How to Feel Sexy as a Mom. No Seriously. Stop Laughing.
You know what’s funny about giving birth? It turns out that squeezing a tiny human out of your vagina and then bleeding like a stuck pig while allowing everyone and their grandmother to force your nipples into said tiny human’s mouth to feed the thing makes you feel dramatically less sexy than you once did. Shocking right?
I think not.
So fast-forward about 2.5 years and GUESS WHAT!?!?! The forty pounds you gained have become your best friend and peeing a little, a lot, is like a normal thing that happens on the reg.
And guess what? You are still not feeling like a sex machine.
I think one of the hardest things to admit as a new mother is that not only has your relationship with the world has changed, yes – obviously it has as you now have to carry a thirty pound nugget everywhere plus all of her shit which is surprisingly substantial considering that she, herself, does not have a credit card – but also that your relationship with/to your body has to be renegotiated.
Maybe, like me, you’re in your thirties – quickly approaching your forties – and you were cool, most days, with the amount of cellulite you had and that, generally, the velocity of the under-your-upper-arm-swing wasn’t making you sad. Now you look at yourself and think that while your face looks proportionate to the woman you once knew, your calves are too big for all the cute fall boots and your biggest tights (because you have reconciled that you will never, ever wear button-up pants again) are starting to feel well…tight.
The rub is that eating is your best friend (no offense best friend I’ve had since kindergarten – but I know you get it sister friend! *insert high five here*) and giving it up means dealing with this new version of yourself and this new version of your body (which might be the ONLY thing that makes you queasy - you've checked). As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently read Roxane Gay’s book Hunger and it made me think – how could I not given the content and her harrowing backstory – about how women often negotiate their sexuality via their weight. I’m not going too autopsychoanalytic on myself here, but I guess I identify with this notion that fat can insulate us from full engagement with our bodies and the functions, both intimate and otherwise, that they perform. This is not to say that fat is a problematic in and of itself, just that one's relationship to it can mean all kinds of things, both healthy and not.
I keep thinking that the answer to all this is eating better and losing the weight but I’m not certain that’s it – and I don’t think that is only my poutine-loving soul talking. I think there is a shift that needs to take place that is more psychological and I’m not sure I’m ready to initiate that shift.
I’ve mentioned before that one of my key struggles as a mother has been to define motherhood in a way that works for me and that is not just a collection of expectations and ideals that are narrow, limiting and, simply, bullshit. Despite the fact that I try to be critical of even my own internalized motherhood baggage, I have to admit, to myself more than anyone, that deep in my psyche, I am having trouble seeing myself as sexy, or sexual, because I am a mother. When I say it aloud, it is obviously ridiculous. When I hold it in my heart, I know the truth of it. For me. And for many of us.
It’s definitely a chicken and an egg situation: I have a mom pooch that leads me to feeling undesirable but I also actively nurture my mom pooch because it just feels easier to exist in a body that I have constructed, rightly or wrongly, as devoid of all “sexiness.”
I haven’t figured it all out, but what I do know is that for me, rewriting what it means to be mother will also have to involve a broader definition of motherhood that rejects the discourse that say women past a certain age have no business being sexual, desirable, or really relevant in any way.
Fack that friends. Forty is the new fabulous.