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The Babymoon...Is it Worth It?

From Wikipedia: A babymoon is a period of time that parents spend bonding with a recently-born baby. More recently the term has come to be used to describe a vacation taken by a couple that is expecting a baby in order to allow the couple to enjoy a final trip together before the many sleepless nights that usually accompany a newborn baby. Babymoons usually take place at a resort that offers appropriate services like prenatal massage.

Much like the “Push Present” (more on that one later) the Babymoon has become a symbol of the privileged pregnancy. There can be a lot of pressure for expecting parents to spend time together, travel, relax…WHILE YOU STILL CAN.  But resort vacations don’t grow on trees. Well, you know what I mean. And vacation days aren’t exactly an unlimited resource for most of us, either. And is a romantic vacation really a romantic vacation when you’re feeling like a beached whale on the beach?

When I was pregnant with my son, we went to a fabulous, fancy resort in Anguilla. I almost puked on the ferry on the way there (nothing like inhaling gasoline on rocky waters to ratchet up that inborn tendency toward seasickness…while pregnant). But after that, it was friggin’ awesome. We did just about nothing the entire time but loll around and play gin rummy. I discovered that virgin pina coladas are really just as delicious as rum ones. We sat on the beach and read books about baby names while watching the sun set over the Caribbean. I’m pretty sure we even touched each other once or twice.  I was five and a half months along — the peak of pregnancy cuteness. Okay, I missed the rum a little, but all in all, it was a pretty perfect holiday.

The second time around, we kept meaning to plan a vacation but never got around to it. Our son was needy, our jobs were busy, and I was 37 weeks pregnant before we finally coordinated a time when the grandparents could watch our kids while we zipped out to the beach…for a weekend, in Long Island, in October.  We got there just in time for dinner and got back to the hotel, where I started having contractions, which I continued to have, every 5 minutes, all night long. I spent the night forcing my husband to time them on his phone and imagining being airlifted out of Montauk while in active labor.

That didn’t happen. It turns out I’m just one of those lucky ladies who has contractions 5 minutes apart for most of her last month of pregnancy (except when she’s actually in labor, in which case the contractions screech to a grinding halt after the water has broken, but I digress). In any case,  I was far too anxious to enjoy anything else that weekend. We packed up at 8 a.m. and headed back to civilization. The babymoon was a big FAIL.

So there you have it, two extremes of the babymoon experience. I think I’d still tell people to take a trip together IF it’s not going to cause a lot of financial or circumstantial stress, just because I think getting away into a new and pleasant environment is one of the greatest things you can do together as a couple. But I’d also say you need to not put too much pressure on yourself to have a fantabulous time, because it’s possible that you won’t. And if you’re all hyped up on LAST CHANCE anxiety, the chances of you having a sucky time because you’re not having a perfect time are that much higher.

Here are some things that I think can help increase your chances of babymoon happiness:

1.Don’t take so much time off that you feel like it will pressure you to miss time with the baby after birth. Yeah, it might be a long time before you get to laze in the tropical sunshine alone together again. But the sun will still be there when your babies get bigger, and the newborn time is finite.

2. Go somewhere where you’re confident you can get good health care if you need it.

3. Travel at a time in pregnancy when you’re feeling good, not sick or large to the point of immobility.

4. Go somewhere where you can spend large quantities of time immersed in warm water. Trust me.

5. Go somewhere you can get a massage from someone other than your husband.  Trust me on this, too.


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