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Andy is one of the Co-Founders of The Travel Hub. During his wife's recent pregnancy, Andy was confronted with the concept of the "Babymoon". Read his guide for (un)expectant fathers.
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of a couple’s life – filled with excitement, nerves and anticipation. There is almost a feeling of guilt that comes too - that your wife is going to go through these intense physical and emotional changes and then of course, the actual birth. As a man you want to share some of this, but feel totally helpless – there comes a time when you just know that back rubs just aren’t enough!
Without doubt, for both partners, a certain sense of reality sets in during these 9 or so months. As expectant fathers, we tend to start thinking a lot about the responsibilities that come with a growing family – that duty to “provide and protect”. Men will notice an increased credit card activity, a spike in online purchases and trips to the baby store to buy items you had never known existed. The reality that the care-free spending of your youth is over and you start thinking about mouths to feed, school fees and paternal responsibilities.
I, quite foolishly, arrived home early to the tail end of my wife’s Babyshower and admitted to a room filled with clucky women that I did not known what a “Babymoon” was! Men out there, when your wife becomes pregnant, the amount of time she spends on social media, blogs and baby forums is going to go into over-drive. You are going to be faced with terms like “Babymoon” and “push gift”, so have a better answer than “I have no idea what you’re talking about” in front of 20 or so women. This leaves you in the extremely vulnerable position of having very little control in the planning process.
In all honesty, I need very little convincing to go on a vacation at the best of times, so if it wants to be under the guise of a “Babymoon”, let that be the case. Its true that you have so many things to plan during pregnancy, however, planning this short getaway provided a welcome distraction from what was probably over-thinking about other things. Are “Babymoon’s” something that is all about the pregnant woman…….probably, and to an extent it should be. But it is also going to be an experience to share as a couple at a time when you are probably being inundated with advice, opinions and information.
Naturally, people become apprehensive about travel, flying and being away from their support during pregnancy. Fortunately for us, we had a wonderful obstetrician who was very calm and practical. She convinced us one of the biggest risks during pregnancy is stress, so a trip that would reduce this load would actually be beneficial. She gave us plenty of information about when during pregnancy to fly and what destinations suited a “Babymoon”. Funnily enough she was much more familiar with the term than I had been.
My wife had always wanted to visit the Maldives - a destination that almost defines relaxation with its white sandy beaches, magnetic blue waters and iconic over-water bungalows. It is one of those places when you scroll down your Instagram feed that you can recognize the location just by the photo!
The Maldives was a relatively short flight from Dubai and we made a decision to choose a resort that was based quite close to the main island, airport and hospital. Whilst our pregnancy had been healthy, I definitely wanted to be close enough to help if there was any problem. We found Taj Exotica Resort & Spa through a Bookings.com search – it had a special on rates and amazing reviews. Most importantly, it looked like exactly the sort of place we could both switch off. If you are nervous about deciding on a destination, talk it through with your obstetrician. Consider places within a short flight or driving distance. Ask if there are any potential health risks, weather conditions or medical situations you need to be aware of.
Flying during pregnancy is considered safe up until 36. Most airlines do request a medical certificate from your obstetrician, although this is mainly to confirm that the pregnancy does fall into these safe dates. Your doctor will also recommend things like ensuring your wife stays well hydrated, wears compressions socks/leggings and gets up and walks around during the flight – all things she is probably doing already at home.
Staying at the Taj in the Maldives could not have been a more perfect choice for a Babymoon. From the moment you hop on the boat to take you from the airport to the island, you realize that The Maldives is exactly what it says on the label! The water you see in all those Instagram photos doesn’t need filters, its strikingly blue!
The Maldives is unique in that it is spread over a huge expanse of water, yet the actual landspace is tiny. The Indian Ocean country is made up of 26 atolls and over 1000 sand islands. Even the capital, Male, is only 1.7km long – it is far better suited to relaxing on a beach than hiking up mountains!
The Taj Exotica is on a small private island around 20 minutes by boat from Male Airport. It is a perfect contrast of lush green vegetation, white sandy beaches and metallic blue water. There are luxury beach-side villas and a series of iconic over-water bungalows. There is something incredibly unique about laying in bed at night, listening to waves lap against the foundations of your room. I simply love the over-water bungalows. You wake in the morning open the doors out onto the Indian Ocean to drink your coffee on the private deck. Each morning we grabbed the snorkel and mask and hopped into the lagoon that was surrounded by the bungalows. Its ok to be late for breakfast when you have this excuse each day.
The Maldives is the sort of place where the most difficult decisions include whether to lay on the beach or in the hammock! At the Taj, they even provide you with a personal butler to assist in making all the decisions – it would actually be challenging to be stressed in this sort of place! Our Butler, Nadeem, planned out any activities we wanted to do and the remainder of the time was left to lounging on the beach!
The Taj has a great wellness center with a range of expeirnces including massages and facial. My wife enjoyed this one of the mornings while I snuck away for a quick SCUBA dive. Diving is something we would normally do together, but isn’t safe during pregnancy. Fortunately, my wife knows how much I love an opportunity to get under the water and the Maldives is one of the most amazing places to dive!
Nadeem took us out on a small boat one evening, where we watched the sunset and did a spot of traditional fishing with handlines. The next day, the chef at the resort took us through a cooking class in Maldivian cuisine, preparing the fresh fish in 3 styles. There is a range of dining options at Taj Exotica including casual through to fine dining. The Deep End restaurant was truly amazing, with the al fresco seating and candle lit tables. However we both agreed that the fresh fish prepared in front of us was our favourite meal – there is something special about fresh local cuisine.
Another thing we did was spend an hour with local photographer Jcob Nasyr (Instagram: @jcobnasyr). Jcob took some amazing photos and it was really nice to have pictures taken together that weren't selfies. Its a special time as a couple to have a few pics with the "bump" and they are memories we are extremely fond of.
Our Maldives Babymoon was one of the rare times that we have both simply “switched off” and truly relaxed. We found ourselves having those normal conversations again and not stressing about what people thought of our baby name choices.
Things are going to change in all sorts of exciting ways very soon, but time to yourselves is going to be a memory, so make it a great memory!
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