Get plastered during pregnancy? Go right ahead. More women are doing it.
We’re talking about belly masking, or the use of gauze strips and plaster to create a lightweight, durable mold of the pregnant belly. The mold is often painted and displayed in the home. Women on the East and West Coasts have been belly masking for years, and the trend is catching on in Chicago.“It’s becoming one of those common rituals of pregnancy, like a baby shower,” said LaGrange artist and belly masker Theresa Suchy McGraw (708-588-0275, www.artbodyandsoul.com).
The Celebrated Woman, a very popular Naperville day spa also offers belly masking to its clients. Owner Felicia Tyler is in high demand for her belly masking capabilities. “I am doing more belly masking in my spa parties and women love it”, said Tyler.
Costs for undecorated masks range from $85 to $200.
For the mother of all pregnancy monuments, belly on up to Great Lakes Art Studio in Evanston (847-869-5850, www.greatlakesartstudio.com). Besides belly masks, Donna Zarbin-Byrne makes life-size bronze replicas of women’s swollen stomachs. Statues start at $800.
Celebrated Woman in Naperville is about pampering and parties. Felicia Talmadge owns the business that specializes in massage therapy and skin care with a focus on pregnancy massage and deep tissue massage. Spa parties for women of all ages are another attraction at Celebrated Woman, 231 S. Washington St, downtown Naperville.
Talmadge has a great deal of experience in the industry. She earned a degree in midwifery from Miami-Dade Medical Center and then worked as a Midwife in Florida. She traveled to South America with a group of midwives to lend services to pregnant women in Columbia.
When Talmadge returned to Florida, she grew homesick and full of stress. She returned to the area to be closer to her family. She grew up in the Joliet and Plainfield area.When Talmadge returned, she earned her massage license and practiced as a therapist. She then decided to launch her own business and soon after,also fell in love with skin care, earning a license in aesthetics. Using her midwifery background, the pregnancy massage seemed like a natural. She performs the massage on a specially designed table with cutouts for the belly and breasts. There aren’t many facilities in the area that feature this type of specialty table.
Pregnancy massage is $80 for an hour session. Relaxation massage is $65. The entrepreneur also makes her own product line called Emma’s Natural. The body products are made in her own kitchen. Lavender baby powder, chocolate belly butter and cream for diaper rash are included in the mix.
Talmadge also lets her customer’s create their own products at the shop’s Aroma Bar. Shoppers choose from more than 60 aromas to create lotions and candles.
Birthday parties for young girls are another highlight. Partygoers can create their own lotion and lip-gloss and undergo a fun makeover. Sparkling cider is served in champagne glasses.
Spa parties for women are also offered. Women receive a mini-massage, mini-facial, create their own lotion and are served refreshments.
Other services include belly masking where a mold is made of a pregnant woman’s belly and breasts and then decorated as well as waxing, microdermaabrasion and nail care.
Massage Therapist gives pregnant women a place to be pampered
By Ann Piccininni STAFF WRITER
ABOVE: Laci O’Connell-Tibble, who is five months pregnant, gets a massage from Felicia Talmadge at Celebrated Woman in downtown Naperville. O’Connell-Tibble drives in from Elwood for a massage every week at Celebrated Woman, a new business that also sells natural body products and holds spa parties.
Felicia Talmadge spent time in Cartegna, Colombia, using her midwife skills to deliver babies. She was an intern with a degree in midwifery from Miami-Dade Medical Center. Then she came back to the States and delivered babies at the Hollywood Birth Center in Hollywood, Fla., where she served as the director.
An Illinois native, she returned to the Chicago area about two years ago and has since added “licensed massage therapist” and “licensed aesthetician”to her list of credentials.
“I mostly cater to women. That’s what I do,” she said.
About three months ago, she opened Celebrated Woman, a downtown Naperville spa where she offers massage therapy and skin care and sells a line of her own homemade products.
She specializes in massage for pregnant women.
Her shop is hidden from plain view. It is down Tranquility Alley – the name of an alley and a store just north of Jackson Avenue-and can be accessed from Washington Street. The address of Celebrated woman is 231 S. Washington St., Suite 3.
Inside the shop, the massage table looks like a conventional massage table, with one distinctive difference: It has wells-one for the belly and one for each breast.
Laci O’Connell-Tibble, a stay at home mother from Elwood, discovered Celebrated Woman this winter, shortly after she became pregnant with her third child.
She said she loves the massage table.
“I feel like asking, ‘Can I just come over and lie on your table?'” she said.
Uncertain at first that massage could make a significant difference in her sense of well-being, O’Connell-Tibble now makes a point of making the hour long drive to Naperville every week for a massage.
She was introduced to Celebrated Woman by a pregnant friend who had discovered Talmadge’s shop.
“She gave me a gift certificate to go. I’m so glad. I find the time now,” she said. “It takes away the stress. Any massage will. She just, like, pampers you.”
O’Connell-Tibble said Talmadge has helped her deal with several minor problems.
“I was having really bad heart burn last week. She said, ‘Okay, I have a technique for that,” O’Connell-Tibble said. Talmadge worked her massage magic, and the heart burn was gone, she said.
Talmadge also has suggested comfortable sleeping positions and ways to stimulate pressure points to relieve headaches.
Talmadge said she can also help women with problems related to pregnancy, including infertility, and can help in the induction of labor through massage, relaxation techniques and herbal remedies.
“I have a background in herbs because of my training as a midwife,” she said.
The store is lined with shelves brimming with soaps, lotions and bath salts with names like “jazz berries,” “ocean sky,” “rainforest” and “delicious vanilla.”
One wall is devoted to Talmadge’s own product line, called Emma’s Natural. There are massage oils, balms, an item called Chocolate Belly Butter, cream for sore nipples and cream for diaper rash.
“I make my own products,” she said. “My kitchen is like a laboratory.”
O’Connell-Tibble said she was reluctant to try one of Talmadge’s creams to treat her 2-year old son Ethan’s chronic diaper rash.
“I was skeptical. I was nervous,” she said.
But the cream worked well. “It’s the best stuff I’ve ever used,” she said.
O’Connell-Tibble also keeps a stash of Chocolate Belly Butter on hand at home. Talmadge said it helps to prevent stretch marks on the abdomen.
“I use it on my legs, too,” she said. O’Connell-Tibble has also availed herself of another of Talmadge’s services: belly masking. This is a procedure wherein the breasts and belly are cast in plaster. The finished cast is sometimes painted and decorated and can be displayed in the home, Talmadge said.
Belly masking, massage, facial masks, waxing, manicures and pedicures are all part of the home spa parties that Talmadge offers. She and her staff host parties in clients’ homes or in the shop and dispense various services to all party guests, she said.
For information about Celebrated Woman, call 630.369.8500. KRISTY RALSTON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER