Holy Baby Bump - Pregnancy travel in India

Nikola, A Sydney mother discovers the spiritual highs and bone-shaking lows of pregnancy travel in India during her first pregnancy.

I hadn’t planned on being pregnant when my partner and I boarded a plane to Mumbai. We’d discovered I was pregnant just four days earlier, too late to change our plans to spend a month travelling through India with a group of fellow yoga teachers. We decided to keep the pregnancy a secret - at only 8 weeks, it wasn’t too hard to hide the baby bump.

Our first stop was an ashram on the hot, dry plains of rural Maharashtra. We settled into our spartan rooms and fell in with the daily routine of yoga, chanting and napping. One morning at breakfast, feasting on local bananas in the shade of a banyan tree, my friend Danny announced “I had a really vivid dream last night that you were pregnant.” The look on my face gave me away immediately! It was a relief to spill the beans and my confession opened the door to some extraordinary experiences.

Word of my pregnancy preceded me when, later that week, we visited a Holy man in nearby Pune. He singled me out from the group and solemnly blessed my baby, reciting a prayer and gently laying his hand on my belly. One of his female followers shared some local pre-natal wisdom with me. “You must eat pomegranates,” she enthused. “They are good for baby, build healthy blood!” She brought me a pomegranate every day, filled with sweet, glistening ruby-red seeds. When we left Maharashtra to journey north, she brought me a whole crate to munch on the overnight train from Mumbai to Delhi.

The train journey to Delhi was fairly smooth, but I soon discovered that road transport in India is a bumpy experience. Thundering along unsealed roads in a bus with no suspension made the trip to Dehradun in the Himalayan foothills extremely uncomfortable. I rolled up blankets, wedging them around the seat to cushion myself from the worst of the impact. Bouncing through the Delhi suburbs, we were exposed to the other baby-unfriendly hazard of road travel in India - air pollution. Things have improved since the motor rickshaws converted to clean energy, but on cloudy days a cocktail of lethal chemicals still hovers in the air.

After 7 hours on the road, we arrived at a Buddhist monastery in Dehradun, 240km northeast of Delhi.

Sitting on a cold but sunny terrace, surrounded by snowy Himalayan peaks, my baby and I received heart-felt blessings from Rinpoche, the master teacher. My partner joked that after all the attention from spiritual teachers, our baby was sure to be a little angel! She certainly enjoyed an auspicious start to life, but the real blessing of India lay beyond the ministrations of the holy men. It was the deep connection of trust that developed between my daughter and I, born out of the challenges and joys of our shared adventure. Ruby is 6 years old now and loves to look at photos of our India trip. She’s planning to go back one day to revisit the friends she made during that precious, blessed time.

Nikola Ellis is a writer, yoga teacher and founder of Adore Yoga. She lives with her partner and two children in Seaforth, NSW. www.adoreyoga.com

What an amazing experience Nikola, make sure you stop by to fill us in when you do take Ruby back to India - TWT