Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas
While on a babymoon in Hawaii, Jolivette says, she felt like the only pregnant woman walking around in a bikini.
While on a babymoon in Hawaii, Jolivette says, she felt like the only pregnant woman walking around in a bikini. Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas
We're on vacation in Hawaii, mostly to attend a friend's wedding, but also for a "babymoon" — that last trip expectant parents take together as a couple before baby arrives and changes your whole idea of "vacation" forever.
I lived in Honolulu while attending the University of Hawai'i as a graduate student, and Oahu was clearly a big babymoon destination. But now that I'm visiting, it seems like I'm the only pregnant lady walking around North Shore in a bikini. At first I was self-conscious; I haven't worn a bikini since I was 23 years old (forget about a modest one-piece if you want to go swimming at eight months pregnant!).
I'm also still trying to get used to this body: the taut belly and the "pendulous" B-cup breasts — a welcomed growth spurt for this lifelong A-cup girl.
Jolivette Mecenas, 38, lives with her partner, Charlyne, in Los Angeles. The two welcomed their first child, Maximilian Dominic Mecenas-Sarmiento, on Aug. 17.
But these and more pressing worries dissipate when I bob up and down in the Pacific, weightless in the clear, temperate water. Of course I have worries about my pregnancy, but the ocean puts everything into perspective, and makes me look like the Cheshire Cat for the rest of the day. So while on vacation, I'll allow myself to (slightly) worry about just two things: what I eat, and what we'll name the baby.
Even though I try not to mind unsolicited comments from people about my body, I can't ignore observations from mostly older "veteran" moms that I'm "not very big." These harmless comments feed an anxiety that I'm not nourishing this kid properly, despite the box of organic, farm-fresh vegetables that arrives on our porch every other week; despite the fact that I'm as sober as my 14-year-old, pre-teenage drinker self; despite my doctor's order that I don't put on too much weight on my 5'2" frame.
At my last appointment, the doctor told us not to eat anything white. "That means no white rice," she added (subtext: Hey Asians! Lay off the white rice!). No problem, I thought. We've been eating brown rice since forever, anyways. And then we arrived in Hawaii.
Less than an hour off the plane, and I'm eating a hamburger plate lunch with mac salad and two scoops of white rice from Rainbow Drive-In in Waikiki. The next morning, I eat the "onolicious breakfast": eggs, corned beef hash, white rice (btw, to the reader who was concerned that we don't know what "ono" means in Hawaiian: of course we knew we were naming our dog "delicious"!).
Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas
Chowing down in Hawaii Courtesy of Jolivette Mecenas
In North Shore, we hit up Giovanni's shrimp truck in Kahuku — hot and spicy shrimp, two scoops of white rice (pictured). This baby is Asian and Polynesian, and he's going to appreciate at least a little white rice in utero. I am, however, refraining from my favorite: spicy ahi tuna poke, which are raw balls of mercury poisoning slathered in hot mayo — unfortunately, a big pregnancy no-no.
In between noshing and swimming, I'm reading The Commitment, a memoir by sex advice columnist Dan Savage, who describes how he and his boyfriend wrestled with the idea of marriage after 10 years of a committed relationship, and while raising their son, whom they adopted at birth.
Although the heart of the book is about how the gay marriage debate personally affects their family, I'm drawn to when he writes about their relationship with their 6-year-old son. Savage and his partner did an open adoption with a known birth mother, and I found Charlyne and I had similar questions, especially surrounding the baby's name. Do we hyphenate our last names on the baby's birth certificate? If yes, will he resent us while learning to spell his last name in kindergarten? Spelling "Mecenas-Sarmiento" is a lot to ask of a 5-year-old.
And what about the future, when he gets married? If he gets married to a feminist who wants to hyphenate their names, will they have a triple hyphenated name? If he gets married to a non-gender specific person who also was gifted with a hyphenated name, do they end up with a quadruple hyphenated name? Or will our son choose to drop one of his last names, and whose will it be, and will this reflect which of his moms he loves more?
This is a trivial issue to worry about, I understand, but it seems a heck of a whole lot more manageable than worrying about the possibility of a complicated delivery. Or worrying about protecting our son from the negative, narrow-minded people in the world who have no problem throwing skepticism, criticism and their religious views our way, even before he is born.