25 May 2016, by Tan Li Lin
Ronald and I just came back from a truly blissful Babymoon. Back in the Tri-1 days when I felt half-alive, the idea of a Babymoon involved a luxurious, lazy few days spent in a villa with a pool and really awesome views of the ocean. Specifically, Six Senses resorts. Yes. I was finding an excuse to ‘enjoy the last luxury I could afford’ before a kid changes my life. However, with the transition into Trimester 2, the body and mind seemed ready to take on more. The idea of that pool deck-chair didn’t seem so appealing anymore.
Babymoon Tip #1: Know what you want and what you’re willing to spend on
Undecided, we read up on tons of reviews on the 2 resorts that we shortlisted and found that despite the indescribable views and luxurious interiors, the food often received a thumbs down for being expensive and unsatisfying. One thing to note should you choose to stay in such villa resorts for several days is that often the ones worth staying in (peaceful, secluded and romantic with stunning views) are far, far, far from eateries – which means you’re stuck spending more than you should on so-so resort food or taxi fares to get to the nearest town. Because of the recent family trip to Phuket (where we were yes – stuck in Hyatt because of my nieces), I know that yummy food is important to keep me happy during my pregnancy. This became the deciding factor, and hence forth dropped the idea of a lazy Villa stay.
Babymoon Tip #2: Consider your priorities
Food was important for me to feel physically well – specifically healthier, clean, delicious food cooked from the heart. Apart from this, I wanted a mental ‘break’ – to go somewhere peaceful, quiet, SLOW. Places I could just be with nature, not feel rushed, to breathe in life and spend romantic moments with the hubby. The third consideration was to go somewhere I could be active again – even if it’s just gentle walks. I was pretty sick of lying in bed all day, and felt that craving for adventure.
List your top three considerations by asking yourself what the purpose of your Babymoon is for you, and how it will add to this amazing (but stressful) journey.
Thus, we picked Kyoto as our Babymoon destination! Friends and family have raved about Kyoto being a beautiful, charming place. Japan is known to be safe and easy to get around, reliable medical help is within reach, food is good, and budget is easily controlled due to a wide range of food, accommodation and activity options. We managed to find reasonably priced tickets to Osaka on Cathay Pacific with a stopover in Hong Kong.
Babymoon Tip #3: Speaking of priorities – request for priority boarding on your flights
Jump the queue and get on the plane before everyone else! It means not having to wait for ages while everyone files into the plane (because all that waiting is tiring, really, and pregnant ladies have little patience) and not having your protruding tummy poked and molested by elbows and baggage handles.
Just remember to get to the gate early enough to enjoy the priority boarding. Of the 4 flights we were on, I only made it for 1. Sometimes the airline will open boarding earlier than expected – and you don’t get to cut the queue once people start queuing. I tried. Guess my tummy didn’t look threateningly large enough.
Babymoon Tip #4: Pace yourself and acknowledge your physical changes
If you’re into activities and adventure like me, it is important to be realistic and remember that your body is undergoing change 24/7 even though you don’t feel it sometimes. I had to constantly remind myself that this trip was going to be a ‘TAKE IT SLOW’ trip. I’d usually cram back to back activities and several hour drives within the day in hopes to cover as much as possible.
This time, I planned it such that we could:
- get up late(r) i.e. 10+am
- reduce the chances of having to ‘rush’ or ‘catch’ something at a particular time i.e. totally ‘free and easy’ timings
- cover 1-2 main places in a day
- leave the rest of the day’s itinerary dependent on what we felt like doing
- be prepared for down times like rest or time-out periods
Instead of planning a tight day-to-day schedule that resembled a group tour trip, I listed and clustered, according to location, the key places to visit and eat, and then fit them loosely into each day so that plans could change without my inner control freak going crazy.
This flexibility came in handy when on Day 1 in Kyoto, whilst enjoying a Salmon Onigiri in a clearing on the side of a mountain, a freakin’ hawk swept down toward me, causing me to squeal, duck, dash and collapse into a pretty nasty heap on top of some sharp rocks. I think my expanding tummy threw my balance off! The fall caused a huge swell on my right thigh with scratches through my pants. I limped around the rest of the day. We had to swop our subsequent plans around such that we reduce the amount of walking to be done the next day in order for me not to over-strain myself.
Another thing to pace yourself on is food. Expecting girlfriends and I have found that we sometimes end up gorging on something (it tastes SO GOOD!!!) only to feel quite sick after. Personally I can’t take any food that’s too ‘strong’ – garlic, onion, spices etc. The aftertaste leaves me feeling queasy and I end up hating myself argh. So order sparingly, and then add on if you’re feeling okay. For several meals and street snacks, Ronald and I would order 1 portion first and if we really liked it, we’ll go for a second round (immediately, or on another day). That way you leave enjoying it without feeling grossed out from too much of a good thing.
Babymoon Tip #5: You will feel weird at times! (this doesn’t only apply to during the Babymoon trip…)
Like when your abdomen decides to contract and cramp up every time you climb steps or a gentle slope (which Kyoto has a lot of), or when you feel light-headed and your heart starts to palpitate for unknown reasons (maybe it was all that Green Tea Mochi I ate before that). Stop, rest, breathe. I felt like a sissy princess at times, but the idea of fainting in another country and sending my husband into panic forced me to give in to rest instead of acting strong and pretending everything’s okay. So I found a spot and napped in the middle of crazy Dotonburi – and felt tons better after that.
Babymoon Tip #6: Pack snacks
We get hungry fast, and when we’re hungry, we’re hungry NOW. I made the mistake of skipping breakfast the morning we visited Kiyomizu-Dera complex. My first bite was at 1pm and a cold Egg Mayo sandwich from the convenience store tasted like heaven. I really shouldn’t have allowed myself to get that hungry though. My energy levels and mood suffered because of it.
Babymoon Tip #7: Wear something more figure-hugging if you’re taking public transport
… because unfortunately
(i) in Trimester 2 you still don’t look pregnant enough to warrant people tripping over themselves to give way to you (you know, that inbetween ‘is she pregnant or is she just fat?’ stage)
(ii) whatever country you’re in, people still sleep or bury their face in mobile phones while commuting and pretend not to notice that your body shape faintly resembles the one on the sticker plastered above the priority seats THEY are seated in
Babymoon Tip #8: Last but super important – Wear comfortable clothes!
We were in Japan for all of 9 days – I swear I watched my tummy expand, and it’s not from all that eating. After the 20th week, our little baking bun increases in size exponentially. I bought a pair of pants with a rubberized waistband 2 weeks before the Babymoon. By the time I wore it in Kyoto, it was obviously tighter. I brought 3 pants along – all stretchy – but by the last few days I couldn’t take it anymore and ended up wearing dresses. Same goes for your shoes, although I haven’t experienced that yet. Point is, our body grows within the week, so prepare for that.
I want to end off saying that a Babymoon doesn’t have to spent in villas or on beaches only. If you can’t shake off your need for exploration and adventure, you can still have an active Babymoon and enjoy it tremendously, just at a different comfort level. Plan your trip with contingencies and flexibility in mind, and discover a different side of you as you ease into your new up-and-coming role as a Mother!
If you’re interested in planning a Babymoon to Osaka-Kyoto, I’ll be happy to share my itinerary with you. Just drop me a message!
Lin Tan is an Entrepreneur and an Executive Coach who dedicated herself to others and her career, until family changed all that. Follow her blog on www.ilovechildren.sg and journey with her as ‘life after 30′ opened up a completely new chapter.