The blog has reached its 6th year as we end this unpredictable 2020 and head into the new year. For the past 5 years, I was fortunate enough to have unbelievable experiences and adventures on my travels around the world; and even though we started this year with a lot of hopes and anticipation for more travels… it didn’t come to be. The Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe, and we spent almost the entire year at home. So for the very first time — I have no travel reflections of the year. Because nobody travelled at all. And as everyone adjusted to the new norm, I adjusted to a different one that will forever change my life.
I started 2020 with the most wonderful news. I was going to be a mother! My entire year was spent preparing for this amazing new role — from seeing that double line to going through the joys and woes of pregnancy; from anticipating the arrival to experiencing the pain of childbirth; and from meeting my baby for the first time, to knowing and loving my little love more and more each day.
So for 2020, my year’s reflections will be on my journey to motherhood. Month by month from the very start, to where we are today at the end of the year. Here’s sharing with you my happiness, and the very first year of my most epic adventure.
1. January – I’m Pregnant!
I found out I was pregnant at the end of the first week of January. What a way to start the year! I had spent the previous couple of weeks feeling weak and queasy, so to rule out all possibility, I bought a pregnancy kit… and lo and behold, the two lines came up. I have to say it was a complete mix of emotions at that point — quite a bit of shock, a dash of uncertainty, and a whole lot of joy. We decided to break the news only to our immediate family to prepare them for what’s to come. My January was filled with excitement.
2. February – The First Ultrasound
I managed to wait an entire month before finally going to see a gynae in February. My early pregnancy didn’t come with much symptoms (and I was already on the required supplements), so I waited until the 10th week. When I finally went in for my first check-up and saw the ultrasound for the very first time; it then truly dawned on me that the life I knew was going to change forever. I laughed and I cried… and from that day, every visit to the gynae were the days I looked forward to because it was so incredible seeing the little one growing in my womb. In February, I fell in love.
3. March – The Second Trimester Begins in Lockdown
Malaysia’s Covid-19 lockdown began in March, as I entered my second trimester. Just before that, the fiance and I spent a lovely few days in Langkawi for our pre-wedding photography shoot; and enjoyed some sun, sand and sea (and as it came to be, it was our only trip in 2020 that I shall now call my babymoon). I had anticipated a different sort of pregnancy filled with short travels and people fussing over my growing belly — but I ended up spending my entire pregnancy at home. Away from family. Away from friends. It was extremely difficult, but I tried to see it as me needing the rest. And so, the isolation began in March.
4. April – Our Pregnancy Announcement
By April, the belly had begun to show — and it was so surreal watching it grow day by day, experiencing the excitement of every new milestone, and making it through the uncomfortable pains. The upside of being in lockdown was that I could take my time revealing my pregnancy, without making excuses. The downside however, was when I finally decided to tell my friends and the rest of the family… I couldn’t do it face to face. And so, we did it virtually. Messages, zoom, whatsapp, and well, social media. In April, we shared our joy online.
5. May – The Gender Reveal
The month of May was probably the most difficult month of my pregnancy — lots of discomfort, pain and sleepless nights. But everything was worth it because it was also the month that we found out our baby’s gender. We tried not wanting to know for a little while; but during our gynae visit in May, we finally decided to find out. And.. it’s a girl! I really wish we had the chance to do a gender reveal party — but since we were still in lockdown, we organised a group zoom session for our family and friends instead. So in May, everyone got to know about our baby girl.
6. June – Prepping the Arrival in the Third Trimester
I entered my third trimester in June; and the kicking, punching and tumbling of my growing baby had gotten frequent and vigorous, making my belly occasionally lopsided. I used all the free time I had to get ready for the arrival of my little girl –making baby-buy lists, shopping online for all the baby (and mummy) stuff, planning for the first-month confinement, and reading up on baby care. There was just so much to prepare! The Malaysian lockdown also ended in June, so we made a short day-trip out of the city; and I finally got to feel the exhaustion of moving around with a big belly. June was a month of learning.
7. July – A Marriage & A Baby Shower
Finally, a month where I had a bit more courage to meet friends and family again.. with a lot of precaution, of course. I didn’t want to put us at risk as we were still in the midst of pandemic. But in July, we had more things going on than any other month of the year! The fiance and I finally got to register our marriage (after the pandemic put it off for so many months) with only our families in attendance; and my wonderful friend Mei Ling threw me the most lovely baby shower with my closest friends. It was the ONLY time anyone got to see me with a bulging belly. July was for our loved ones.
8. August – She’s Here!
Come August, I returned to my hometown to get ready to welcome my little bundle of joy, as I was to deliver in Kuantan. We went back a few weeks before the due date so that I could meet my ‘new’ gynae. The hubs and I then spent the rest of the month enjoying our time in Kuantan — eating, chilling and visiting places. I guess it was a sort of honeymoon before the little one comes into our lives. And by the end of the month, we finally got to meet her. I delivered via c-section… the most beautiful baby in the world! We were completely smitten. In August, my life changed forever.
9. September – Getting to Know Her in Confinement
My entire September was in confinement. Our culture believes in a recovery period for the mother in the first month; so I spent the whole month being pampered, eating nutritious food with herbs and Chinese wine, bathing in herbal concoctions, and getting post-natal massages. I was under the care of my confinement lady; so that I could spend all my time caring for my newborn. My baby and I bonded during breastfeeding, we slept together, and we also cried together. September was a month of getting to know my little Ava.
10. October – Our Outings Begin
After heading back to Kuala Lumpur in early October; by mid-October, we were back in Kuantan again. Things didn’t go as planned because of a second stay-at-home order in Malaysia — and I figured I’d be better off in Kuantan with family than alone to care for the baby; plus, Kuantan wasn’t part of the lockdown. So while in Kuantan, we finally managed to bring Ava out for her first outing, to the beach! She had lots of fun by sleeping for most parts. It was nice that in October, we had a little bit of freedom and normalcy.
11. November – The First Staycation Together
I was slightly more confident to venture further with Ava by November. And since I was contacted by a few hotels and resorts for staycation reviews, I decided to give it a go with my little girl in tow. As it was our first staycation together, I didn’t want to go too far and chose a hotel in central Kuantan. I believe my little girl enjoyed her hotel stay — she made it a lovely experience for the hubs and I by being so easy to care for. Traveling is going to be extremely different from now on, and I’m glad that the first one wasn’t too difficult. And so Ava got her first taste of the travel life in November.
12. December – A 100 Days Old
And just like that, we’ve reached the last month of the year. My little Ava turned 100 days old in early December — and we had a mini celebration for her during another staycation in Kuantan. It was just cake and balloons, and family. It’s so wonderful watching her grow and reaching all her milestones… and I’m enjoying motherhood so so much. In a year where there was no travel, I had more than one reason to not travel. But now, I really can’t wait for the time when we can walk the world together! It’s the end of December, and I look forward to a new year with my little love.
The year 2020 is indeed a very unprecedented one. The pandemic, the stay-at-home orders, the travel ban, the change of lifestyle, the difficulties and challenges for so many people. We may not have been traveling physically, but for those that have been reading my posts and articles — I do hope that I have accompanied you for some virtual traveling, and helped you in making plans for future travels. Thanks for being a part of “She Walks the World” by following (and reminiscing) with me on my travels; and through this post, being a part of my motherhood journey as well.
Let’s hope that the year 2021 will be bring more good news, and that we may be able to go for travels and adventures, and walk the world again. Till then, I hope you are keeping safe.