Depending on American Comforts: Camping while Pregnant

This past weekend, we celebrated the birth of our nation.  We earned our independence from Britain.  America is known for being the land of the independent and free.  Truthfully, as I’ve stated before, we are really just bound to other ideologies or objects.  We are rarely oppressed by our government (although this might change drastically soon).  Instead, we are captive to our need for comfort in this culture.  Sadly, I have grown accustomed to these comforts.  I experienced how dependent I am on American luxuries this past weekend.  In it, I also learned some recommendations for 3rd trimester pregnant women who decide to live as recklessly as I do.

First, it is probably not best to camp when you are 34 weeks pregnant, at least not tent camp.  However, I enjoy camping.  I like to fit an annual camping trip into my summer schedule.  I did not see pregnancy as a limitation.  After enduring my grumpiness, my husband wanted to put a restriction on camping while I’m so far along in pregnancy.  Apparently, he does not want to camp when I’m in my third trimester again.  I told him that if I happen to be pregnant in the summer again, I need to do the annual camping trip.  We’ll see if we are blessed with more children through pregnancy and address that issue at the time, should it arise again.

Our air mattress sprung a leak.  We aren’t sure how it happened.  We’ve had it for nearly 5 years.  The last time we used it was for a friend when she and her children came to visit us.  They jumped on it, even after being asked not to, and our dog climbed on it.  Either kid flops or dog nails killed our beloved sleeping aid.  ALWAYS check your air mattress before going camping, especially if you are in the late stages of your pregnancy.  When you are sleeping on the ground at 34 weeks pregnant, you won’t sleep at all.  Now, sleep tends to be foreign at this stage anyways, but you will get even less than the occasional hour long sleep increment if you spend the night on a hard, stick laden surface.  I missed our air mattress dearly.

[I was mocked for wanting an air mattress while camping.  People told me, “Wow, you sure are roughing it.”  Now, I like tent camping.  I do not enjoy sleeping on the ground.  My back aches afterwards.  Most girls I know don’t want to camp, let alone 34 week pregnant women!  To these naysayers I responded with, “I’m 34 weeks pregnant and camping! Leave me be!”  Yup, I used the pregnancy card a lot.  As a “good” Christian girl maybe I shouldn’t.  As an American, I felt/feel the need to state my place and be given merit for “work”.]

We also had fans.  I searched endlessly for an air conditioner that could be fitted to a tent.  Yup, pregnancy card again.  Needless to say, I did not find that A/C.  When our fan started to go out (the batteries were dying), I was stuck with humid air.  I do not enjoy heat to begin with (I prefer colder months and weather).  When my fan lost most of its cooling power, I whimpered.  My summer heat relief was failing me!  We had two fans but only turned one on.  We had extra batteries, but didn’t replace the ones in the dying fan.  So my advice?  Replace the batteries when you notice the fan isn’t at optimal cooling strength.  Also, if you have two fans, use both!  A baby in your uterus acts like a furnace.  Keep cool by being smart about your fan usage.

I grew up in suburban areas, but being more affluent, I resided on private, non-traffic ridden streets.  The campground I chose was great as it was close to the beach but was really wooded.  (I maximized my summer bucket list items by putting our annual beach and annual camping trip into the same weekend.)  Unfortunately, the State Park was close to the highway.  While wooded and serene, I could hear highway traffic.  It was Independence Day weekend near the Jersey shore.  Street traffic was noisy.  It made it more difficult for me to fall asleep.  Ah, pregnancy insomnia that was perpetuated by roads.

On our last night, Willow, my darling 15 month old, slept poorly.  (FYI, teething is the bane of most parents’ existence.)  I haven’t night nursed in about 1-2 months.  She nursed and slept in our bed.  (We bed-shared until she was around 13 months old.  Toddlers don’t understand the concept of staying in their sleeping space.)  Along with being shoved to another part of the floor (remember our air mattress deflated), there was a party on the other side of the campground.  The noise was on the other side of the campground and quiet hours start at 10 pm.  It was 3 am.  The noise had been consistent for about 1-3 hours.  I was a hot and sore pregnant lady.  Yes, I filed a noise complaint.  I’m not as tolerant for loud noise at night when I’m trying to rest or have my baby remain sleeping.  FYI, NEVER wake a sleeping baby.  You will either ensue the wrath of the sleep deprived parent or the crankiness of a roused child.

Anyways, as you can see, I have grown accustomed to needing an air mattress, fan, and quiet when sleeping.  I know there have been many pregnant women before me.  These pregnant women don’t or didn’t have air beds (many women in 3rd world countries do not have this luxury), must endure heat without the relief of air conditioners or fans, and/or must endure threats of gunshots interrupting their sleep.  I’m not as strong as those women.  I know I shouldn’t compare myself.  I have my own struggles and enjoying these comforts aren’t wrong if I hold them in their proper priority and don’t appreciate them more than God or allow them to increase my apathy towards those who are living life without these creature comforts.

May I always be keenly aware of my camping privileges, elite as they are.  Hopefully you gleaned valuable information from this post in regards to camping while pregnant in America.  I know I learned that I still have strides to make in living a complaint free life.  (I would like to hear from pregnant women in the Bible regarding contentment and stillness.  I just simply can’t relate to Paul.  Sadly, this is a mystery and I must continue to submit myself to God.)

Please join me in prayer.  Pray that I would always seek to glorify him in my life, knowing he brings more comfort and peace to a cranky pregnant woman than the items mentioned above.  In this, may others be drawn to curiosity and inquire about Christ as I live in a manner contrary to American relaxation and luxury.  Pray I might live this more fully and outwardly.


2 Replies to “Depending on American Comforts: Camping while Pregnant”

  1. It’s funny, when you were planning the camping trip, I never once thought about the fact that you are pregnant and camping. I do give you credit for that, now that I’m thinking about it! But I know how much you enjoy camping, so it just seemed natural to me that you would go. I’m sorry you had such a rough time sleeping. I hope that didn’t put a damper on the whole weekend.

  2. Thanks. Yeah, it was difficult, but I’d do it again. I don’t think Frank wants to. I was just really tired and a bit grouchy since I was sleep deprived. Other than being a little more cranky, I enjoyed myself immensely. It was also fun to see Frank actually enjoying the beach since we have Willow. She has him wrapped around her adorable little fingers. He’d do anything for her, which makes me love him even more.

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