Of course, a baby moon isn't logistically or financially possible of everyone. But for those of you who are considering it, please heed Ali's hilarious warnings: it's not always what the glossy magazine photos depict. (Maybe this just makes me feel better because I didn't get one. :)
Picture it: you and your husband toasting the Golden Trimester and your impending parenthood by taking a luxurious jaunt to the tropics. You will bask in the glorious sunshine by a crystal-green ocean, a virgin mojito in hand and a masseuse rubbing coconut oil on your baby bump.
I've had two kids and two babymoons, neither of which involved coconut oil rub-downs. Unlike a honeymoon, which signified the start of our new life together, the babymoon just reminded us of what our life would no longer be like. If I were to have a third child (I said "if"- don't get any ideas, Mom!), I would ditch the babymoon altogether, because I am so over it.
Here are a few romantic illusions that were shattered upon arrival:
1.) This babymoon will be my last hurrah before the baby comes.
The Plan: a spa day, followed by a relaxing stroll through town, a fancy romantic dinner, and then a show or movie. We would cuddle by the fireplace in our B&B, sleep until 10am, and then enjoy the delicious home-cooked breakfast downstairs.
The Reality: The local spa did not offer prenatal treatments. The "relaxing stroll" became an "awkward waddle with frequent bathroom breaks." Throughout dinner I alternated between staring wistfully at the other patrons sipping wine, and hightailing it to the bathroom. I fell asleep by 9:30pm, then woke up at 2am in a panic, convinced my water broke and we had to get to the hospital immediately. One Web MDs search and phone call to my doctor later, we realized it was just pee.
In hindsight, we probably could have had a nice dinner and ensuing panic attack from the comforts of home.
2.) I'll get to do activities that I won't be able to do once the baby arrives.
Nope. Still couldn't do any of them. Some expectant mothers can rise to the occasion, but I was too tired for daytime exploring or wild nights out, found it hard to sit still in a theater, and when we collapsed on the four-poster bed, only wanted to sleep (not that I could; damn you, bladder!).
I did do a lot of sitting on the couch and watching t.v., which definitely prepared me for parenting a newborn.
3.) I'll get quality alone-time with my husband.
The minute that stick turned blue, we lost our child-free identities. Sure, we would try to broach other topics of conversation ("Wow, that water really is crystal-green." "How's...work...going?" "Want to split a porterhouse?") but all we really wanted to talk about was the baby. After yet another stilted conversation about the weather, we finally succumbed and spent the next three days ogling a screenshot of our ultrasound.
4.) It will be relaxing.
My first child was three and a half weeks early, so with the second child I became paranoid that I could go into labor at any moment. I kept the babymoon local and packed things appropriate for both a romantic weekend and an extended hospital stay (surprisingly, mesh underwear works for both).
Despite my over-planning, I became anxious that every twinge was the onset of labor, like when the baby had hiccups that I was convinced were contractions at one-second intervals. Each night, I'd plan our escape back home to our doctor, since I was terrified at the thought of giving birth at an out-of-state country inn. Or at a rest stop off the New Jersey Turnpike.
5.) As long as I ask ahead, I can find out what's safe.
Was the cheese at that French bistro pasteurized? What was the exact temperature of the hot tub? Was the fish I wanted for dinner farm-raised or wild, and what was the mercury level there? Would our B&B serve pancakes? Would it?? THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW.
Nobody knew the answers to any of these questions, leading to ever-spiraling anxiety, and severe pancake withdrawal.
6.) Travel won't be so bad.
Getting from Point A to Point B with a prenatal passenger was tricky. We couldn't fly anywhere past 36 weeks, and the thought of donning compression socks and squeezing into a tiny seat for six hours sounded torturous. If we drove somewhere, I'd have to realign the seat belts to fit around my belly, and plan to stop every 20 miles for a bathroom break.
But when I googled "romantic babymoon destinations 10 minutes from my house," I got "No Search Results."
Guess if I ever have another baby, I'll just hand my husband some coconut oil, turn on the t.v., and hope that "baby staycations" become a thing.
Ali Solomon is a cartoonist and art teacher who lives in NYC with her husband and two young daughters. Her work can be found on the Huffington Post, McSweeneys, Scary Mommy, Today Parents, and other parenting sites. Read more of her ridiculous nonsense at Wiggle Room and @Alicoaster.