The nine-month gestation period is a time to face the fears one has about raising children. As a woman who loves the outdoors, I had my own set of fears. What activities can I safely do while pregnant? Am I going to tip the canoe with this belly? How many years will pass before I see the high county again? What if I take my new baby into the great outdoors and she gets hurt?
My fear of tipping the canoe was so strong that I spent an evening and morning sitting on the shore watching Steve fish for sockeye. Finally, I realized that as long as the wind stayed calm and I could fit in a life jacket, there would be no danger. So, at 39 weeks, I joined Steve for a sunrise fishing trip. We didn’t catch anything, but I got to enjoy the sunrise paddle I had always dreamed of but had never gotten out of bed to pursue.
Just a few days before my due date, I spent hours on the river bank watching my nieces and nephews play in the water. When they walked up stream and floated down on inner tubes, I hopped in with them. There was snake catching and dam building and rock skipping. These are the simple adventures of childhood and as I watched my nieces and nephews, I dreamed of the day when my little girl would get to experience all these joys for the first time.
So what if it takes a few years before I’m going on multi-day backpacking trips in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness? I get to relive the adventure of childhood.Some day my little girl will want to climb mountains and run whitewater. I hope I’ll be able to join her, but for now we can catch frogs.
As for the fear of harm coming to my baby, I know that will be an ongoing struggle. I will wrestle every day with the desire to let her play freely in nature and the desire to protect her. Still, I am thrilled to begin the adventure of life with her.