Prior to becoming pregnant, I was what you might call an admirer of beauty products. I certainly found them alluring–I could easily spend ages in Lush and Sephora poring over products, and imagining how the potions and lotions might work their magic on me. Occasionally, temptation would overcome me, and I would buy several products and bring them home. I promised myself I would begin a new beauty regimen, but mostly the products just stayed on the shelf, looking attractive and promising but going unused. I tended to favor things that were more overtly aesthetic, like clothes and makeup (what can I say, I’m a girly girl).
The same was true for spa treatments. I love going to the spa, and swear I’m going to put aside money to make massages a regular treat for my tight shoulders, but it never seems to happen.
Since becoming pregnant though, all those theoretical treats (wouldn’t it be nice if I could have bright undereyes with no shadows?) have become real necessities. One thing I have learned is that even easier pregnancies take over your body. I’d consider myself pretty lucky–my morning sickness was just nausea, I was full of get up and go in my second trimester, I’ve not been incapacitated in the third. But there are still a bevy of discomforts–heartburn, painfully swollen feet, a belly that itches horribly from stretching so much, painful, uncomfortable sleep.
MR very sweetly for my birthday in April bought all kinds of pregnancy comfort products, which really touched me, but in the back of my mind I wondered if I would use. Turns out they’ve been essentials–stretch mark oil and foot spray and a pregnancy pillow that I literally could not sleep without. Then I added to my stores with more foot and hand creams, and moisturizers for my stomach. And I find myself using them daily like I never have before, and taking long soaks in the bath. I think in the past 9 months I’ve taken more baths than I have since I was a kid.
I’m coming to rather like the ritual of it, and one of the neat things is seeing the benefit. MR is being a very good husband and massages my swollen feet, and every time he does that I see the difference. Sleep is kind of a miserable experience at the moment, filled with pain and discomfort and what seems like hourly trips to the bathroom, but rubbing a bit of cool cream into my stomach to relieve the itching feels both relaxing and indulgent.
I think the takeaway here is that these little indulgent rituals are something worth preserving. I’ve mentioned before how ‘experienced’ parents love to warn with wide eyes about how once you have a baby, say goodbye to everything, and how at breastfeeding class, they made me worry I would be a milk cow. But even if I am, there’s five minutes to rub some cream into my feet, or sit with my husband and give him a neck rub, or have him give me one (I don’t think I can count on the foot rubs continuing post partem). And it’s worth finding those five minutes to feel human again–or still, depending on how you look at it.