Romance Before Your Bundle of Joy Arrives -- Not a Honeymoon...A Babymoon!
Top 10 Tips for Babymoons
Dear April Masini,
I just found out I'm pregnant and my husband and I are so excited! However, we know that our lives are going to change a lot after we have the baby and we want to enjoy life and each other as much as we can before then. Do you have any advice on what we could do in the next nine months before we bring our little bundle of joy home?"
Sincerely, Expecting Parents
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Expecting Parents,
I have a perfect idea for you! A babymoon.
A babymoon is a relatively new phenomenon; it's like a honeymoon, but taken, presumably, after a couple is married, and before the birth of their first baby, while she is pregnant. The babymoon is a time to celebrate the last days of pregnancy before the child is born, and the last days of the new family being two instead of three. While it may seem frivolous to many people who never had a babymoon, the psychological benefit of a babymoon -- is exponential.
For one thing, the babymoon allows a couple to acknowledge that their relationship is changing. Forever. They will never be just the two of them again. Acknowledging this fact allows couples to reaffirm their desire to become parents and a family together. It helps them let go of their past as solely a couple – and in some cases this will normally involve a little grieving. Having feelings is one thing. Not expressing them or acknowledging them is another. Having them and expressing them is the purpose of the babymoon. Acknowledging these feelings helps prepare the couple, psychologically, for changes. When parents-to-be don't acknowledge these changes, they can become susceptible to depression and disappointment.
Create a ritual.
Once the baby comes, it's hard to remember what it was like as a romantic couple, for many people. Celebrating coupledom before the baby comes, gives couples something to strive for after their baby is born – whether it’s a weekend away, just the two of them, at an agreed upon date (whether it's three months, or three years from the baby's birth) or an extravagant week on a cruise when the baby is old enough to stay with caregivers. The babymoon gives a couple a ritual to look forward to in the years together as a family. When things change, as they do with a new baby, having this ritual to look forward to can be like Christmas to a child. Only this ritual is the celebration of the couple that started the family, and their two-ness.
Create and strengthen the backbone of the family.
Things change when children are born. And when children grow, relationships and dynamics within a family change. For the first year the mother and child have an intimacy that is unrivaled. Husbands often feel left out. This changes, as children bond with their fathers at certain ages more than their mothers, etc. At these times, the mother may feel left out. In-laws can be helpful or meddlesome and can create rifts in the family, as can adult siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Weather, finances, and career changes, as well as health and moving can all impact the health and well-being of the family. But when the couple that started the family find that they have intimacy, love, and a communication channel that is open, as well as respect and admiration for each other, they can weather anything. A babymoon helps strengthen this dynamic in a family. The bottom line is that the parents are the backbone of the family, and to take care of the couple is to take care of the entire family – both nuclear and extended. This kind of babymoon is a reminder and a dedication to that value of family.
Mini-babymoons with subsequent children echo the original babymoon.
When parents decide to have a second or third or fourth child, it is harder to get a babymoon, but just as important – if not more so! Recruiting relatives and child-care facilitators to man the fort while the husband and pregnant wife get away for a weekend or a week can be a real lifesaver, and a great way to rejuvenate for the impending birth of baby number two, three, or four!
Top 10 tips for babymoons:
1. Acknowledge feelings regardless of what they are.
2. Express feelings to your spouse without judgement.
3. Listen. Learn to listen without necessarily responding. This is harder than it sounds.
4. Make yourselves, as a couple, a priority.
5. "Calendar" the time for a babymoon well in advance. If it's planned, it's more likely to happen.
6. If your pregnancy is complicated, stay in town for your babymoon. A luxury hotel or a local beach or mountain resort, within reach of medical facilities, works just as well as an out of state babymoon.
7. Many husbands give birthing gifts to their wives after they have the baby. A nice change is presenting a piece of jewelry as a gift to your wife, during this babymoon. Think necklaces, bracelets and any other item that does not have to go around swollen fingers. Rings will be taken off until end of pregnancy swelling goes down.
8. Don't pressure her into a sexual escapade like your honeymoon. This is not the time or place to give her the sexy lingerie you hoped she'd wear on your honeymoon. Pregnancy sex is different than honeymoon sex. Honor that.
9. Take photos. You will cherish these later. So will your child when they are old enough.
10. Rejuvenate. This is not a hiking or sport vacation. Take it easy. You'll be glad to have had this rest time when the baby comes.
Mini-breaks or dates are also important during your pregnancy. Check out my book, Romantic Date Ideas, for some great date ideas you can do before your baby arrives!