When people find out you’re pregnant, the conversation inevitably will progress something like this: “When are you due? A boy or a girl? Do you have a name yet?” And, if the person on the other end of the conversation is a parent, they will say, “I hope you sleep now, because you’re never going to sleep again!”
While I appreciate the concern, I’ve spent most of my pregnancy trying to do the other things I feel like I’ll never do again travel abroad, go to movies and museums, see my childless friends on weekend nights at cool restaurants that don’t provide high chairs. However, rolling (I mean that literally; I am a sphere) into my 37th week, I wondered if I had made a huge mistake by not prioritizing some serious R&R.
We’d already had our official “babymoon” to Palm Springs, but we’d packed it full of sightseeing and tourist-y stuff. I was well past the recommended 36 weeks for air travel. And I really didn’t want to just stay holed up in our apartment, where I will be spending the next four straight months of my life keeping a tiny human alive.
Luckily, there are plenty of cool weekend trips right out of N.Y.C., so I got my doctor’s signoff, packed a bunch of stretchy items and loaded up the trunk of a GMC Acadia Denali that the brand was kind enough to lend with my suitcase ... and, um, everything that I had at my desk that had to come home before I go on maternity leave. Mercifully, the car was not short on trunk space.
In addition to “never underestimate how much crap you really have under your desk,” I learned five valuable lessons about planning a “babymoon” (sorry, I really hate that word but I don’t have a better one) in your third trimester.
1. Comfort is key.
At this point, I have reached a size and shape that is perpetually uncomfortable, no matter what position I contort it into. Even my bed, formerly my favorite place on earth, has betrayed me. So folding myself into a tiny rental sedan was off the table. The SUV gave me plenty of room to stretch out and there were all kinds of things I could control (the climate on my side of the car, set at a sweltering 62; the pitch and even the back support of my seat), so I only whined three or four times on the five-hour round trip. I also changed out of my J Brand maternity jeans into the world’s softest pair of maternity sweatpants (they’re Beyond Yoga, and I’ll stop wearing them when the kid is 11) and fully stocked every cupholder and available area with tons of water and plenty of food. (Plenty of food, as you will see, will become a theme here.)
2. Make “doing nothing” its own activity.
With the threats of “you’ll never sleep again” ringing in my ears, I decided to build a whole lotta downtime into our weekend packing stacks of magazines and vowing to turn my phone off (when I wasn’t photographing the view). It was helpful to be heading towards New York’s Hamptons, which are still sleepy in April, and to indulge in places that are known for their emphasis on relaxation. We stayed at the truly stunning Topping Rose House, a modernized old Bridgehampton mansion with deep soaking tubs, a ridiculously comfy bed and incredibly dark shades.
We also trekked out to Montauk to visit Gurney’s for a massage; it’s a hip resort that’s swarming in the summer, but since it was a bit quieter in April, we were able to snag seats at the indoor pool and watch the ocean waves crash outside.
And though I was tempted to look up “things to do in the Hamptons,” I passed out mid-crossword puzzle and never got the energy up to do it again. We did, however, avail ourselves of the hotel’s board game collection. After getting destroyed at Scrabble on night one, I opted for something a little more my current mental speed (which, with my very real case of baby brain, is about as fast as I’m walking these days .03 miles an hour) the next day.
3. Make people take photos of you you’ll want them later.
Every month, I become more emboldened and less embarrassed of all the perks I get with this expanding belly. Yes, I will take that seat on the subway, thank you! Sure, I will happily finish your fries for the baby, of course! And though I’m usually way too shy to ask passersby for photos, I had no trouble trotting up to strangers to request that they memorialize this particular phase. I can’t wait to show this one to our child and mutter “You did this to me!” (Also it’s just a nice memento of our last truly carefree weekend, but, you know, details.)
4. Calories are a farce.
It seems against the laws of physics that I can expand much more, so I took that opportunity to really go to town at the many delicious dining establishments along Montauk Highway. We celebrated opening day at the Clam Bar with fried clam strips and chowder while basking in the early-spring sunshine. Then we continued the shellfish crawl with a lobster roll at the Seafood Shop. Mere hours later we were at the hotel’s Jean-Georges restaurant, where I ordered the popcorn-topped ice cream and inhaled about 2/3 of it. (It seemed like a fair trade, considering my husband indulged in oysters and wine while I looked on enviously. Also, he will be changing all the diapers forever.) And don’t think I didn’t also indulge in the cookies and chocolates the hotel provided for turndown service after breakfast. I was full, but happy, which (combined with the epic amounts of sleep) felt like I was getting close to babymoon Nirvana.
5. Do whatever you need to enjoy the view.
This is something I realized back when we planned our Palm Springs trip; we’d only booked a long weekend, but I realized about a week before we left we were crazy not to maximize our time there before the baby arrives, and I spent a small fortune extending the flights and booking a new hotel. Know what? It was totally worth it.
When planning this “Parents’ Last Hurrah,” I had a little trepidation about the car trip element of it, because we tend to argue about directions and music. The Acadia came equipped with Wifi, so we never once had to think about either I plugged in a mutually agreed-upon Spotify playlist or S-Town, set up Apple CarPlay to get us to our destination, and passed out in the passenger seat (this is one of my greatest skills). That meant that even when we were going to some of the further-out places where we had no service, like the Elizabeth A. Morton nature preserve where we took a lovely walk and I encountered this terrifying swan, we never once had to argue about which way to go. Anything that eliminated even the least bit of stress was worth it in my book, and I worry about the day we will be driving a wifi-free car with a screaming kid in the backseat. But for now, I was happy. Enormous, but happy. Incredibly slow, but happy.
A post shared by Alex Apatoff Besen (@nicefunalex) on Apr 9, 2017 at 12:42pm PDT
What are your best babymoon tips? Share them below!