When a junior doctor asked Dr Anjana Singh if she could take a short break with her husband, since she had entered her second trimester and was quite comfortable with her pregnancy and morning sickness, she wasn’t surprised. At least three out of ten would-be parents ask her the same question in the consultation room. “It is not just about Alia Bhatt flying to Italy, babymoon is becoming a key pre-birth parenting ritual beyond an indulgent fad. In fact, it is a great coping mechanism,” says the Director and Head, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Noida.
So what is a babymoon? It is a short vacation taken by expectant spouses/partners, celebrating their togetherness in a carefree manner before they get bogged down by worries and responsibilities of nurturing a new life in their midst. “It is like appreciating each other as a man and woman, igniting the romance before settling down into new roles as father and mother. It is a crucial me-time that improves the mental well-being of both and actually wraps the new baby with a lot of love, “ says Dr Singh.
According to her, a babymoon has quite a few advantages.
1) Most would-be parents know that once the baby is born, they cannot make big travel plans for the next two years till the baby is fit to travel long distances. “This is a good phase of the pregnancy, which is usually about dos and don’ts and health concerns, that they both take into their parenthood,” says Dr Singh. “Travel makes most mothers feel active and takes the boredom out of their maternity exercises. A walk by the seaside will get their feel-good hormones going and make them feel energetic. The couple keeps their anxieties aside for a while and feels recharged.” In fact, Dr Singh recommends an outing even for adoptive, single mothers-to-be (with friends or family) and same sex partners. “The emotions are the same.”
2) More than me-time, the parents-to-be have a proper sit-down moment and get a chance to rest, far away from their 24X7 job commitments, reworking assignments and deadlines, planning budgets, disciplining themselves and rescheduling goals. “It’s quite a big transition that two young people are making and sometimes they need to get away from the noise, particularly concerned family members who are constantly doling out advice. They can confide in each other, sort out their emotions and learn to deal with it together. They can even draw up a manage-baby plan. Parenting is no magic formula; couples grow into the contours that they draw for themselves. There is a joint ownership of pregnancy,” adds the gynaecologist. This is the last time that they can focus intently on each other before the baby becomes their priority. “Waking up in the middle of the night, changing diapers and taking turns sleeping, new parents hardly have a time to look at each other, leave aside having a good conversation. Whatever anybody says, the couple won’t ever get this time together,” she says.
3) Pregnant women mostly complain that child-bearing is a lonely responsibility and nothing changes for men. This is also the time when women become body-conscious and moody, thinking they can never return to their original shape. “Of course, such fears are completely misplaced. Well, this is the time when she needs all the attention and reassurance. And her spouse/partner can be a part of her journey, understand her better and in the end become an understanding father,” says Dr Singh.
4) A babymoon is also the perfect time for memory-building. “In the everyday rush of prepping for the day, getting things done, keeping doctor’s appointments and ticking off the list, you hardly would remember having pleasant experiences together. A break is a great memory to have and tell your child about when he/she is old enough,” adds she.
5) A babymoon acts like a pause button. “Nobody is asking them to meditate but expecting parents need to reflect on what they are getting into. This is the ideal retreat to reassess their priorities, talk through the big changes they are about to embrace, perhaps even assign roles and responsibilities in the way they think fit and brace up for house rules for a new family.”
Of course, Dr Singh reads out a few caveats for babymoon travel. “Obviously, those with contra-indications may have to put some travel plans on hold. I would say the mother can travel safely anytime between 14 and 27 weeks. Be aware of airline rules if flying and stay away from road journeys. Make sure that the destination has a suitable health facility in case there is an emergency. Besides, doctors these days are just a call away and should you feel the need, you can make a quick Zoom call,” Dr Singh advises. Motherhood is never a sail, but a part of it can be.