5 Reasons to take that First Babymoon

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At twenty-six weeks pregnant with my first babe, Eliot Hayden, I thought I might share some thoughts on that little pregnancy trip gaining popularity called “the babymoon.” A babymoon is like a honeymoon for this next big stage of life meant to give the expectant parents a break and, in our secular culture, serve as the “last childless huzzah” together. My husband, Daniel, and I don’t need much of an excuse to shuck off the weight of the world and escape together since we enjoy being in each other’s company as much as we do! It’s the same reason we managed to do our various showers, parties (even the bachelor party) and celebrations all Co-Ed. I know we’re kind of weird for it but when two clingy, lovey, annoying soul-mate’s find each other, results are very conjoined. (Disclaimer: Daniel and I DO spend time doing our own thing, but we prefer to have our parties and vacations together!)

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When the opportunity for a babymoon presented itself, we definitely jumped on board although we didn’t like the ideas that many babymoon advocates embrace with that “last childless huzzah” mentality. It just seemed kind of anti-family and negative and honestly…kind of silly. It seems kind of self contradictory to be excited for welcoming a little one into the world and your family, yet have that “our lives will never be as good as they are now” mindset that the secular culture dances around. I’m not at all saying that if you take a babymoon for kid number four or five that you must load the whole pack into the car and enjoy a rousing version of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed… I just think that your babymoon should be about welcoming your new little baby into the world too! We decided to take the babymoon and leave the attitude so that we could maximize our enjoyment. (When you’re expecting your first child, it’s easy to be excited and we wanted to bring that excitement along with us!)

IMG_2019Finances can be a big reason I know many couples don’t go for it, but I can tell you that it doesn’t have to cost much. When we were considering what we wanted to do for ours, we considered staying with family in another state (free!) and just deal with smaller traveling expenses but when we realized we didn’t actually want to spend our time traveling from one place to another, we simply booked a hotel in our city and enjoyed a “staycation” of sorts! The price was quite reasonable and I’m sure we could have saved for it when we found out that we were pregnant little by little had we been thinking of it. Even without thinking ahead, it was manageable!

Here are our five reasons we think you should take that babymoon if you’re on the fence!

  1. Love – Taking a babymoon with your spouse, first and foremost, should be because you love your spouse, love to spend time together, and want to reconnect! Having a baby somehow increases your paperwork and to-do list to mountain status, and between scheduling doctor’s appointments, getting your home affairs in order, and regular life, time with your honey sometimes slips through the cracks. This is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together focusing on your love for each other and the fruit of your love!
  2. Thank – Having a baby is equal parts intense blessing and a huge responsibility. Responsibility isn’t a bad thing, and it’s really awesome that God has entrusted you with this special task! You can take part of your babymoon to stop the chaos of life and really thank God for the blessing of children. Every little baby is so precious and if you take the time to think about it, and think about how we all came into this crazy world, it’s hard not to be thankful to be a part of the circle of life (not to get all Lion King about it). Do this together with your spouse too!
  3. Treasure – Think back to your honeymoon… That blissful time together enjoying each other’s company and wanting to do everything you possibly could to show your spouse how thankful you were to be with them and how much you loved them in the little ways! This babymoon is the possibility of really going for it in terms of showering your sweetie with love in their own language. Life isn’t getting in the way, and you’ve got time to show them! Whatever it is that means a lot to each other, comfort, words, adventure — figure it out and go for it hand in hand!  For me, I really wanted to be “comfortable” more than I wanted anything. Daniel gave me comfort when he booked our hotel. He knew a king size bed for my huge belly and several thousand pillows would be speaking my love language. He wanted me to rest in the highest comfort possible and also knew an easy shower to get into would make me crazy happy. I knew he wanted to rest from his intense daily schedule and watch late night television (we don’t have TV at home) and so we planned accordingly. We encouraged each other’s likes when we strolled through a mall and window shopped and took a renewed interest in each other. We shared ice-cream and cookies. We ordered a ton of room service since we were so tired.
  4. Dream – This is where a babymoon should differ from the world’s definition of it. Remember when you were first dating your spouse and you spent time under the stars or at dinner finding out each other’s dreams of family and imagining yourself there in the future with them? This is the same thing! Spend time dreaming together about your little one and doting on Mom’s precious bump! Take a baby book you like and read it together to the little bundle, and tell your baby how much you love them and all the things you want to do with them! Finding out that you’re expecting brings forth lots of new thoughts and traditions you’d like to share with your offspring – shine that in the spotlight on your babymoon!
  5. Refocus – This is more of an individual and inward action that you should take during your babymoon. Breaking from routine really helps you to see what really matters in the preparation for baby. No matter how much you don’t want to, you’re probably going to overwhelm yourself somewhere between finding out that you and your spouse are expecting and the birth of your firstborn. Whether it happens with the little things about the nursery or if it happens while trying to decide every important life decision before the baby arrives, trust in God can disappear without you even realizing. Take a step back on your babymoon and find out if tension is building up and then decide what can be taken off of your stress list with full assurance that it will get done, but that you don’t have to devote so much energy to it. For me, I was able to stop micromanaging and with that energy no longer sucking into a black hole, I refocused the energy to big matters I wanted to talk to Daniel about like birth ideas and desires. 

