Sun, Beaches, Stars and Babymoons
A babymoon is similar to a honeymoon, a celebratory vacation but hold the alcoholic drinks. When you have a honeymoon, you focus on spending time with your spouse and relax from the chaos of all wedding events. During a babymoon, you enjoy quality time together welcoming a new addition to your family.
Second Trimester is a PERFECT time to take a babymoon. During pregnancy, this is when you feel your best with energy and mobility. At this point, your morning sickness had subsided (hopefully) and you have not entered the uncomfortable waddle stage also known as the third trimester.
We were both fortunate enough to take babymoons during our pregnancies. But was it really worth the hype? Check out both Katie and Amanda's experience during their vacations for an honest reflection on their travels.
Location: San Diego, California
Duration: 4 days & 3 Nights
Weeks Pregnant: 24 Weeks (second trimester)
A major perk to my position at work is the opportunity to attend a conference each year for professional development. Flight and hotel are covered along with a daily food stipend (which we always crush because my husband is the biggest foodie ever). In previous years my husband was able to work from the hotel while I attended the conference sessions and we would spend the afternoons exploring and eating great meals. The event usually takes place in the fall which landed perfectly in the middle of my second trimester. I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried. The second trimester is ideal for those looking to travel while pregnant, you feel your best with low nausea and high energy levels.
I HATE to fly. I need a good 3 glasses of wine before boarding the plane to calm the nerves. Anxiety meds don't do it for me and during my pregnancy I flew on two occasions, the first being Amanda's Vegas wedding and the second being San Diego for the conference/babymoon. I had dreaded these flights without my vino liquid courage. We had friends on our flight to Vegas so I was distracted while waiting to board the plane and not so anxious. By the time we took our trip to San Diego I was feeling her move around and kick, this may sound silly but I felt calm knowing I had her with me on the plane. I'll be honest traveling to Vegas early on in my pregnancy was not a bad experience. I was never hungover, explored the strip and was able to hang with the wedding party late into the night thanks to the oxygen being pumped into the casino. I had many many virgin margaritas and left with a great tan and wonderful memories.
San Diego was truly a dream, I was at the perfect stage of the pregnancy to travel. 24 weeks was ideal! I had high amounts of energy for exploration of the city and my appetite was back in time to try all the amazing food. We stayed at San Diego's Mission Bay Paradise Point Resort and Spa. The conference was held on the resort property so each morning we would take a walk to the lodge, grab coffee and breakfast and I would head out for the breakout sessions while my husband worked in the hotel. The weather for the week was cool and low 70s (not too hot for the preggo). The afternoons warmed up so we could visit the pool and catch some rays. Our resort had numerous dining options and walking paths to keep you occupied throughout the day.
We had our first meal at Cannonball on the Ocean Front Walk (great views of the Pacific). I loved the variety of food San Diego had to offer. While my husband ate all the fresh raw sushi and oysters he could pack into one week....I had pasta, shrimp tacos and crab cakes. We met a high school friend and his wife for dinner in the Gaslamp District which was an nice addition to the trip and explored Little Italy. My Dad was in the navy and my parents lived in San Diego for many years after they married, before I was born. One of their favorite places to dine was Tom Ham's Lighthouse. I had been hearing about this place for years and was excited to check it out. The seafood restaurant sits on San Diego Bay and overlooks the downtown skyline and Coronado island. The restaurant was newly renovated and delivered the most amazing meal with a breathtaking view and is one of the top spots to watch the sunset!
Four days and three nights was the perfect amount of time to get away. I encourage couples to take the trip and plan the "babymoon." I had an amazing time exploring San Diego with my husband. We made some wonderful memories and not once throughout the week did I feel like I was missing out or limited due to pregnancy. Had we not had the conference planned, I don't believe we would have taken a trip and we would have missed out. Our trip took place in November when COVID was still in the far future. The time away was a nice reset and break from the baby planning. The trip was just what the doctor ordered!
Location: Miami and South Beach, Florida
Duration: 5 Days & 4 Nights
Weeks Pregnant: 28 Weeks (beginning of third trimester)
I feel like I need to start with a disclaimer, especially following Katie's babymoon experience. I do not want to sound ungrateful. We were fortunate to be able to take a babymoon. My husband and I love to travel. It is one of the most important things in our relationship. We travel together, we travel independently. We travel with our friends, we travel with our families, and we look forward to traveling with our son! Booking a babymoon was a no-brainer for us. It was another excuse to do what we both love best. VACATION!
I genuinely enjoyed my babymoon and have great memories from our trip, but it definitely doesn't fall into the top 10 travel experiences I have had. Although it was nice to have "one last trip" just the two of us, there were several reasons why this vacation ranks lower on my list of travel favorites.
