Even if you’re not afraid of certain activities during pregnancy, you will inevitably find yourself at the mercy of other (well-meaning?) people who are. These people suck.
Andrew has an upcoming conference at a fancy schmancy hotel about an hour and a half away. Fuck it, it’s the Fairmont Banff Springs. With our anniversary falling on the weekend prior, we figured we’d treat ourselves and head up a couple days early. They have an amazing spa, so I also reasoned that I may as well funnel the money I’d normally spend on overpriced cocktails into an equally overpriced spa treatment. I’m cool with it being overpriced…everything in Banff is, and it’s something special that I don’t get to do all the time.
That said, I’m not going to shell out for a treatment that I can get anywhere / any time, for half the price. I want something different than my typical mani/pedi or massage. So I scour the brochure. I spend 2 days looking at it every time I have a spare minute. I finally settle on the “Seasonings: Feet First” treatment:
Massaging reflex points on the feet and hands relieves tension throughout the body. In this head-to-toe experience, a foot soak and scrub is followed by a foot and hand massage, focusing on vital energy points. While skin absorbs the essential oils, you are pampered with a head, neck and shoulder massage. Great for any season.
The site mentions disclosing any medical conditions or special considerations including pregnancy at time of booking. So in the notes section of the online form I type, Pregnant – second trimester and hit submit.
Not long after, my phone rings. It’s the spa and since they have noted that I am expecting, they are sorry to inform me that the treatment I have chosen is “too stimulating and not appropriate for pregnancy.” They can suggest a regular pedicure ($85 for 45 minutes is the cheapest of the three offered) or a pregnancy massage ($199/hr). Er, no. The caller was super polite, warm and seems genuinely sorry about being the bearer of bad news, but her employer’s fearful policies suck.
I totally understand that massage, essential oils and reflex points can all be very powerful therapeutic tools, but surely there are ways this can just be adjusted for my needs rather than avoided altogether. Don’t use the essential oils that are contraindicated in pregnancy? Don’t drill your thumbs into the “uterine contraction” trigger point, if one exists? Don’t somehow mistake my feet, hands, shoulders or neck for my abdomen and jump up and down? Don’t scrub all the flesh off my feet leaving me susceptible to a systemic infection? I mean, really…what the hell could happen in this treatment that would compromise a pregnancy?
At least offer me more choices. Maybe offer to send me a list of ALL the treatments that would be acceptable for a woman as frail as I. I have a hard time believing I couldn’t receive a facial, or a moisturizing treatment. I was a bit too dumbfounded to press her on it, and as I said, she was totally pleasant, so I’d never shoot the messenger. But I would have liked a more specific explanation. I may still email them and ask for one. I’ll see how bitchy I feel tomorrow.
I think the truth is that there is no real reason, they are just scared shitless of something coincidentally going wrong while I’m in their facility and being blamed or sued.
For now, I’ll happily give my business to my regular kick-ass massage therapist who has no hesitations about treating me at any point in my pregnancy and the hardcore ladies at my local cheap n’ cheerful nail salon who, truth be told, could probably deliver a baby while doing a set of acrylics at the same time.