A New Tradition: Pregnancy Retreats

Posted on August 03 2015

We talk about "Re-Think Tradition" often, but what do we really mean? Re-thinking tradition means drawing from our past knowledge and habits and putting them into a contemporary context that makes sense for today. It's rediscovering and embracing ancient, holistic practices (like babywearing) and blending them with current knowledge. We've hosted several Facebook chats with guests like Anni Daulter of Sacred Pregnancy, who's bringing new life to celebrations and rituals surround pregnancy and birth. We welcomed John Kinnear of Ask Your Dad Blog and discussed the traditions and notions of fatherhood and how they have evolved. We discussed the tradition of cloth diapering with Kanga Care founder, Julie Ekstrom, and had our questions answered about how to incorporate the healthy benefits of cloth with the fast pace of modern parenting. When Caitlin Clarke of MamaLove Retreats approached us with an idea to share information about the growing trend of pregnancy retreats, we saw this, too, as a way to re-think tradition; to celebrate and prepare for the growth of a family, the changing of a body, the pivotal shift in all manner of thinking and living that having a baby brings about. We wanted to know more! Read on and then let us know, is a pregnancy retreat something you would be interested in doing? 

Moby: What’s the difference between a pregnancy retreat and a babymoon? And why are pregnancy retreats so “in fashion” outside North America?

MamaLove Retreats: While babymoons – romantic getaways encouraging parents-to-be to relish their last moments of two-someness – remain popular in the United States, pregnancy retreats – one-of-a-kind luxury vacations celebrating pregnancy and preparing mamas for childbirth – are more common excursions in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and South America.

Moby: So do mamas in the US and Canada have to travel abroad to attend a pregnancy retreat?

MamaLove Retreats: Not anymore! Fortunately, the past few years have seen an emergence in high quality, affordable North American pregnancy retreats – offering moms-to-be this cosmopolitan experience, without requiring a passport or overseas travel. 

Moby: So are pregnancy retreats just for pregnant mothers? What about their partners?

MamaLove Retreats: While partners are sometimes welcome to take part in pregnancy retreats, unlike babymoons, mama is the primary focus of a pregnancy retreat. MamaLove Retreats, for instance, are unabashedly mama-centric. It’s a time for women to bond and celebrate the unique experience of preparing body, mind and spirit for birth. Babymoons are great too, but they have totally different focuses. We don’t try to mush the two together. Doing so would dilute both experiences.

Moby:  How are MamaLove Retreats mama-centric?

MamaLove Retreats: MamaLove Retreats pay homage to anthropological practices of celebrating mothers as vessels of the divine. This includes Blessingways, indulgent spa services and staff members who truly adore pregnant mothers and feel blessed to be sharing a step in their journeys. At MamaLove Retreats, mamas are treated as they deserve to be – like goddesses or queens.

Moby: What’s included in a MamaLove Retreat?

MamaLove Retreats: Our five-night dream vacations pamper mamas with a bounty of spa services, childbirth empowerment workshops, birth hypnosis trainings, multiple daily prenatal yoga classes, belly dancing, Blessingways, and more. Packages include holistic prenatal clinical services, such as acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, chiropractic Webster technique analysis and prenatal massage – all provided by experienced prenatal clinicians with a dizzying array of credentials. Each night, locally-sourced, organic family-style dinners include open discussions with expert birth workers, such as midwives, lactation consultants and labor and delivery nurses.

Moby: So are all those things included in the package price, or are they purchased a la carte?

MamaLove Retreats: It’s all included! We don’t want mamas to forgo any luxury. Our fully-inclusive five-
night packages cover pretty much everything except airfare.

Moby: Why are clinical services like prenatal acupuncture, chiropractic Webster technique analysis and
prenatal craniosacral therapy part of the retreat? Aren’t these only for mothers who have special health

MamaLove Retreats: Along with venerating mama, MamaLove Retreats focus on preparing her body,
mind and spirit for birth. These aren’t simply “feel-good” services. Rather, they are clinical preventive
measures performed by providers with extensive advanced training in prenatal holistic care. These
clinical approaches can produce significant biomechanical changes, specifically involving the structures
constituting mama’s birth passage. The result can be a dramatic facilitation of easeful birth.

Moby: What about preparing mama’s mind and spirit?

MamaLove Retreats: It’s really about the connection between all three: body, mind and spirit. At our retreats, yoga, guided meditation, birth hypnosis training, Blessingways, and sharing with other pregnant women – and teachers who have had the type of birth you want – prepare mama’s mind and spirit. Specifically, we focus on activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Moby: The parasympathetic system is integral in keeping all those nasty “fight-or-flight” and “I can’t do this” feelings at bay during birth, right? It’s also the part of the nervous system facilitated by babywearing – in both babies and the caregivers wearing Moby Wraps.

MamaLove Retreats: Exactly! The parasympathetic nervous system is awesome!

Moby: Where are MamaLove Retreats held?

MamaLove Retreats: Retreat locations tend to be nature-focused, such as private tropical beaches or secluded mountain vistas – further connecting mama to the natural wonder of pregnancy and birth. Mothers emerge connected to their sacred selves, and buoyant to birth splendidly, and in the manner they desire.

Moby: This all sounds fantastic! But what about cost? Families have so many expenses when
preparing for a baby. How can they also budget for a dream vacation?

MamaLove Retreats: That’s something we remain very sensitive of when planning our retreats. Unlike other resorts or vacation services, there is no corporation making a profit off of our retreats. Our yoga teachers and holistic care providers share administrative costs. It’s a joy for them to work at such luxurious destinations with mamas who love holistic care. We don’t markup accommodations or cuisine fees – they are rolled into the package price at cost. When mamas take a look at our “What’s included” page at mamaloveretreats.com they are often shocked by how much LESS the total retreat package costs, compared with pricing all the services separately. Mamas often tell us they calculated that they essentially get the vacation part of the retreat – accommodations and cuisine – for free!

Moby: I’ve heard of some mamas including the retreat as a registry item (along with Moby Wraps of
course!). So they’ll get a beautiful, transformative experience, instead of a million superfluous items. This is definitely an area where we see "re-thinking tradition" to be vital. 

MamaLove Retreats: Yes, there are several ways to set up contributions towards a MamaLove Retreats
package on a shower or Blessingway registry list. We are happy to help families set those up. Friends
love it when mamas send them thank you texts with pictures from the retreat!

Moby: We're really glad you reach out to us. If only all mamas could take advantage of a pregnancy retreat! 

MamaLove Retreats: All mamas deserve it, that's for certain. Each mama attending our retreats receive a beautiful new Moby Wrap. We also include a fun workshop on how to use it, and information on the anthropology of baby wearing – as well as the physical and psychological benefits for the entire family!

Moby: Thanks so much for shedding light on what pregnancy retreats are all about!

MamaLove Retreats: It’s my pleasure! We are so thrilled to be partnering with Moby. Thank you for all
the beautiful work you are doing for families throughout the world!

For more information about MamaLove Retreats, visit www.mamaloveretreats.com. Or call +1 912-247-5481.

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