Tags: In This Issue, Infant & Baby, Maternity, Women's Health
Moms get tons of attention when they're expecting, everything from baby showers resplendent with gifts and cake, to complete strangers touching their bellies in elevators or the grocery store. The daddy-to-be won't let his fragile little flower lift a thing, whereas a year ago he let her move a couch by herself.
Then the baby arrives and all attention shifts to him or her and the new mom is often left exhausted, sleep-deprived and probably feeling less than attractive.
It doesn't have to be this way, say the experts. All it takes is a little creativity and forethought.
Westfield resident and happily married mom of four, Marsha Rearden knows for a fact it doesn't have to cost big bucks to feel pampered after the baby arrives. "My husband always would give me foot massages," she said. "It would only take a few minutes and it made all the difference." (Rearden is a strong believer in getting that guy across the breakfast table from you involved from day one in caring for the new arrival.)
"Sleep is the most important thing a new mom needs and it's in short supply," continued Rearden. "My mom always told me to sleep when the baby sleeps. A lot of women might want to use that time to get things done, but in the beginning at least, it's crucial to sleep. Nap when the baby naps!" If you have other children, ask a neighbor or family friend to take them outdoors to play or to a kid-friendly movie. "That extra sleep time will make all the difference."
"Get your hair cut in a cute style right before the baby is born. Also, invest in a trendy, fun outfit or two that will fit you before you lose all the baby weight," said Rearden. It'll make you feel good about yourself and you won't be stuck in Maternity clothes till the child is walking.
"Don't feel bad about taking a few hours for yourself to unwind and relax," urges Sara Carl, general manager of the Woodhouse Day Spa in Carmel. "You are worth it and you deserve it!"
Of course running a spa gives Carl insight into specific treatments that will do a new mom's body good. "I believe a wide range of treatments can be enjoyed by new moms," she said. "But a Swedish massage with our signature Minkyti facial and a pedicure are always popular choices. The massage is light to medium pressure to help work out all the kinks and knots, but it's still a very relaxing experience. The Minkyti facial is great for all skin types," Carl continued. "It's a great way to brighten up the skin and get that healthy glow back. And, as you can imagine, a nice foot massage with upkeep after being on your feet 24/7 is a nice way to end your experience with us here at Woodhouse."
Rebecca Welch, a mom who works in the accounts payable office at Butler University, echoed Carl's pedicure suggestion. One of her favorite indulgences after the birth of her baby, was heading out for a pedicure with her mom and sister.
"Meals provided by friends," was a real luxury for Welch, too, as was "having a friend or family member come over and help clean up a little bit. I had a friend come over and she did dishes while she was here." Clearly, it's the little things like this that make all the difference to a new mom.
The one thing that made all the difference to Welch was the presence of her own mother. "The absolute best thing was having my mom stay with us for a week within the first month of the baby being born," she said. "There's just nothing like a mom to help you, give you advice and encourage you."
Shartisha Ellison knows plenty about luxuries for new moms. She is the spa director of Transformations Salon and Spa, as well as the mother of a 2-month-old baby. She, too, suggests getting a good pedicure. "A pedicure can provide relief to feet that have been swollen for the last couple of months, not to mention neglected because you haven't been able to reach them."
"A facial is a relaxing and rejuvenating treatment," Ellison continued, "that can even out the skin after having the hormonal pigmentation problems a lot of us deal with during and after pregnancy."
And, if you have the time and money, Ellison suggested a day of beauty. "That would really be best for a new mom," she said. "This will remind her she is still a woman and not 'just' a mom."
Finally, suggests Ellison, whatever luxury or luxuries you choose, "Basically, just do it. If you are stressed and neglected and not feeling taken care of, you will not be able to exercise the patience needed for a newborn. You can take care of others only when you have been taken care of."