After our babymoon, Daniel and I felt so refreshed and realized that it wasn’t just about wanting that break from life, but that we actually were in need of it! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and go do something special together!

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A Chapter in the Life (Ch. 12)

Good Catholic Literature

I’m afraid my link obsession this chapter is mainly awesome pregnancy/mom links so if you’re not in the mood, feel free to skip! Based on the amount of times I began a sentence at lunch with the hubby with, “so I was reading this interesting blog post on parenting,” I conclude that my annoyance factor right now must be quite high…

Why are Catholic Mom Blogs so Awesome? – Catholic Exchange

Common Spiritual Attacks on Pregnant Mamas To The Heights – So good. I came across this one back when she posted it (I was not pregnant at the time) but I never got a chance to read it and I forgot about it. This has been such a blessing to stumble upon this week, as I have been struggling with a LOT of what is on her list.

Tips for a Natural Hospital Birth – To the Heights – I think I’ve perused the entirety of Olivia’s blog recently since discovering all of her awesome posts on pregnancy and birth! It was so refreshing to read from such a down-to-earth first time mom. 

Family News

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Daniel and I acquired an overnight visitor last week but I guess he got the wrong idea about what sort of people we were and the next day he was gone before daybreak and he even left behind his bow tie! How embarrassing for the little fellow. But seriously, it snowed all week last week, and once this week. Can I just say, waddling pregnant ladies and icy stairs do NOT mix! I’ve been so afraid of falling on all the icy concrete at our apartment complex lately… I’ll be happy when warmer weather arrives! I’m not really a snow kind of person. The novelty is fun for about half an hour and then I don’t want to slip in the ice, drive in the snow, brush the mounds of snow off of the car, and take the dog out…

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This was a twenty-three week bump photo on a day I was feeling particularly fat, insecure, and displeased with my new body shape. You Instagrammers were so nice though and you really made my day! Thanks for the encouragement and the compliments!

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I’ve been experiencing major nesting mode lately and I picked out these curtains and got my sweet hubby to hang them up for me. Unfortunately, I do need to do a little DIY to them and add some lace to the bottom because they don’t quite reach the floor, but I really love the color they add to the apartment! It seems much more cheery, and I’m sure when we find some inexpensive art/wall things for our barren walls, it will be even better! I have some wedding photos up but I would really like a couple of paintings in the room to help bring more color into our little world. There are a few Pinterest ideas I have come up with but nothing has really screamed “I’m just what you’re looking for” so the hunt is still on! In addition to the curtains, I’ve also cleaned every room in our little home (I’m talking deep clean) and I’ve gotten rid of two bins of stuff from the closet to make room for our little guy!

In other news, Daniel and I have discovered the series “Parenthood” on Netflix and Oh My GOODNESS, it must be our hormones but wow do we get emotional when we watch it.

Becoming a Better Reader

Honestly, I’m in the middle of many different books right now, but what I have been finding the most educational and helpful right now has been the posts I’ve been reading from the wonderful Catholic mom blogging community! I’ve been reading a lot of different books on parenting and birthing, but some of the real testimonies from real women have been more useful than anything. Especially in making the many decisions that come with the gift of pregnancy. You all know I struggle with fear, and it’s taken a long time to really think seriously about that life changing, uncomfortable, scary event that is coming in June. But I have to say, I am so glad to have found this blogging community, because no matter how many times a person counsels me in my life or how many times I read all about it in a book, nothing compares to being able to quietly read the posts that are full of experiences, be thoughtful about the lessons learned, ask questions when needed, and to feel less judged the way that things are in the blog world.

DIY

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I made my first baby sweater within twenty-four hours last week when I was feeling sick. It’s a little wonky in places, but I think it’s so cute and I can’t wait to see little Eliot’s chubby cheeks (He’s mine and Daniel’s child… Of course he’ll have chubby cheeks) smiling from underneath the little hood! There are no serious yarn balls left in my crochet basket after this little project, and that has never happened to me before! I’ve always had an abundance of yarn! I went to the craft store the other day but I am having such a hard time deciding what I would like to crochet next, so I’ve been sticking mainly to my embroidery projects.

Faith

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Daniel and I finally set up our little oratory in the living room! The little Holy Family is a birthday gift from Daniel from his trip to Vienna, the crucifix is a gift to him from me this past Christmas, and we made the partially viewed crown of thorns for our table centerpiece for Lent last year although I think it’s functioning really well where it is now! (That was a funny story, by the way… My parents came up to visit us in East Texas and asked if we needed anything from home. Our response: “uhhh, could you bring us some thorns from that big bush in the woods behind the house?” I’m not really sure what a mother is supposed to think when a daughter requests a bouquet of thorns…)

Thanks for being a part of my Chapter in a Life posts and remember you can find me on Pinterest to view my latest home ideas, craft whatsits, and rare recipes.

Peace be with you!

