Friday, May 30, 2008

Gettin' Dolled up for Baby

The Washington Post recently printed an article about the quickly expanding industry for pregnant women who want to be pampered: Greater Expectation: Luxury Services for Pregnant Women Are Booming by Monica Hesse.

I admit to having enjoyed more pregnancy massages than I can rattle off. I had two facials and one pedicure while pregnant. There's nothing wrong with getting support to look and feel good. What struck me about this article was how very unmotherly all the intentions sounded. People were talking about pampering the mom just like she was a bride-to-be and then splurging on a baby nurse to make the honeymoon smoother. It was all about this being some different time in your life, so you might as well use it as an excuse to spend a lot of money on self-indulgence.

What about the kid? The reason she's pregnant? I'd have liked to hear some talk about how a calm, focused mother can positively influence her baby. If a mom has pain, massage can certainly help, and it can assist with labor. A baby can also benefit from massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, and craniosacral work starting immediately after birth -- and even before via the work the mom gets. I got plenty and feel like it helped me connect to my child.

I'm all for women feeling good about themselves, but I'd like to think they are actually going to pay attention to the baby when it comes. Why not start now? If pampering is about setting a positive role model to take care of yourself -- to pause admit a hectic life to breathe -- the new family is going to get off on a good foot. If having a big belly is just an excuse to try a new spa service, I'm concerned.

I feel like the article made it sound like all this pampering was fitting into the mindset of folks who stick the baby away in a crib when it's brand-new and let it cry itself to sleep -- as if wailing in an enclosed box is a spa service anyone would pay for! If the majority of women are heading to the spa solely for self and not with a healthier bod and healthier home for baby in mind, I can't say that I'm thrilled about this trend -- even though I'm interested to see what more options might be out there when and if I have another pregnancy.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Hi Jessica--Andrea here from the Writing Motherhood wkshp. Ugh...I get so sick of this obsession by the major newspapers (NYTimes especially, but also Washington Post, apparently) with the indulgences of people with too much time & money on their hands...I haven't read the article, but I wonder if it made any mention of the huge number of women in this country that don't even receive basic prenatal care--in contrast to the "big business" of pampering women who can afford it? Yes it's really nice to feel taken care of when you're pregnant and a new mom, but as a society we're failing severely at taking care of the majority of women (poor prenatal and postnatal care; six-week unpaid maternity leave; inadequate child care; the list goes on) and instead focusing our attention on this small minority who can afford luxury.