.