No Happy Ending Jokes, Please.


Massages are awesome! Also, lying on one's stomach. I remember that. Sort of. (Portrait of Gloria King, Library of Congress)

The most amazing thing happened to me this weekend.

I got a 2-hour prenatal massage. For free.  It was given to me by magical fairies who appeared at my apartment bearing gifts of fresh flowers and a french-press of magical nectar.  OKAY so that last part isn’t true.  Really I had to trek through a freezing rain all the way to CHELSEA.  Hm, actually that part was pretty nice too.  20 minutes or so on the train with a book and no distractions?  That’s like a mommy vacation.

And I have to say, I don’t even know exactly how this free massage came to be.  A friend sent an email offering free massages from students who were becoming certified in prenatal massage at the Swedish Institute and the next thing I knew, I was lying on a cot wrapped in a sheet that smelled so wonderfully clean I made a mental note to wash my sheets as soon as I got home (for surely a clean-linens smell shouldn’t be that much of a novelty). The students (or at least the young lady who was my private masseur for the day) were excited and nervous to be working on actual pregnants.  Every once in a while she would stop and consult her worksheet of Things she was supposed to Do. “I’m feeling a little lost,” she’d whisper urgently to the instructor.  “Well, have you done the Blahbedyblah on the Blahbedeelobeflexor?” “Oh, right!  Okay!”  Then she would reapply some oil from her waist holster and recommence. It was like listening to dentists.  You’re like, man, what are they saying? I should know more about my body parts. Then you’re like, eh whatever.

Having never gotten an actual prenatal massage before, I felt convinced my lady was a prodigy.  I wanted to tell her, “Bollocks to your cheat sheet, missy!  Just keep rubbing all the weird knots out of my weird back!”  Of course, I was mildly afflicted by the same problem I always have in the relaxation period of a yoga class, where they tell you to clear your mind.  My mind immediately, as if on command, wells up with absolute detritus.  “If I were in the dating world, I would definitely date a masseuse,” I thought.  Then I thought, “Stop thinking and enjoy this!”  Then I thought, “I wonder why anyone would want to be a massage therapist?  All that…touching people! Blech!  But it is so nice of them!  I’m so glad!”

Then I started thinking about why anyone would want to be a midwife, and remembering how after Harper was born I just lay there in the bed feeling so very grateful — how wonderful that people had the energy and stomach for all that yelling and blood and vagina! And then of course I started thinking about how I was going to be doing all that again, pretty soon, and how we haven’t even come up with a name yet, and how we really needed to buy tiny diapers and a new stroller, and most of all, how on earth was I going to give birth being so sleepy and relaxed?  Oh but wait, I wasn’t going to be this sleepy and relaxed, because I wasn’t going to be getting a massage at the time or maybe ever again so I better clear my mind and enjoy this, dammit!  So I took some deep breaths and  wondered whether my back was weird in some way I’d never noticed, or if I had significantly more back hair than other ladies or if something else about my physical being was disconcerting to poor well-meaning whatever her name was.

Finally, my mind landed on the familiar cushiony territory of trying not to fall asleep and before I knew it, dreamy time was over.  My back felt WONDERFUL.  For like FIVE MINUTES afterwards.  Then it was back to old achey bones.  Today Harper watched me stand up and said, “Mama back hurt. Harper kiss it.”  Oy.  Poor kid.  I guess it’s an upgrade from the first trimester, when Harper watched me throw up so many times that she started pretend-puking in the toilet now and then just for fun.  Enriching!

So anyway, pregnant ladies out there,  if it’s at all feasible, get a massage!  It was heavenly while it lasted.  I have  unrelaxing heart palpitations when I think about what they actually cost, but maybe you know someone sort of rich who feels like giving you a gift certificate for one, which might be the best gift ever.

4 responses to “No Happy Ending Jokes, Please.

  1. I am going to get a waist holster, as long as it doesn’t look like a fanny pack.

  2. A woman’s body gets handled so much by Health Care Professionals in the course of pregnancy and childbirth, how nice to have it handled by someone who just wants to make you feel better…

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