Among the perks of pregnancy—guilt-free eating! Lush hair! A baby!—there is the babymoon. There's just one challenge of doing one if you already have kids: your kids. We went on a babymoon for our first child, and didn't bother for our second. Now that we're due with our third, my husband and I decided we desperately needed some quality time alone. Raising two kids, one with special needs, can be pretty consuming. We pulled it off, and had the most amazing experience. For the first time in forever, I fully relaxed. These are the strategies that made our babymoon great.
1. Find no-worries childcare
If we couldn't leave our son (who has cerebral palsy) with someone who knows him well, we weren't going to go anywhere. After some sweet talk and bribery involving Broadway show tickets, we enlisted my sister and her husband to watch the kids for the long weekend so we could have a carefree getaway.
2. Make the trip easy
For our first babymoon, we headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico, toward the end of my second trimester. It was gorgeous, but the long-ish plane flights weren't easy on me (hello, swollen ankles). This time around, we opted to head somewhere within a reasonable driving distance. That was good for peace of mind; if we were urgently needed at home, we could get quickly get back. Plus we could spend more on a stay, since we wouldn't have to pay for flights. We chose The Lodge at Woodloch, a spa resort in Hawley, Pennsylvania, located within a two-hour drive of our home. It offers a Babymoon Escape, complete with an inclusive meal plan and a bag upon check-in filled with salty and sweet treats. Yes, please.
3. Enjoy stuff you never get to do
Years ago, a relationship expert told me that one way to keep a relationship exciting is for couples to learn new things. That way, you have something lively to talk about besides your kids. During our Santa Fe babymoon, we explored museums and flea markets. And although we didn't go away for our last child, we did make some out-of-the-ordinary local plans like visiting photo galleries and doing an afternoon food tour of local Italian restaurants. At The Lodge, I signed us up for Beekeeping 101, where we got the scoop on the five hives in the resort's garden. We got an education about growing produce, too, and got to pick and sample some.
4. Do the other thing you never get to do: nap
Naps are a total luxury; we hardly ever take them. So Dave and I made sure we had our fair share. Within 20 minutes of check in, we were swinging in adjoining hammocks. Naps: free no matter where your babymoon is.
5. Eat inspiring food
I have become quite the professional healthy eater during my first two trimesters, although some days I feel like a walking salad bowl. Traveling gives you new ideas for food prep—in this case, veggie dishes. We dined heartily and deliciously on ones made from locally-grown ingredients. Sweet potato and kale hash for breakfast? A corn, onion, broccoli, mushroom and cheddar fritatta? Bring it! Another discovery: Everything tastes better with pickled baby veggies...um, except your prenatal vitamins.
6. Work out together
It's another thing we hardly ever do as a couple, and there's nothing like a joint endorphin rush to bliss you out—even if all you do is take brisk walks (or, as the case may be, waddles) around the area you're visiting. Mostly, we did laps in the light-filled pool; swimming is considered an "ideal" exercise during pregnancy, because it's low-impact and there's little chance of injury.
7. Get some alone time
Yes, the point of a babymoon is to be together but we both appreciated doing our own thing as well given how precious "me time" can be. While Dave took the Wine & Chocolate Pairing (not a pregnant lady activity), I did Paper Marbling (not my husband's idea of an activity).
8. Do something special as a couple
And I'm not talking about binge-watching Netflix. The Babymoon Escape came with two spa treatments, and we booked a massage for two. My muscles were grateful for the prenatal massage, now commonplace at many spas (and you can typically use Spafinder gift cards, which can often be purchased at discounts). For once, I didn't mind the sound of my husband's snoring because I loved knowing he was so relaxed.
9. Make no plans whatsoever
We slept in every one of our three days there. We wandered around the property, returning again and again to the serenity of the garden. We sat on the dock by Lake Teedyuskung and talked about our future. By the time we left, we felt revived head to toe, ready to return to our kids, reality, and whatever it brought our way. — Ellen Seidman
Ellen Seidman is a mom of two, editor, and professional snacker who blogs daily at Love That Max. You can find her pondering special needs parenthood and other important topics (such as what her next snack will be) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ even though she still hasn't totally figured out what that is.