Babymoon: Why Parents Need a Vacation Before Baby Arrives

babymoon ideas sm

Having a baby brings a new set of demands on time and energy that can create stress in a marriage. Along with traditional childbirth preparations, some parents-to-be take a babymoon — one last getaway to rest, rejuvenate and reconnect before baby arrives.

“I like the idea of couples getting away during the gestation period,” says Walt Ciecko, Ph.D., psychologist and relationship consultant. “It’s a season of change for both men and women. Couples are anticipating and contemplating the issues surrounding starting a family. But oftentimes there isn’t much energy put into nurturing the marriage relationship and preparing it for this change.”

Sabitha Pillai-Friedman, Ph.D., relationship and sex therapist, agrees. “All relationships work like a bank balance,” she says. “You have to have enough positive experiences in the love bank in order to make it through challenging times. The birth of a child is a challenging period in couples’ lives, so it’s important to fill the love bank and have a lot of fun, romantic experiences, before the baby arrives.”

This is what Shelley Dawson and her husband did. “We talked about taking a trip for our first anniversary, then I found out I was pregnant,” she says. “When I met with my ob-gyn, I told him I was thinking about going to Europe because I knew it would be a long time before I could go again. The doctor said it was fine as long as I went before week 32.”

Dawson proceeded with plans to travel to Italy and Scandanavia, but she was careful where she went. “We had been to Europe before, so we had an idea of what to expect. We crossed off small towns and stayed in larger cities where we knew we could find an English-speaking doctor if we needed one,” she says.

As sensational as a European vacation sounds, pre-baby getaways don’t have to be that elaborate. A weekend in the mountains or a quick trip to the beach can still be a fun, romantic vacation.

For Jen and Scott Johnson, four days in St. Petersburg, Florida served as one last fling before their son arrived. “It was April and we wanted to go somewhere warm so we could lie on the beach and swim at the pool,” says Jen, then six months pregnant. “We didn’t want a lot of touristy stuff. We just wanted to relax and be together because we knew our lives were about to change.”

But having a child wasn’t the only change on the horizon for the Johnsons. “We were building a house at the time and it was supposed to be done the day I was due, so there was a lot of added stress,” she says.

“It’s easy for couples to get tunnel vision when they are under pressure and in their normal environment,” Ciecko says. “Getting away puts the pause button on usual activities and creates an atmosphere where parents-to-be can relax and reconnect.”

“I think that was one of the nicest things about our vacation,” says Dawson. “We were out of our routine and had two weeks to spend alone together—no work, no other people to deal with, just us.”

While couples relax, there are productive things they can do to prepare for this life change. “I recommend they go through a ritual where they look at the gains they had from this period in their lives: ‘What were the good things in our relationship when we were a twosome? What dreams did we realize?’” says Ciecko. “Then to recognize that they are transitioning into a new stage in life and plan a strategy for keeping their relationship strong while they raise a family.”

This is also a good time to refocus and set long-term goals. Each spouse should listen to the other’s thoughts and formulate concrete ways to move their family into the future. Both experts agree that this is not a time to deal with day-to-day responsibilities of childcare.

“As important as it is to cement issues about childcare assignments — who is going to do what for the baby — this isn’t the time to take it up,” says Pillai-Friedman. “Save those conversations for before and after the vacation. Use the time to focus on yourselves and where you are headed. Plan to do things you both enjoy and remind yourselves of what brought you together in the first place.”

“Our vacation was one of the last times we had together for nearly a year,” says Jen. “We had nights out after our son was born, but it wasn’t the same. It was just nice to get away one last time as husband and wife before becoming mommy and daddy.”

“Couples who take time to invest in their relationship before the baby arrives will be ready to move into that next stage of life,” Ciecko concludes. “This will help build a strong marriage that will not only benefit the couple, but their children as well.”

----------
Denise Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines and the mother of three children.

Tips for Parents Expecting Twins or Multiples

Tips for Parents Expecting Twins or Multiples

Are you expecting twins or multiples? Who better to turn to for expert advice than local twin parents! Here are helpful tips for twin parents-to-be from experienced San Diego moms who have already w . . .

Read more

How to Prepare a Child for a New Sibling

How to Prepare a Child for a New Sibling

Helping a child transition to the role of older sibling is exciting and challenging. While adding another child to the family provides kids with a lifelong friend and playmate, the soon-to-be big br . . .

Read more

Stretch Marks: Make them disappear with three daily steps

Stretch Marks: Make them disappear with three daily steps

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you may have heard horror stories about the impending doom of stretch marks. They are our battle wounds after giving birth. Some mothers wear them as a badge of honor . . .

Read more

Babymoon: Why Parents Need a Vacation Before Baby Arrives

Babymoon: Why Parents Need a Vacation Before Baby Arrives

Having a baby brings a new set of demands on time and energy that can create stress in a marriage. Along with traditional childbirth preparations, some parents-to-be take a babymoon — one last get . . .

Read more

How Do You Know When Your Family is Complete?

How Do You Know When Your Family is Complete?

How do you know when you’re “done” having children?Within weeks after having my first baby, it seemed as though everyone (friends, co-workers, random shoppers at the mall) wanted to know when . . .

Read more

What You Need To Know About Strep B and Pregnancy

What You Need To Know About Strep B and Pregnancy

“You’ve tested positive for Group B strep,” my obstetrician told me over the phone. I considered my first pregnancy to be mostly free of the usual problems and complaints that plague ot . . .

Read more

Struggling to Get Pregnant the Second Time Around?

Struggling to Get Pregnant the Second Time Around?

Secondary infertility—the inability to conceive after 6-12 months of frequent, unprotected intercourse by a couple who already have a child—accounts for half of all infertility cases in the Unit . . .

Read more

Bumps in Pumps: A Fashion Faux Pass

Bumps in Pumps: A Fashion Faux Pass

Sky-high heels aren’t the first thing we usually think of when it comes to maternity attire, but in Hollywood, celebrities are choosing fashion over comfort—and perhaps even safety—so that the . . .

Read more

10 Questions You Must Ask Your Doula

10 Questions You Must Ask Your Doula

So, you’re sold on hiring a doula. You’ve done your research and you know that studies show doulas reduce time spent in labor and the need for pain medication and complications. Doulas cut the r . . .

Read more

Second Baby Showers

Second Baby Showers

Know a mom (or dad) expecting a second, third or fourth baby? Maybe they already have all the major baby gear, but it’s still fun to throw a unique party to celebrate the impending arrival. Lavis . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!