I knew becoming a mother would change me. But that knowledge didn't adequately prepare me for all the ways childbirth would change me, too. It changed my body, my brain, my priorities, and how I viewed myself as a human being. And while those changes were all significant in a variety of ways, I wasn't entirely surprised by them. I was, however, surprised when I realized that childbirth changed how I felt about my sexuality, too. That, my friends, was unexpected.
I guess I never really thought about sex after kids until I, you know, had to. After all, society sort of expects moms to not be sexual. Whenever a celebrity mom posts sexy pictures on Instagram, admits to liking sex, or has more than one sexual partner, a large amount of people have the tendency to slut-shame the hell out of her. The reoccurring theme is: "Put some clothes on, you're someone's mother!" According to our culture, moms shouldn't be sexy. And as a result of that message, no one discusses postpartum sex or the ways a mom's sexuality can change after birth.
I wish I had known then what I know now, because full disclosure? I'm having some amazing postpartum orgasms. Perhaps more importantly, I have started to feel really empowered by what my amazing body had done. Now, I am not saying that I love my postpartum body, because sometimes I really don't. And I won't even pretend like I have the time or energy to have sex as often as I'd like. But for me, being a mom is inherently sexy, and childbirth changed the way I feel about my sexuality in so many ways, including the following:
The first few months after giving birth did a number on my self-esteem. It didn't look the same, feel the same, and my body didn't work the way it used to. I didn't feel good, let alone sexy, and I honestly didn't care if I ever had sex again. It caused some serious tension in my marriage, but I also realized that I don't have to feel sexy all the time. I have worth outside of my sexuality, and childbirth made me realize that "sexy" isn't the only thing I bring to the table.
After my physical recovery (which took a lot longer than the stereotypical six week wait, let me tell you), it took a bit to get my groove back. I wondered if I would be able to reach orgasm with my partner, but at the same time, I worried that he wouldn't find me attractive. So, I took matters into my own hands. Masturbation allowed me to explore my new body without the stress of performing for someone else.
Once I was ready to give postpartum sex a try, it seemed like our baby had a special ability to wake up as soon as we started. As a result, my partner and I had to get creative in order to find time for sex, and that creativity actually helped me get in touch with my sexuality postpartum. There's nothing with exploring and trying new things.
So, yeah, postpartum sex didn't always mean orgasms for me. I consider myself lucky that my current partner is patient and attentive to my needs in that department. But I'm also thankful that I learned how great sex can be sans orgasm, and how working towards that goal of finishing could make me feel more in touch with my body and closure to my partner.
Plus, once I could orgasm, I found out that postpartum orgasms are amazing.
My body is different now that I've had children. I know that I will never look the same as I did before I became a mother. I am slowly starting to not only be OK with that, but actually feel pretty badass as the result of the changes my body has been through. I don't think the differences I notice interfere with feeling sexy. My body literally grew humans. That is pretty much the most amazing thing ever.
Unfortunately, since I got my groove back, I have found that most people don't think I should feel sexy as a mom. That's their problem, though, because procreation hasn't impacted my ability to enjoy sex or feel sexy.
Childbirth, especially with my youngest baby, made me feel strong, sexy, and confident. I have definitely reached a point in my life when I feel sexy and want sex way more often than I actually have the time or energy to have it. Being a mom doesn't mean I stop liking, or wanting, sex.
I also have found myself to be way more in touch with my body and my sexual needs than before I had kids. Now, I like different things, and am somehow more confident and better able to ask for what I need and tell my partner what I like (and don't like).
While there's definitely a time and place for maintenance sex, for the most part I now view sex as something my partner and I do for fun, enjoyment, pleasure, and intimacy, and not just something we are "supposed" to do.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.