Life has changed a whole lot for me during these last 5 months… mostly due to this whole pregnancy thing that I’ve got going on.

While being pregnant presents a lifestyle change for women everywhere, living on an island adds a few unique quirks that I’ve also been adjusting to. Let me just say, it’s been quite the journey already!

The first major change has been not drinking alcohol in the Land of Free-Flowing Rum. And yet, surprisingly, this hasn’t been the struggle I thought it was going to be. In fact, it can be pretty humorous at times observing the scene as the only sober person in the bar. Have you ever been to the Willy T sober? Not many of us can say that we have. Fun fact: even if you pay full price for four Shotski shots and simply ask for one of them to be filled with water for the pregnant lady, the bartender will NOT do it. You MUST shoot alcohol from the Shotski – no exceptions. And so, I had to sit that one out.

While I do like my wine and cocktails, it’s been nice to discover that I can actually manage to have some fun without a good buzz going. Now that I’ve confirmed that I’m officially not an alcoholic (yay!), I can enjoy basking in the world of sobriety for a few more months. Hidden benefits from the Sober World: I don’t have to wonder if I’m okay to drive; I don’t have to worry about whatever offensive thing I said the night before; and I don’t have to deal with a hangover! (Though it should be noted that for about 3-4 weeks during my 1st trimester, I did feel like I was walking around with a minor hangover all day, so I technically haven’t avoided this entirely…)

sober card

Beyond giving up alcohol, bathing suits have been another mental shift for me. In fact, bathing suits were the first thing this baby mama bought upon finding out that she was pregnant; but not because of my belly – because of my boobs! I now have them (double yay!), and they’re pretty great. It’s safe to say that I’ve been waiting for this moment since I was 14.

I first realized that I had a serious problem on my hands when I accidentally exposed myself to my best friend in my pre-pregnancy bikini top. So I marched right over to the nearest surf shop to try on some swimsuits. For the love of God, could retailers start putting softer lighting in dressing rooms???!!! Nothing, and I mean nothing can break a pregnant woman more than having to try on bikinis in a dressing room blazing with fluorescent white lights. Don’t they know that we would buy more if we were given a more flattering reflection? I almost had to abort (poor choice of words here?) this mission, but I was too desperate. Thankfully, when I got home and tried on my new purchase, things were much better covered.

Good thing, because we recently got a boat (which I refer to as our “first baby” or my husband’s “mistress” – I could write an entire post on this topic this alone), and we are out on the water every weekend. That means that there is no avoiding this baby belly getting seen in all its glory. I can’t avoid taking it all in, and…neither can anyone else. It’s out there for the world to see, and it’s only going to get bigger and bigger. It’s also getting inexplicably whiter and whiter, which I still can’t seem to figure out. And my belly button, unable to withstand the pressure any longer, unabashedly popped right out at 4 months. I think it has a freckle on it.

I have to say that I feel very fortunate to be spending my pregnancy on a rock though. Living in the islands means that I can get away with wearing some wonderfully comfy clothes like sundresses, maxi dresses, and flat sandals. I don’t have to squeeze into work pants and high heels anymore, and that is by far the biggest gift that a pregnant woman could ask for!

ripe mango

The most common question I keep getting asked is if I’m going to have the baby here in St. Thomas or if I’m planning to travel off island for the birth. Almost everyone I know has asked me this and the answer is, yes, without a doubt. Unless something major goes wrong, I plan on having our baby in St. Thomas and taking our little bundle of joy straight home with us as soon as possible. If you ask anyone (and I mean anyone) that lives here, they all say the same thing – birthing babies is what they do best here. After all, Islanders LOVE nothing more than a “ripe mango” (aka a pregnant woman) and a newborn baby. To them, it’s the best thing in life to have a baby of your own. And thus, they have a lot of them. I’m reassured by this fact and have no hesitation about this what-so-ever.

So my island pregnancy continues. As my belly grows and this little tyke kicks around in there, we are busy getting our house ready and registering for baby items. This is, by far, the most exciting time in my life, and I could not be more thankful to be enjoying this truly amazing experience here in our Caribbean home.

–  –  –

Ok, island mamas – what were some surprising changes you encountered in your life when pregnant on your rock? Any handy advice for this island mama to-be?

Written By:

Christine O'Neil

Current Rock of Residence:

St. Thomas, USVI

Island Girl Since:

2011

Originally Hails From:

Chicago

Christine moved to St. Thomas in May of 2011 after years of being encouraged to give up her corporate life in the city of Chicago by her then boyfriend, now husband. Upon experiencing this whirlwind of change, she discovered that the sunny life of an island girl was healthier, happier, and simpler than the old hustle and bustle of the stateside world she once knew. Although the islands prove to be an often backwards and sometimes puzzling place to live, Christine has learned to laugh about how silly life can truly be down here. She now appreciates the islands for what they are and tries to balance the nonsensical aspects of rock life by enjoying the many outdoor activities the islands have to offer such as golfing, running, paddleboarding, boating, and windsurfing. You can read more about Christine’s experiences on her personal blog, Taking the Plunge.

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