I never went on a babymoon when I was pregnant with Stella. Such is the way with pregnancies that happen right after you move to a new country, I guess.
I never really went on a honeymoon. (Unless, of course, you count a whirlwind trip around Switzerland with my husband. And aunty. And parents. And come to think of it, NO I don’t not count that as an official honeymoon.) Such is the way with visa marriages, I guess. There’s usually time pressures and financial constraints that preclude indulgences like an actual marriage proposal, a wedding planned in more than ten days, and a honeymoon.
Still, by forgoing these various ____moons, I’ve felt like I’ve missed out on a vital cultural experience. I always felt a little resentful of that.
Until this week, when I created a new category of ____moon. The Solo Babymoon.
I spent a blissful couple of days alone in Ubud, and I realised that we’re all doing it wrong. Forget a babymoon for your first pregnancy. Forget a honeymoon, even. Instead, cash in your relaxation tickets when you really need some time out. Take a babymoon for subsequent kids. And leave your husband at home.
Certainly I can see an argument for requiring a period of connection, recovery and relaxation after a big wedding. And spending a little time time bonding with your partner as you prepare for your life to be completely turned upside-down by a new little human, well, it’s a nice little idea, isn’t it?
But you know when you REALLY need some relaxing time? When you’re growing an inside human person while simultaneously raising a demanding outside human person who objects vehemently to such everyday tasks as putting on clothing, eating food, and, resting our bodies, and walking out of the door.
It is only AFTER experiencing the rigours of parenthood that one can truly enjoy a self-indulgent weekend away.
Despite the fact that the conditions of my life allow me significantly more time to myself than most of my North American counterparts, I don’t really take it. I don’t go out for dinners. I don’t go shopping. I don’t get my nails done. I don’t hang out with girlfriends. I hardly go to the gym because I feel like that would mean taking time from my kid, and maybe sacrificing plans to make a wholesome dinner. Which is absurd, but there you go.
It is within this context that I decided to take some time out. (Also, I thought a trial run spending a night or two away from Mummy would be a good exercise for Stella, thanks Emily for the suggestion!)
So, after an extended weekend with Stella and the Chef on the beech in Bali, I took off to Ubud. Alone. Blissfully Alone.
Objectively, this trip was nothing special. I stayed at a pretty simple AirBnB. I hung out. There was no champagne, no caviar (PS, *vom*), no hot stone massages, or languid days by the pool. But I got to spend two doing what I wanted. When wanted. How I wanted.
I woke up with my natural rhythms. I took an extended breakfast. I walked, (WALKED!) through the rice fields down to the city. I stopped to take pictures. I pushed nothing, and carried only what I wanted to carry.
I met a bloggy friend. Had lunch with a good book. I poked in and out of shops, leisurely and at my own direction. I got a foot massage, and ate an extrordinary dinner.
I don’t think I have breathed this deeply or felt this calm in years. (Probably three and a half???)
Of course I missed my girl like crazy, and when we talked over FaceTime, I wanted to be transported home where I could squeeze her and tickle her and tuck her into bed.
But, I was alone. Blissfully, alone. The kind of alone that one is only able to appreciate after spending an extended period of time being never alone. I worried not about other’s whims, desires, levels of fatigue, or patience. I did not chase after a small person or negotiate the conditions in which it would be acceptable to walk 50 more meters. I did not subjugate my desire to go into yet another organic yoga clothing emporium for fear of inflicting tremendous irritation upon my husband.
Instead, I did what I wanted to do. I went into that organic yoga sore. And then into an aromatherapy shop. And after that, I spent 20 minutes examining deliciously wabi-sabi hand carved mahogany plates, debating the merits of a rectangular or square shape. And that was perfection.
Why the Solo Babymoon is not a widespread cultural phenomenon, I’ll never know. It is not until you actually have a pre-existing child that you really “need” the luxury of a babymoon. And it is not until you’ve spent nearly all of your waking (and sleeping!) time worrying about the whims of others that you can truly appreciate being on your own. So. ladies. Band together. Join me in proclaiming the merits of solitude. Lets make this, the solo Babymoon, nay, the Mommymoon, a rite of passage, a cultural phenomenon equal to the honeymoon to which every woman is entitled.