Before we got pregnant, I was adamant that the concept of a babymoon was, frankly, ridiculous; a crazy fad that I would never succumb to myself.
“A complete waste of money, at a time when you should be taking more responsibility for your family’s finances. The brainchild of some spotty marketing wanker, tasked with selling more cheap flights and package holidays,” I preached to anyone that would listen.
But by the time our first pregnancy drew to a close back in August last year, I’m (slightly) ashamed to admit that we managed to clock up three (yes three) babymoons in the space of just two months.
I know, I know…after such a flagrant disregard for my own beliefs, I have no right to lecture. But take it from me; as a tried, tested and (still) extremely tanned babymoon connoisseur, it turns out that babymoons are actually pretty awesome.
Looking back at my cynical, pre-pregnant self, my main beef with babymoons was that they seem to have been forced upon us by the media and the travel industry, in much the same way as confectioners and greeting card companies have bastardised Valentine’s Day.
Rather than just organising a lovely holiday, there’s now a growing expectation that a babymoon has to be EPIC…a vacation to beat all others that came before it. “Make the most of it,” they warn. “This may be the last child-free holiday you’ll have for 21 years…at least!”
While they’re technically right, there are of course plenty of wholly unappealing aspects of going on holiday with a hormonal pregnant woman, prone to unpredictable mood swings and cases of incontinence.
As your pregnant partner grows in size, so diminishes her propensity to do things for herself. This means that any holiday task transforms from an equal partnership to one where she becomes the mistress while you take on the role of servant boy / bag carrier / sun cream applicator / masseur, responsible for fulfilling her every need at the click of her increasingly swollen fingers.
It is also highly likely that any pre-baby holiday will be disrupted by one of the many weird and worrying pregnancy symptoms that always like to pop up at the most inconvenient of times.
From phantom pains and Braxton Hicks contractions to unexplainable discharge and intense constipation, you’ll almost certainly be forced to visit a local doctor or pharmacist while you’re away, to calm her and your fears. And take it from me, there’s nothing quite like trying to explain to a foreign pharmacist, who doesn’t speak a word of English, how your wife is severely constipated, using nothing but charades and your best “squeezing out a poo” impression to get your point across.
But in spite of these unwanted physical exertions and petit embarrassments, I’ve learnt that the significant benefits you get from holidaying during pregnancy far outweigh the few negatives I’ve mentioned above.
First off, preparing for a baby can be bloody stressful. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it, which means your usual down time is now taken up, almost exclusively, with boring baby-related tasks.
A babymoon is the perfect solution. It may seem like forced fun, but in reality it’s just an excuse to get away from it all for a few days or more, with no NCT classes to think of, no IKEA furniture to put together and no nursery to paint; just good old fashioned me/us time.
With your other half’s lower energy levels and often debilitating baby aches, the sole focus of a babymoon is relaxation, from lounging around in the sun and late morning lie-ins to lazy lunches and afternoon naps – all things that now, as a parent to a six month old, I sorely miss.
What’s more, the extra time you gain allows you to finally catch up on all the things you’ve been putting off so far during pregnancy, like talking through your birth plan, compiling your labour play list and deciding which of your new NCT chums to ditch once the course finishes.
Our recent babymoon experiences also made me realise just how super sexy my pregnant wife is. I mean, I’ve always known, but as a first time dad there’s something truly incredible about seeing the woman you love, bikini-clad and bronzed with her growing baby belly on show, which you helped create.
And I guarantee you won’t be the only one to stand up and take notice. Just for being pregnant, we enjoyed VIP status on every trip we took, with special attention on flights, the best tables and amazing service when eating out, as well as free drinks, food and unexpected extras as soon as anyone spotted my wife’s growing bump. Seriously, we hadn’t felt this pampered (or at least she hasn’t) since our honeymoon.
A babymoon doesn’t have to cost the earth either. Although we went away three times, we only actually paid for our accommodation once, after taking full advantage of charitable friends and family with holiday homes and time shares on offer. Plus, you can get some amazing deals on flights and package holidays if you book last minute, in the off season or avoiding the school holidays.
And don’t rule out a staycation if you want to babymoon on a budget. We spent an incredible week in Cornwall embracing the questionable English weather, braving the sea in rented wetsuits while gorging ourselves on Cornish pasties. And it was just what we needed to recharge our batteries; exactly as a babymoon should be.
Ultimately, your babymoon doesn’t have to be an all-out SUPER EPIC expedition. It doesn’t matter where you go or how much you spend, just so long as it is comfortable and allows you both to put your baby preparations to one side and escape reality for a few days.
It really is one of the last holidays you’ll have as a couple (and just as a couple) for the foreseeable future. So I say:
Fuck the expense, fuck responsibility and fuck off abroad before your baby arrives and fucks up your Sunday lie ins for good.
You can read more from Giles at www.youthedaddy.co.uk , where you will find brilliant musings on pregnancy, parenthood and life from the Dad perspective.