Whether you are a mother, have a mother, or know a mother, Mothers Day is time to honor those who’ve filled this important role – step-mothers, birth-mothers, and godmothers too. While there are as many ways of being a mother as there are moms in the world, one thing is certain: it’s a tough job, but also a rewarding one. Here are just some of the ways massage might be of service to the mothers in your life.
Prenatal massage is a growing field, as training programs for massage therapists increase and old myths about massage during pregnancy fade. Massage can ease the aches and pains associated with increased weight, loosened ligaments, and shifts in center of gravity. There are all kinds of cushions and props that can help pregnant women relax comfortably on a massage table, no matter what their dimensions. Contrary to the old tale, massaging the feet, ankles, back, or even stomach will not cause miscarriage when done appropriately.
Of course, massage therapy, while helpful, isn’t a cure-all. Massage can’t stop that nosy neighbor from touching your belly every time she stops by, or cravings for hot Cheetos and root beer at 2 a.m. But it can alleviate some of the symptoms that naturally come with growing a new human being, leaving expectant mothers more free to focus on the hope and joy that make pregnancy such a fabulous stage of life.
Adoptive and foster mothers
Biological mothers typically get a nine-month period to prepare for parenthood. Foster and adoptive mothers might wait and wait for news… then find themselves parents of a tot or teen virtually overnight. Plenty of mothers juggle soccer practice with homework, but fewer have to add court dates and social worker visits to the mix. Not only can these realities place unusual stress on foster and adoptive moms, their uncommon nature means that it can also be harder to find much-needed understanding and support.
Massage can help manage this stress, for all members of the family. Symptoms of stress, such as headaches, high blood pressure and anxiety, can all be alleviated by massage. And for children who come from backgrounds where touch was lacking (or inappropriate), pediatric massage can help them develop a healthy relationship with touch. When foster and adoptive mothers learn some of these techniques for themselves, it can also be a way for children and their new parents to bond.
Mothers of young children
Unlike pregnant mothers, who often feel like their motherhood draws too much attention to themselves, society tells mothers of young children that their role is all about their children first, second, and last. Getting up in the middle of the night to change a leaking diaper? Chasing a toddler into the street? Taking time off from work to care for a kindergartener with an ear infection? No matter, it’s not about you, mom. It’s about your kids.
It’s true, to a point. Who wouldn’t make sacrifices for their children? But one factor that can contribute to a healthy, happy childhood is a healthy, happy mother, and every person deserves to take steps towards their own well-being, mothers too! Let me make this point another way. There’s a reason – and a very good one, at that – why they tell you on airplanes to put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else with theirs.
Massage therapy can help the body rest and recuperate from the effects of a busy schedule, interrupted sleep, and the physical strain of lifting and interacting with growing children. It also provides precious time for moms to focus on their own needs, apart from the responsibilities of mothering. And for those mothers who find themselves dealing with the very real condition of postpartum depression, massage may also play a role (although far from the only one) in an appropriate treatment plan.
Let’s not forget the fur-moms
Dog-moms, cat-moms, even bird-moms – I’m going to wade into the mom-not-mom battle here and choose a side. I’m waving the flag for Team Fur-mom, and not just because I am one. You are responsible for another living thing, a living thing with vulnerabilities that needs you to be their advocate, to care for them and feed them, to teach them how to navigate the world, and to just love them. No, a pet is not a child, per se, but they are no less of a beloved family member.
Whether your little ones have two legs or four, that’s a lot of work and running around. And the soothing power of touch can go a long way to cementing a bond between you and your fur-kid(s).
Moms who are not moms
For women who don’t have children, by choice or circumstance, Mothers Day can be melancholy. There is great joy in being a Favorite Aunt, Baby Spoiler, and Super Supporter of all her friends with children, but we don’t have specific days to celebrate those roles. Women without children don’t always get all that snuggle time with little ones that raises oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins. Massage is a great way to get the happy chemicals pumping. If there’s a woman in your life who loves your children, or makes your job as a parent better or easier, Mothers Day is a great time to recognize her as well.
There’s no ‘one true way’ to be a mother
Despite what sensationalist headlines about the Mommy Wars would have us believe, there’s no ‘one true way’ to be a mother – and there’s no one way to take care of your health and wellness. Whether the mother you’re thinking of needs a sports massage after her next marathon or a deeply relaxing hour so where she can doze, it’s all worthwhile. So this Mothers Day, let’s do all our moms a favor and call a ceasefire, honoring them in whatever ways make sense for their own lives.
Get your favorite mom(s) a massage gift certificate – they’re available online. It’s easy, fast, and a gift she’ll love!
And to the mothers out there reading this, on Mothers Day and every day… here’s to you.