Feeling your baby’s first kick is one of the most beautiful moments in life. Now imagine swimming in an underground cave in the gorgeous Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico and feeling your baby’s first kick. Sounds surreal, doesn’t it?
That’s exactly how Anindita Chatterjee felt her baby’s first kick. The travel content creator was swimming in a cenote (a natural sinkhole) in Mexico during her 45-day-long babymoon and was enthralled to feel her little one enjoying the swim as much as her!
Pregnancy brings with it a host of dos and don’ts which include a lot of myths, like how pregnant women shouldn’t travel. And shattering these myths and living her best life is 41-year-old Anindita, who travelled to four countries during her pregnancy and has now already taken her one-year-old daughter to 10 countries.
To date, Anindita has travelled to 78 countries in total.
She says, “I love travelling, so why should my pregnancy be any different? I got pregnant at 40 and wanted to ensure that it was epic!”
“After my doctor gave me permission to travel, I planned a complete 45-day babymoon to Colombia, Mexico, Aruba and Curacao. I floated in a mud volcano in Colombia, snorkelled, walked almost 10 kilometres daily, hiked and did everything that I wanted to do,” says Mumbai-based Anindita to The Better India.
She adds that usually when women get pregnant at 40, there are a lot of preconceived notions.
“There are a lot of myths associated with late pregnancy. In my case, I really enjoyed it. I achieved a lot of what I wanted to do before I got pregnant. I worked for 17 years in a corporate leadership role. I travelled to 68 countries before my pregnancy. And now, I am enjoying life with the baby. Of course, there are advantages in getting pregnant earlier too, but this also has its own perks,” she shares.
‘Don’t give up on your dreams’
“Don’t give up on your passion because you’re pregnant or had a baby. Don’t lose your identity. I love travelling, so I travel and take my daughter with me. I want her to adapt to my lifestyle, instead of me adapting to hers. Only if I follow my dreams will she follow hers when she grows up,” says the content creator.
Anindita’s passion for travel was instilled in her by her parents. They took her on trips across the country since she was young. After growing up and starting to work, she continued to travel.
“I travelled extensively with a full-time job for 17 years. I would plan my trips as soon as the holiday calendar was released at the beginning of the year. Of course, in my 20s I didn’t have the money to travel abroad. So at first, I started going on short trips in Maharashtra itself, and as I grew up, I started travelling abroad. It’s all about smart planning,” she says.
She started her Instagram account @travel.chatter in 2017 and quit her job in 2020 to become a full-time travel content creator.
Anindita explored a lot of exotic/off-beat destinations solo — like the Amazon forest, Patagonia, underground bunkers in Ukraine, the waterfalls in Costa Rica, and riding a two-wheeler along the coast of Portugal.
Naturally, this penchant for travelling continued after she became a mother. She started travelling with her baby, Kiara, when she was two months old and took her to Kerala and Goa. When she was six months old, Anindita took her on her first international trip to the Canary Islands in Spain.
Raising a happy, social baby
Today, baby Kiara has already travelled to 10 countries at the age of one. Since Anindita’s husband has a full-time job, 80 per cent of these trips have been just mother-daughter.
“Kiara did have a rough time on her first flight. But now, she’s such a happy, friendly and active baby. She loves meeting new people and says ‘hi’ to everyone. She’s adaptable and manages so many flight and hotel changes,” says the proud mother.
Anindita says that new parents must embrace slow travel and be flexible.
“I do a lot of research before choosing a destination and plan everything in advance. It’s easier booking an Airbnb as you can cook meals for your toddler and even sterilise their bottles. While planning is important, you can’t have a full checklist of things to do, so I try not to have an overpacked schedule. You have to decide the day according to your child’s mood, do whatever is possible, and enjoy that,” she adds.
She says that it’s also important to choose some sightseeing places which will interest the child and visually stimulate them. Anindita took Kiara to the Museum of Ice Cream in New York and both of them had a blast!
Some tips from Anindita for parents:
- Rent a car so that you can be flexible and carry the baby’s things.
- Wear a baby carrier/have a stroller on you.
- Make sure that you have a list of the nearest hospitals and doctors.
- Be in touch with your paediatrician, and carry a pack of emergency medicines.
- Take non-stop flights if possible.
- Try to match the flight timing with your baby’s sleep schedule.
- Keep your baby engaged, and explain everything to them.
‘Living my best life’
Anindita feels that she is much more content after becoming a mother. But, she says one of the biggest problems most moms face is ‘log kya kahenge’ (What will people say).
“People will tell you, ‘Oh, don’t travel with the baby’, but it’s your choice. The moment you take too much advice, life goes for a toss. I’ve started living in the moment to enjoy a carefree and happier life,” says the 41-year-old.
“I get so many messages from moms saying that we feel happy watching your videos. I feel glad even if I’m able to inspire one mom to take care of herself! You only have one life to live; don’t waste it worrying about what others say. Just pay heed to your partner, husband and in-laws. There is a time when you have to draw a line and figure out what is making you happy,” she adds.
Such an attitude makes the mother, and consequently, her daughter happy.
Anindita is now waiting for her visa to spend the new year in Israel.
“This is probably the best life I’m living. Earlier, I used to think that motherhood is overrated. But trust me, you don’t know what it is till it hits you. I’m happier and more content thanks to my baby. I want to create more memories and seize every moment with Kiara,” she concludes.
(Get a go-ahead from your gynaecologist before travelling when you’re pregnant.)
Edited by Pranita Bhat, Images Courtesy Anindita Chatterjee