You have to understand that we went to Florida one week prior to the world shutting down due to COVID-19. My doctor cleared me for travel and told us to treat this new mysterious illness as if it was the flu. At the time we did not know we were flying into probably one of the most dangerous areas in the states. People gawked at me as I wiped down our seats on the airplane like I was a crazy person. When we passed several large cruise ships I had anxiety for the passengers that could potentially get sick. Luckily, I never fell ill, but my husband did get extremely sick upon our return and we still think it was a possibility he contracted COVID. At the time he was unable to get tested and was turned away from a major hospital because we hadn't been to mainland China (he did test negative for flu and strep). The antibodies test wasn't an option either to confirm our suspicions.
We had limited options for travel since we had just returned from our destination wedding in Las Vegas and our honeymoon in Spain. I burned up all my vacation and sick time for those events. A long weekend in the states was our only option. We waited until March in the hopes that the weather in Florida would be warmer. It was not the best weather. Our favorite travel destinations revolve around warm weather, pools, beaches, and SUNSHINE. Especially after enduring another long Chicago winter. Despite the less than ideal weather we made the best of the trip shopping, walking and eating when we couldn't lay poolside. One of our favorite places to go is Mexico and out of an abundance of (ridiculous) caution we did not go because of Zika. I would have been safer from Zika than COVID at this point, but we did not know that at the time! To be honest that was my biggest regret. An all inclusive resort with more reliable weather would have been perfection. Please know that in no way am I judging anyone who does travel to Mexico pregnant. I am actually jealous I couldn't shake this nagging pre-mom guilt to go. If we had more time we may have considered Hawaii or another tropical island too. But we've had great trips together and with our friends to Miami and South Beach so it was a familiar option. There are many destinations I would like to visit, but wanted my first experience to a new location to be "limitless".
Again, we pushed off our babymoon in hopes of better weather and that only made me more pregnant. At 28 weeks pregnant I really "popped". If you read about my pregnancy experience you know I had a textbook and ideal pregnancy, but did NOT enjoy it. On our trip I started to get uncomfortable physically and wish we had traveled sooner. I am also way more fun when I can eat and drink freely. We love a bottle (or two) of wine with dinner. Spare me the BS about not needing alcohol to have fun. It is way more enjoyable to fly, relax and dine with a few adult beverages! My belly really "popping" during our trip made attire challenging too. Everything I packed seemed to shrink and shorten several sizes. My insanely large breasts didn't help the sizing situation either. I wish I would have invested in more maternity pieces so I felt more confident. If you are planning a babymoon I recommend traveling earlier if possible when you feel your best mentally, emotionally, and physically.
During our trip my husband's best friend had an appearance in Florida and joined us on our vacation. He is a reality TV personality and has some great connections in Miami and South Beach. These connections really elevated our experience. We were able to get into the hottest restaurants and bars. We hung with local celebrities and ate incredible meals thanks to him. Most of our previous Florida trips were spent basking in the sun and since that wasn't always an option this trip we were challenged to see a different side of Miami and South Beach. We shopped at cool boutiques. We found really awesome art galleries that inspired some of our future home decor. We walked more and checked out different neighborhoods we had never visited before. There are memories we made together that I will never forget. Sometimes when I look at an art piece we purchased I'm reminded how fortunate and grateful we were to be able to babymoon. I sincerely love traveling with my husband!
So, if I really did enjoy my babymoon while did I emphasize the negative aspects instead of the positives of traveling while pregnant you may ask? Because most of what you see on social media is a lie and there is an insane amount of pressure to take a babymoon like you'll be missing out on a life-changing experience if you don't. The truth is people post a perfectly edited photo to their social media account to make their trip envy-worthy. Their clever caption doesn't include the fact that they slept like shit the night before because they were uncomfortable and tossed and turned wishing they were home in their own bed with their pregnancy pillow. We have this unconscious need to "keep up" because our Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat feeds are filled with a sugar coated reality. At the end of the day I am a huge proponent of taking a babymoon with your significant other IF it is accessible and attainable (time and financially). I would encourage couples and emphasize traveling together prior to pregnancy and after having kids over one babymoon trip. I hope my honesty inspires you to do what is best for yourself and your family not for social media. The goal of sharing my raw experience is to help you plan your ideal babymoon if and when you choose to take one. I don’t want to sound ungrateful or like my trip was miserable because the truth is our trip was great. But the reality is we collectively agree we have had way more fun on other vacations and that's okay!
Every vacation I have taken is memorable and unique. My babymoon is no exception. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. I look forward to a future that is hopefully filled with many more travels near and far.
"Travel as much as you can, as far as you can, as long as you can. Life's not meant to be lived in one place."
X0 - Katie and Amanda