My pregnant and postpartum body brought up deeply ingrained painful body memories of the transitions and awkwardness that accompanied puberty.
I was used to feeling confident, empowered, and present in my body. Now I felt weak, confused and detached. Why did this feel like a huge cruel joke that I was supposed to now care for my child in a body that I didn’t know, recognize, or want to be in? I didn’t know how to move around in this body.
There is a loss of identity. A feeling that you are waiting for something, for time to pass, for a sign that you’re not failing. It seems clear that this is some sort of transitional period and yet there is no clear defining marker of how long this transitional period will last, how long you will feel this way, and perhaps the most fearful thought is—what in the world could I be transitioning into, a mother? What does that look like? What will that be like? What does our sexual identity look like in pregnancy or new motherhood when we are in the middle of an identity crisis?
Well, our sexual identity might look a little fragmented, and that’s OK. Regaining strength, power, and control of your body while experiencing radical acceptance of your body the way it is are all building blocks of reclaiming it and loving yourself during this transformation. Below you will find a list of sexy mama and (mama-to-be) tools to add to your toolbox. These tools will aid you in your journey toward embracing your sexual desire, body, and identity as a mother.
Do something that feels good
Dance! Turn on some of your favorite music and jam. Find excuses to move your body whether it’s walking, dancing, or doing yoga. Find a way that moving your body feels good to you now. Moving our body helps to increase blood flow, rushes of adrenaline, and happy feeling endorphins. Something as simple as hip circles can start to bring erotic, loving energy back into your body.
Consider your body
Think about this: what part of your body turns you on the most, right now? Go to the mirror and look at yourself. Take a long look and release whatever comes up emotionally. Use your breath and exhale any sadness, any fear, and anxieties. Allow those emotions to flow out of your vessel. Release them. Now settle into a place of acceptance and bliss in the perfection of existing in this very moment. In the beauty of standing here in the midst of this journey.
Wear something that turns you on
The clothes that used to look super sexy on us in our pre-mama life are not likely to be the clothes that look super sexy on us during late pregnancy and early motherhood. Find clothes that look sexy and feel sexy to you in your now body. There is no one definition of what “sexy” looks like. In fact what looks sexy on you will be the clothes that feel sexy on you.
Engage in touch and relax into it
Whether this is a mani/pedi, massage, the daily application of body lotion, or a long luxurious shower or bath, start to physically move energy around in your body through intimate touch. Be present and accepting to the sensation and energy you’re receiving.
Have your photo taken… naked
There are many women boudoir photographers and artists who focus on photographing women during pregnancy and new motherhood. This can be an empowering experience and a great way of recognizing the beauty and sexuality that exists in you in this very moment. Not quite ready to step in front of someone else’s lens? Ask your partner to take photos of you or take a series of pregnancy or postpartum self-portraits.
Practice self love
In other words, masturbate. For me, there is no better way to get my pregnant or sexy mama groove back than exploring my sexual self on my own before reconnecting with partnered sex. When we gift ourself with the time and space to explore our own bodies and sexual desires we are able to discover what works for us in our sexual selves right now.
— Madison Young is a certified sex educator and the author of the recently published book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex Through Pregnancy and Motherhood. Young has been featured for her expertise in sex-positive culture in numerous documentaries and in television and media outlets such as Bravo, the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and HBO.