So here I am, writing about my trip to Japan, on a Mommy blog!! It was still hard to believe that I had to plan for a pregnancy friendly trip. (simply because a month back, I was not the potato that I am now!)
We had already planned the dates way back before we even planned a baby (haha holidays always had priority on our new year resolutions list)
Once we found out that I am going to be a mom, I did a quick calculation in my head on how far off that one week of holidays was. It would be in my 4th month, so I took clearance from my doc right away. She was only interested in how long the flight journey was, before she said yes. Apparently for a 8-9 hour haul and above, it’s good to walk around on the aisles every 2 hours, just to ensure good blood circulation. I also got her to write out a No Objection Letter for my travel plans, saying I am pregnant and fit to travel. (To whomsoever it would ‘concern’)
How to choose a destination:
This was a slightly tough decision as we have always decided on a place based on what activities we can venture into while in that country. This time, we knew that the adventure sports and activities like diving or climbing would be out of the question. Also, while pregnant, you have to be aware that your body drives most of your decisions and will power plays very little role. If you are thirsty, you have to drink water right away. If you need to use the loo, it should be right away. And don’t even get me started on hunger pangs. So we wanted to choose a well-developed city/country which would give us all of the above and in hygienic state. Having good hospitals accessible at all times was a criterion too.
That eliminated a lot of the countries that we otherwise had on our list – like Laos + Vietnam or driving around South of France (multiple hours in a car – not something I was willing to experiment while preggers)
So to make it easy, we chose a food haven – Japan!
Packing and Planning: So while in Japan, the travel inter and intra cities would all be by rail. I also knew that I would not be helping in carrying around the luggage. So we packed light, one large bag (which Dhruv would carry) and one stroller/cabin baggage (which was for me to lug around).
Our hotels were booked based on proximity to the stations and 24/7 convenience stores. There was a fantastic coffee shop next to our hotel in Tokyo, so I helped me-self to a croissant every now and then as well. 🙂
We took travel insurance like we always do, but I should mention that the regular travel insurance does not cover pregnancy related emergencies. So there is really no way to avoid unforeseen costs for pregnancy complications.
I carried my lightest handbag for all the walking around that we would be doing in the day. Avoided all my leather bags because of the weight.
I also had my most comfortable shoes on for most of the days. Bought a cool pair of (very comfortable) sneakers from Osaka while I was at it. 🙂
Walking and exploring in Tokyo and Kyoto was so fascinating and beautiful that I would tend to forget that I was carrying a +1 inside me.
But there were definitely times when I got extremely exhausted and sweaty. In those times, I just needed a bench to sit/lie down on for about 5 minutes. We always carried water with us, and bottled water was available everywhere as well. That was a very important tick for choosing Japan.
As a pregnant shopper, all of my focus was on identifying what is unique to Japan in terms of baby shopping. So I did a lot of research on which items I can or should buy, only from Japan. It was helpful to do this research before-hand, because I had shortlisted a few items like the Japanese baby kimonos (called Jinbei) and a super soft towel quality specific to Japan. There were a few Japanese baby boutiques which I visited as well. Research before-hand allowed me to plan the days efficiently. I planned the walking paths and locations based on which shops I needed to hit first, and the timings of all these stores as well. This might seem like a pretty straightforward and simple tip, but planning all of this in advance allowed me to 1) enjoy the day stress free 2) make sure I had enough eating spots along the way 3) not tire myself unnecessarily.
While making the bookings at the hotels, we had informed the hotels that I was pregnant. This allows the hotels to care for your needs in their own way. A few had extra chocolates and snacks for us, while all had extra pillows (of all sizes). All of this worked very well with my pampered side. 🙂
We all would usually want to see any city by night as well. Either the night life in clubs and bars or just simply on the streets. This is the one thing I cut back on for this trip. I did my research on the whether smoking in Tokyo clubs was in restricted areas or in the open. Tokyo had no restriction on smoking areas inside clubs, which was a problem. Anyhow alcohol was out of the question, so I overlooked the night life this time around. Making sure that I was back in the comforts of my hotel by 9 or 10 pm was a big help in allowing me the required rest time to make the next day’s 18 km walk possible. (Yes, that’s a true story – my fitbit can vouch for it!)
The husband was allocated the task of foot massages every night, which helped me get through the otherwise buzzing night life that I could have been part of.
But it was one of the smarter decisions I made, definitely.
Last but NOT the least, Food:
Japan can get tricky for vegetarians, but luckily, as both Dhruv and I eat most meat and seafood, this was not going to be a problem for us. The only thing I had to avoid was raw fish with high mercury levels. Whenever we went to a sushi restaurant, I chose what I would have liked to eat, but before placing my order I let the waiter know that I was pregnant. (I had a little note in Japanese which read “I am pregnant. Could you advise the best suited raw fish items with less mercury”) So he made changes to my order based on his judgement, which worked perfectly well.
I had carried some basic snacks from home just in case the little button inside me wouldn’t take to Japanese food. So I had Marwari ammo like makhana, bhujia, suhali and some roti+achar. Although I am proud to state that button was pretty adventurous and enjoyed every noodle as much as I did!
In order to keep my hunger pangs in check, I did not shy away from Macha and mochi ice-creams. Japan had amazing street food like rice crackers and takoyaki. These kept me going in between meals. I still have mouth-watering dreams about a teriyaki hot dog I ate in Kyoto.
Needless to say, Japan was all about food for me, and rightly/aptly so!
I think key to a superb babymoon is to keep yourself happy and stress free throughout. Listen to the needs of your body but don’t limit/underestimate your ability to experiment and have fun!
I hope this helps a lot of to-be baby mamas out there. What did I miss? How would you do it differently? Lets have it for the rest of the expecting mamas out there.
Please feel free to give me a shout on facebook if you have any questions.
Lastly, Thanks to the one of the best super-moms I know, for letting me contribute to your “guide to the light’ blog. 🙂