I went to Morocco in May of 2017, nine months after my son was born. Nearly every mom I talked to, including my own, were supportive, but thought I was bat shit crazy to be leaving my nine month old baby for a month. I spent the weeks leading up to my trip on search engines typing in things like “how to deal with separation anxiety while traveling away from your baby” and “leaving your nine month old for a month”. I never did find a good answer.
In fact, I found hardly anything at all. Occasionally I would stumble upon women on mom chat forums agonizing over the fact that they had to be apart from their babies for a day or two. The knot in my stomach tightened. I hated leaving Wilder for a weekend. How was I going to survive a month?
The day finally came. On the way to the airport, I felt a range of emotions from excitement to dread. Was I making a horrible mistake? The back and forth feelings of anticipation and anxiety pained me all the way to Amsterdam, but quickly dissipated as soon as we landed. I spent the next 48 hours walking along the canal and drinking Dutch beers with my friend Jill, completely forgetting about any anxiety I was feeling.
That feeling soon wore off, and before I knew it, I was getting on a plane to Morocco. I thought about running off the plane and hopping on a one way flight back to Montana. But that’s not who I am. I wanted nothing more than to travel internationally and my university had provided me with the perfect opportunity in an ideal location with a fantastic group of women. I was staying on this plane, I was going to forget all about my anxiety, and I was going to enjoy myself just like I did after landing in Amsterdam.
I wish that actually happened that way. I’m not saying that I didn’t have an incredible experience in Morocco, because I did. Morocco was everything I had ever dreamed, but for the entire month I let my uneasiness and fierce longing to hold my son take over my emotions and attitude. I feel like this constant worry caused me to miss out on a lot of experiences. Looking back, I realized I missed that hilarity of silly situations. I missed out on pleasant conversations with new friends and colleagues over mint tea. I missed the never ending love and support from locals and complete strangers looking after us. I missed the utter beauty of the mountains surrounding me. I was there, but sometimes I was not really there.
I look back at my time in Morocco with fondness and try not to be hard on myself. After all, I was a new first time mom with hormones raging through me (and mastitis, ugh MASTITIS). However, I do try to use this experience as a reminder to live in the moment and not miss out on my surroundings. I plan live by these words and teach my son the importance of the here and now as well. Hopefully, in the future, I can sit next to my son at my favorite riad in the High Atlas Mountains and tell him this story.
Ultimately, the baby survived and I got an experience of a lifetime. I am so thankful for my web of support at home. I hope this blog can help other women realize the importance of not putting dreams on hold because of their duties as a mama. Just because we have started new adventures with our little humans does not mean we cannot break off on our own adventures every once in while. If you do venture off on your own, don’t throw away the moments. Don’t dwell on your other adventures. Just live, experience, and appreciate.