• Nausea & Needles (or, Never Fly Pregnant…)

Published in Cheaper Than Therapy, edited by Annie Modesitt

I was five months pregnant with my third child when I boarded the first of many flights I would take over the next several days. My two boys and I were flying to Montreal, where I was leaving the Merry Men with my mom while I traveled with a friend through Scotland. Contemplating hours of uninterrupted reading on the flight to Scotland made me giddy with delight. With a third baby on the way and a new house purchase looming, this was to be my last big trip for a while.

We had traveled to Scotland several times, always with children, never with any problems. However, I had overlooked one tiny detail: I had never flown while pregnant. Each pregnancy is different — the level of motion sickness associated with this one was quite unexpected, and something I never care to experience again!

Let’s just say I spent a lot of time cramming my pregnant belly and two small children — who would not remain alone in their seats — into the tiny bathroom. A learning experience! Children, this is how you spell, “Occupied.” I was not the most popular traveler on either of our two flights that day.

Upon arrival in Montreal, my mom whisked us away in a vain attempt to discover some sort of miracle air-and-morning-sickness-cure. I was scheduled on two more flights over the following two days — Scotland or Bust! How dumb am I?

In the midst of my in-flight suffering, the only fellow passenger who comforted me during the long, horrid hours of bonding with one air-sickness bag after another, was a woman who knit — a lot.

A kind Scottish woman and her husband, on their way home from holiday, got stuck next to the sick pregnant blonde who looked like death warmed over. I assumed that, like everyone else on each previous flight, they would try their best to ignore me and hope the flight ended quickly so that they could put as much distance between themselves and me as humanly possible.

Amazingly, this woman sat down next to me, said that I looked like I wasn’t feeling well, and asked when the baby was due. Then she asked me if I knit. At the time, I didn’t. She proceeded to show me, thereby literally changing my life.

Her project was the popular, portable sock. After four nausea-filled flights, all of my concentration was initially focused on simply remaining upright; but as she knit on, her hands smoothly fashioning row after row of what I now know is stockinette stitch, I forgot about the nausea.

For the first time in four days I wasn’t completely engulfed in worry about the baby or obsessed with guilt for taking this trip in the first place. My Scottish friend’s hands were efficient, fluid; the repetitive motion calmed me. Watching the colors change as she worked held me rapt for the entire flight.

Almost three years (and yet another baby) later, I am a full-fledged knitter. Nothing soothes, calms, and challenges me like knitting. I have been delighted to discover a creative side of me that I had not realized I possessed. In the frenzy of raising four little boys, knitting provides fulfillment that I can not fittingly describe. Taking the time for myself, even if it’s only a few minutes a day, provides a balance that I had not previously been able to achieve — balance that is necessary to maintain a level of functional sanity.

All of the nausea was worth it, just to sit with the sympathetic Scottish woman and her sock.


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