The Babymooners

I was flipping through the new issue of Parents magazine last night and this question from a reader caught my eye:

“My husband wants to take me to a spa for our babymoon. What treatments are safe for me to have during pregnancy?”

(I’m going to ask that all the military moms reading this pause for about 10 seconds to stop laughing.)

Ok. Did you catch your breath?

A babymoon, for all of you who haven’t given birth or paid attention to those living the luxe life for the last few years, is one of the latest ways for people to pamper themselves. It’s right up there with “push presents” on my list of trends I hear about but don’t believe anyone is actually doing. (That list, FYI, also includes things like wigs for dogs, spray tans for toddlers, expensive-cakes-that-don’t-look-like-cakes, vaginoplasty and anal bleaching.)  A babymoon is a trip that an expecting couple takes just before the baby is born to relax and enjoy the last full nights of sleep that they’re likely to get for the next 20 years or so. It is, for the record, a fantastic idea and I am 100 percent pro-babymoon. I just don’t know anyone who has ever had one. Or, at least, I don’t think I know anyone. If you’ve taken a babymoon, please feel free to tell us all about it.

(By the way, a push present is a gift that a new father gives to the new mother to thank her for the pregnancy and the childbirth. I am also 100 percent pro-push present.)

What took me most by surprise in the Parents magazine question was the phrasing. The question reads like a babymoon is the most common thing in the world. While I have no idea how common babymoons are in the non-military community, I feel certain they are all but non-existent for those of us who shop in commissaries. At my OB appointment the other day (I’m about 6 months pregnant with my third child, btw.) a sign at the check in desk asked soon-to-be moms to tell their providers if their husbands would be deployed on their due date, deploying soon after or just returned from a deployment.

Our world really is very different, isn’t it? Instead of planning a babymoon to Sedona together, many of us are planning for half of the new parent couple to be on a trip to that other, not-so-pleasant, desert. Choosing between the mud wrap and the seaweed facial isn’t exactly on our agendas.

My husband and I never even had a honeymoon because he deployed two weeks after our wedding. We were okay with that, though, because up until a few days before the wedding we weren’t even sure he’d still be in the country long enough to get married. The fact that he made it to the wedding seemed like a blessing. Many of my military friends have two anniversaries for exactly this reason: They celebrate the day they were legally married at the courthouse and the day they had the actual wedding. If they got in a trip to Hawaii after the big day, it was probably because they were on PCS orders to Schofield Barracks.

The weeks before our first child was born were also a flurry of pre-deployment activity. Though we were very lucky that my husband was able to be present at our son’s birth, he left for Afghanistan about two weeks later. I can’t imagine trying to squeeze in a spa visit (even if we’d had the money for it) during all that chaos. He missed our daughter’s birth entirely, so a babymoon wasn’t an option that time, either. And now, with a third baby on the way I’m just excited that he’ll finally get to experience the “joys” of a having a newborn with me.

So I suppose our “babymoon” will come after the baby is born, just like how the honeymoon comes after the wedding. Our babymoon this time will include spending long nights together not sleeping (because of night feedings and changings) and going on meandering, scenic drives around town (to try and get the baby to fall asleep). But someday in the not-so-distant-future (cue soaring instrumental) we’ll have an Army retirementmoon and — provided we can find someone to keep the kids and the dogs — then we’ll go to Hawaii, or Sedona or maybe just to the Motel 6, so that we can take long, uninterrupted, naps.