Hannah

The Dignity of Work – A Change in Attitude and Definition

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Today, my hands are deep in flour, my oven is preheating, and my house is clean. It’s a rare sight for this household (as for many others) and it doesn’t come easily. But within that clean house and powdery kitchen is a happy heart. I wish I could say I was graceful, poised, and dignified when I was cleaning yesterday, but if I hold to truth, I cannot claim that statement… No, indeed, I can claim the opposite; I have been stiff, agitated, and a shameful ogre. Let me explain…

After a few days of “rest,” in which I was sleeping, having a Netflix marathon, and eating an immeasurable amount of fruit, I was slowly becoming less and less “rested” in the mental and emotional sense, and more and more disturbed. It wasn’t just the TV, or the abundance of sleep, but rather the lack of anything meaningful once I had physically rested my body enough. I think this is where most people nod in agreement and mention something about moderation. You would think I would not have to relearn that lesson over and over, yet with temptations like Netflix around, it seems I must learn it repeatedly to keep myself accountable. Before I could relearn that lesson though, I made my husband suffer through a few days of my ogre side and only let up after forcing myself to get up and clean my poorly tended home. Although he did have to suffer through one nasty phone call from the ogre venting her frustration at her unfulfilled heart through the guise of complaints about how messy the house had become. There was no dignity in my attitude at all…

After a lot of thought and determination, I went to sleep last night with a plan to be productive today and to honor my family and calling to the best of my ability. Having a clean house was like having a fresh start to my attitude and it seemed to give me the tools I needed to thrive. It made me think a lot about my priorities and the point of getting out of bed before noon. It made me realize that though I may not be in a structured environment anymore where everyday I have clearly set goals and tasks, but that doesn’t mean I cannot have structure or goals in my new daily life. I began to think about my calling as wife and soon to be mother and why I was doing both of those things. I realized that my number one priority is becoming like Christ and helping others to do the same. The biggest place that I, personally, will be able to do that right now is from the home. The thought came to me that I am unable to do that with Netflix binges and laziness. I also realized that I was becoming unhappy in my lack of duty, and that I needed a purpose (if even a small one like making my bed upon awakening) and it made me unsettled to have idle hands.

Now I am not saying that I think that I must rush around like mad and clean all the things constantly, or be completely absorbed in tasks and productivity… I just realized that I needed to incorporate more dignity into my day! More virtue! More of Christ. Before today, I hadn’t picked up a book in ages. I haven’t set out to bake for anyone except for my own sugary cravings in months! I haven’t been working with my hands and using the creative talents that I have been given… I REALLY haven’t been keeping up with the advancement of my education at home, whether in spiritual sense, the academic sense, or the creative sense. I’ve let so much fall away due to tiredness and laziness and ultimately, I believe the real lack of work and Christ in my day has led to the frustration I’ve felt slowly burning.

While waiting for the dinner rolls that I am baking to rise, I picked up the book about Pope Francis that I had begun reading months ago and flipped to the bookmarked section where I had left off. The section, appropriately, was about work! Allow me to quote.

“The thing is, at the end of the day, work anoints a person with dignity.”

I read a little bit further and came upon this passage:

“Work opens a door to realism, and in itself constitutes a clear mandate from God: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’ That is to say, be masters of the earth: Work.”

It was after chewing on those passages for a little while that I recalled the dissatisfaction I had been feeling, and the pointlessness I was struggling with for the last few days. It all began to click and I realized that this is the first time in my life that I’ve had to evaluate what work actually means to me without having it spelled out in an employee handbook. What needs to happen in my daily life? How can I do what God has called me to and how can I “subdue” my little corner with work?

Pope Francis went on to talk about balance when asked if we needed to rediscover the meaning of leisure. He spoke of idleness and of gratification and which one we should choose. He conveyed that working people must rest and spend time with their families, and explained what a day of rest actually looked like (and I can tell you that it was not the idleness and emptiness that a severe Netflix binge chosen on my off day offered). It all made sense!

For years I have been spending my days off “recovering” from my workdays. As an introvert, being around people everyday and smiling and talking to them takes a lot of effort and leaves me drained at the end of the day. But the main reason I needed the “recovery time” was because I never knew how to put my family over my job. I never knew how to say “no,” and consequently I overworked myself to the point of not even knowing how to have a decent day off anymore. I never understood that a real restful day didn’t mean turning my brain off from the world. I would come back after my TV or sleep induced coma and feel the same way that I did before my day off! I think that is the case for many, actually, and a big reason people don’t enjoy their work. As with everything in life, a balance must be found. I’ve seen it both ways–work taking over leisure, and leisure taking over work. But with the knowledge that work brings fulfillment and dignity, and the knowledge of what a real “day of rest” looks like, I think more people would have less reason to just survive their off days, and people would thrive. If I look at my role models, I see that every one of them has a healthy respect and even a love of work. Not just the love of one’s job, but the love of working for Christ with a happy, open heart. That is what I want for myself! I think it starts with my attitude and recognition of the value of work… I’m excited for this change of heart.

And seriously, if you’re looking for a thought provoking and interesting read, pick up this book. It might just be the inspiration you’ve been needing all this time.