Being a massage therapist is a pretty rewarding career. Every day, I get the opportunity to help women relax and feel more comfortable during their pregnancy. I am completely comfortable talking to my clients about the various aches and pains common in pregnancy, even the ones that are often a taboo to speak of in public (did someone say vulvar varicose veins?! Ouch!). Needless to say nothing really shocks me much anymore. But – there is still ONE sentence that grinds my gears and causes me to fume at the ears.
These Seven Words: “I’m sorry I didn’t shave my legs”.
So, why does it bug me so much when an expectant mum tells me that she hasn’t shaved her legs? As women, it’s part of our beauty regime. It’s what we do. We shave, and wax and pluck. And we sometime forget to do it on days when our legs will be exposed or seen by others. Oh, the Horror!
But ya know what? I don’t care! I don’t care if your legs are prickly and hairy cos you haven’t shaved them in a day or two or even a week! And while we are on the subject of things I don’t care about: I don’t care if your feet are sweaty or if you are wearing daggy undies or if you are wearing slobby clothes, or if you have dry skin.
I am not judging your body in any way – and I am just glad that you are wearing undies (as this is an occupational health and safety requirement). What I am doing is noting what your muscles look like. Is you posture in alignment or out of balance? Are your hips rotating more to one side? Is one shoulder tighter than the other? By looking beyond your superficial appearance I am trying to work out how you use your body and how to best treat it so that you feel amazing after your massage.
Might I add, that every single male client that I have treated has NEVER ever apologized for their hairy legs (or back for that matter).
We must stop feeling ashamed of our bodies and the natural hair that it grows. Leg hair, pit hair, smelly and sweaty feet at all normal. The sooner we embrace our bodies and the amazing the things that they do (such as create a tiny human from just a few tiny cells) the sooner you can feel at ease as soon as you lie on the massage table.
Here are some things I do care about:
I care that you make the time for massage during your pregnancy. Massage not only eases physical aches and pains, but can help expectant mums’ to ease nervous tension, improve sleep and supports the mother-baby connection.
I care that you are getting the support that you need throughout your pregnancy journey and into motherhood, whether that’s self-care after baby, information about postnatal exercise, coping with emotional changes.
I care that you arrive to your appointment on time so that I can dedicate as much time as possible to you and only you. I care that you make regular appointments as a commitment to yourself that you deserve time out and to feel good. I care that you tell me if the pressure is too firm, too soft or if something in the massage isn’t; quite right or if you are loving every single second and want another half hour on the table.
So, don’t sweat the small stuff. And I’ll do my best to care for you, hairy legs and all.