Nesting, Hip Mom Style

Ah, the joys of late pregnancy. Perhaps you are pregnant now, and are suffering from insomnia, general clumsiness, embarrassing grouchiness, and mental instability. Or perhaps you merely have a cloudy memory of the slow, torturous crawl to 40 weeks. But do you remember that menacing phenomenon benignly deemed “nesting?”  We’ve all heard of the huge pregnant woman fertilizing her lawn at 5 a.m. Or regrouting her bathroom. Or constructing a changing table made of organic bamboo. My last pregnancy, I remember fervently cleaning out the garage just days before I went into labor. Why? Why?

Well, I’m here to say to all you pregnant and pregnant-to-be women, STOP this insanity. Put down that glue gun! Lay down that hammer! Tear off those gardening gloves! We all know, logically, that the baby doesn’t care whether you have just single-handedly installed a sprinkler system in your yard. The baby will just want you, your boobs or endless bottles, and a cleanish diaper. More importantly, YOU will not care either, once the baby’s born, whether your photo collection has been archived and labeled all the way back to 1982. So let’s stop all these crazy home projects and channel this inspiring energy, energy you will not have again for a very, very long time, into something far more important: YOUR LOOKS.

Frivolous, you say? Well, not really! Think about it: You might not feel up to getting your roots done or  running out for a decent pedicure for many weeks. And while there is a lot that you cannot control about your appearance as you expand to the size of the Hindenburg, give birth, and then attempt to navigate the flabby postpartum period, you CAN control things like your hair, face and nails. And if these things look good, YOU will feel so much better in the face of sleepless nights and limitless spit up.

And here’s another theory I intend to prove true when I go into labor for the umpteenth time: I suspect you will receive better care in the hospital if you take a bit of time with your appearance. Pretend you’re a doctor – aren’t you going to linger by the bedside of the Ryan Gosling look-alike a little longer than that of the balding, grouchy guy with the beer belly? Not fair, but certainly human nature. Or perhaps, like me, you have a cute OB whom you’d like to not completely repel during your hospital stay. Or you may run into some George Clooney look-alike while pacing the halls as you try to live through your next contraction.

OK, you’re right. You won’t care WHO you may run into when you’re in the throes of labor.

So instead of weeding the flowerbeds or rearranging the broom closet, I decide to book a few appointments that are far more important. First, I get my roots re-highlighted, because at almost three inches long, these dark strands will offend the entire maternity ward. I also add on a deep conditioning treatment and cut at Salon Ihloff, and with the little layers around my face, I instantly look perkier and younger. Although, alas, still pregnant.

Then I get my first pedicure in eight months! I don’t get them while pregnant because repulsive, painful varicose veins in my legs (don’t worry, I think this only happens to women who have a million kids) force me to wear hideous granny support hose. I go to the fast, cheap and wonderful Dawson’s nails right by my house. And, ah, my feet feel and look wonderful, so all of those people who will be spending too much time in the vicinity of my feet won’t be thoroughly put off.

At this point I start to suspect my husband will gripe that I’m exceeding my beauty budget, so I think a  facial will have to wait – until hark! I receive a Living Social email for microdermabrasion at b. Jolie Salon and Spa or a mere $39! Perhaps this will shave a year or two of my face – so I don’t look THAT much older than all the other young mothers at the hospital. I had microdermabrasion a few years ago, and remember thinking that the procedure really makes a difference (unlike facials, which, while relaxing, don’t seem to produce lasting results). I see Lori H., who expertly wields her high-grade microdermabrasion machine all over my face – it’s like a little straw that sucks off that first layer of skin (it is not painful, but a bit strange – sort of like having a very affectionate goldfish giving you hickeys). Removing this outer layer stimulates new collagen growth, shrinks pores (a good thing for me: I have large pores on my nose, chin and forehead), and minimizes skin damage. My skin has a definite youthful glow after the procedure: I’m even confident enough to skip makeup. The only caveat? Be sure to be extra vigilant about sunscreen after microdermabrasion, since your skin is healing and will feel a bit wind-burnt for a week or so. But I definitely see an improvement in my skin’s tone and texture – a result that can be easily improved and maintained with a few follow-up appointments (that can be purchased in a package for a discount).

And then I do something daring: I decide to look into getting a wax. Not just any wax: a bikini wax. Or – gulp – a Brazilian wax! I’ve made appointments before, but have always chickened out at the last minute. But vanity emboldens me: Each time I go to get a C-section, I am completely mortified when the nice nurses have to spend an inordinate amount of time hacking their way, machete-like, through a dense forest – but what can I do? I haven’t been able to see that vicinity clearly since sometime in 2011.

I book an appointment for a wax at Emerge Medical Day Spa at 91st and Sheridan (why not at just a salon? Well, I don’t know – maybe I figure if the pain makes me go into labor, the plastic surgeon can deliver a baby!). Tara B., a very professional esthetician, shows me back to my room. I explain to her my swollen varicose veins, and she takes it all quite calmly; neither the state of my bikini area nor my awful veins makes her pass out or make gagging noises. I decide I am not woman enough to try the Brazilian wax, so we settle on the bikini. Yes, the initial sting is painful, but the pain subsides almost as quickly as I register it. She is very careful, quick and matter of fact – I feel completely at ease, despite the odd and potentially mortifying situation of being very pregnant and very hairy. I’m relieved when the procedure is done, because it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would – maybe later this summer, when I’m safely postpartum, I’ll attempt to undergo a Brazilian wax (assuming, of course, I am even brave enough to don a swimsuit this summer).  Of course, my super hip friends don’t even recommend waxing anymore – lasers, apparently, are the way to go, with long term or nearly permanent results. That experiment, my friends, will have to wait until after I crank this kid out…


I gave birth to Margaux Julia VanTrease a few days after my bikini wax. While I was glad I looked my best (well, my best for being hugely pregnant), the nurses and staff at St. Francis were so darn nice – I suspect they would have been just as nice if I had shown up with gnarly toes and eight inch black roots. Thank you St. Francis nurses and staff!

Categories: Hip Mom