Two years before getting pregnant I started surfing. I got so passionate about it, I surfed almost every day. As soon as I got more confident at it, I was off to new surf spots, reef breaks and big swells. I even wrote ¨Let´s go big waves!¨ on the back of my long board.
And I was really all for the big waves. I´d drop anything to surf a swell (a swell is when we have bigger waves hitting the coast and it may last from 1 to 4 days, more or less). I had fun with my wipe outs too. I really loved it when it was huge and I could feel my whole body do a summer salt underwater – COOL.
Then I got pregnant, which made me surf more carefully. I still had a go once when I was 6 months pregnant.
But surely too, after having Luísa, I became such a wuss. I no longer went for the bigger waves, I no longer had fun with my wipe outs, I was more scared and getting hit by my board more often (because in surfing, hesitating is the biggest cause of injures with your own board). I no longer went for just any size of wave.
I heard before from other women that they start driving more carefully when they become moms, that we do everything differently, more cautiously.
This was clearer to me when I had the chance to surf in Pavones, the second longest wave in the world, located on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. I rented a board and went for it. It wasn´t a big day (or I wouldn´t have even tried it), but the waves were way faster than what I was used to and the rocky shallow bottom made me think too much. Plus, my rental board was a huge piece of junk and it would take me a few wipe outs to get used to it. So I pondered on the hypothesis of getting a minor injure, an aching foot or something and then I´d had to deal with ataking care of my girl in a foreign land.
I imagined that I could screw up our trip by getting hurt.
So that´s how I passed on my chance to surf the second longest wave in the world. I gave up on it and I felt like I was doing the right thing by just floating there in that stunning scenery, without going for ANY wave. Single moms must be more scared of dangers anyway.
It´s more than getting hurt, it´s knowing you are the only one for your kid, at least while traveling. Another single mom I know also commented on how sometimes she would imagine how it would suck if she got stung by a sting ray at the beach. I think we all wonder about imaginary and real stuff that could happen, like getting sick (where I am in Costa Rica, there´s a lot of dengue fever going around, but I decided to quit thinking about this).
We wonder how our kids would be in trouble: because they would.
I don´t know, I guess if things sucked so bad at some point, the right person to help would show up from an unexpected place. A new friend, someone working at the hotel you are staying, paid help, something not planned and that still solved the situation.
But even though I trust that everything will be fine, I still get scared. Even as I went on a short trip a while ago, I had a car ride for the first three hours and I thought the driver was going too fast for my taste. I just can´t take this kind of risk, being on a road on a fast car, for instance.
Of course, there isn´t a risk-free life. So the way out is to be careful, but not paranoid, and forget about tragic thoughts, they are poisonous.
For my surfing fears, it was about surfing more, and getting more confident at it. That’s what happened after my surf trip to Nicaragua. I might be ready for the longest wave in the world, if I ever have the opportunity.
For my driving fears, I really want to be the less possible in a car. When I went car-free a bit more than a year ago, (check the link for a picture of my beautiful former surfmobile) I didn´t know that I´d start feeling much safer walking and biking, I drastically reduced my chances of being in a car accident, especially of causing someone else to be hurt. Driving well is not enough, we know this.
This means living in small towns where I can get by on a bicycle, which is something I already do anyway. I guess for urban people, quitting the habit of driving, just like quitting smoking is harder or even impossible to conceive and execute.
Funny enough, I was car-free before getting pregnant and then I thought that by having a baby, I needed a car. What was I afraid then? It was comfortable indeed to have it (except for the hundred times I had it break down), but besides being unsafe, it was expensive as hell to maintain it.