Your no-cost babymoon

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She wants a weekend away before the baby comes. You’d rather put the cash toward that growing credit-card bill. Show her you can take care of it all with a super-deluxe, whatever-her-heart-desires babymoon—all from the comfort of your own home.

If you’re not familiar with this word yet, you probably will be soon: “babymoon.” It’s a chance for the two of you to reconnect before baby comes. After all, it may be the last time for a few years that you’re actually alone in your house, never mind have the luxury to finish a sentence or savor a meal.

But times are tough, and you cut hotels and spas out of the budget in early ‘08. So what’s a guy to do? As expecting fathers we feel that there’s nothing we can do during the pregnancy—after all, she’s doing all the hard work growing the baby.

But it’s all about the “P” word, gentlemen. That’s right, pampering. And if we roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves, she’ll appreciate both the act and the thought that we’ve put into it—and it hardly costs a thing!

The rules

This is not about you—it’s all about her. And for her, it is all about the baby growing inside. Even if the mother of your child is a base-jumping, free-climbing adventure diva, chances are this will change during pregnancy. Whether it’s a walk in the woods or a cuddle on the couch, be aware of her limits right now. These are different for everyone. Some women don’t feel comfortable in a bath while pregnant and others relax in bubbles regularly. Once again, it is not about you, so don’t plan something she’s not into.

It’s also not about how much it costs, it’s about how you do it. If there is ever a time for a man to learn how to be sensitive, it is now. Not only is your loved one going through huge hormonal fluctuations while watching and feeling her whole body change, she is also unsure about how you feel about how she looks now. This is the time to make sure your partner knows that she is the most important woman in the world and that she is beautiful—even more beautiful— when she is pregnant. Make sure you let her know how you feel. Yeah, I know feelings are not your strong point, but suck it up. Read more: How to plan a babymoon on the cheap

Breakfast in bed

Although morning sickness strikes many women, there’s still something wonderful about not having to get up to eat. So let her sleep in and prepare breakfast for her. Yes, this means you need to get a clue as to what she likes. If someone brought me oatmeal, prunes, plain yogurt, and tea with milk, I would have just rolled back over, but my wife loved it! And don’t forget: Doing the dishes is also part of the deal. Read more: Use food to fight morning sickness 

A light massage

Carrying an extra 20 to 30 pounds around gives an mom-to-be plenty of aches and pains, but you can help. Have her lie on her side and make sure she’s comfortable. Focus on those lower back muscles and the muscles around her neck. Avoid the abdomen and make sure your strokes are light, especially on the legs and thighs. Use a nice massage oil that will be safe to use on the baby in a few months. Read more: Simple, safe ways to soothe pregnancy back pain right now

Paint her nails

While you’re busy working, talk about your future plans, baby names, and make sure you take time to enjoy the parental anticipation. Sharing these thoughts often gets lost in the preparation for the new family addition. Read more: 6 little pregnancy indulgences to make you feel like a million bucks

Watch a favorite movie together

This is a time for chick flicks, even if she’s a fan of Alien. Ask her what she wants to watch, or choose a light comedy with a baby as part of the plot. Some pregnancy winners—Juno, Angie, Father of the Bride 2, and Junior. And if you really want to up the ante, read to her instead! Get all the fixings for a great night in, too—popcorn, her favorite candy, and a bubbly lemonade. Read more: 5 sweet and funny movies to watch while pregnant

Create some ambiance

No, I’m not talking about cleaning up your dirty laundry, or even repainting! I’m just suggesting adding flowers or scented candles to each room, or bringing in special accents to make it feel special and different. A string of Christmas lights (even in June) can add a festive, happy atmosphere to any room. Be creative! Read more: Design a peaceful nursery 

Make her a nice dinner

Or, if you’re no chef, call one of her favorite restaurants that offers takeout and delivery. If you need to grab something quickly, there are also prepared gourmet dishes available at many grocery stores. Read more: 3 eating habits to avoid during pregnancy

You’ll create the perfect babymoon for the mother of your child with these basic guidelines. Actions do speak louder than words, and I promise that your efforts will be appreciated. The added bonus is that you get to spend quality time with your partner before she forgets your name altogether.

Jonathon Reynolds writes about adventure travel around the world as well as food and wine. His latest trip has been being a father—it is the most challenging and most rewarding adventure of all.

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