It's sexual health month, and it just feels like the perfect time to talk about how "un-sexual" or even unfamiliar we feel in our bodies after having a baby! From personal experience, I can tell you that I expected to "bounce back" into my pre-baby body in a few months - Boy, was I wrong! The thing is, the parts of myself that I once found sexy disappeared, and I was left with a version of myself that I had no idea how to dress, feel secure about or even feel sexy in - let alone be comfortable when having or talking about sex! It really is a taboo topic that most people shy away from. I wish someone would have prepared me for my weighted balloon boobs, pouchy tummy, a sea of stretch marks and hair that never seems to stop shedding - there's no hiding that all this had a massive effect on my perspective towards sex. You know what! I've had enough of going on diets, comparing myself to other mums on Instagram and, in truth, beating myself up about not fitting into the ideals of modern beauty standards. Well, I say enough is enough! Let me share with you some advice that helped me gain back my sexuality, confidence, and a sense of acceptance towards my postpartum body!
One of the first steps I took was to communicate! I was feeling unattractive all the time. Not putting effort into myself as I used to, being petrified of walking into a changing room, putting myself down at any chance I got...all these factors had a massive toll on my sex life! I call this stage 'self-bereavement', and the only way out is to process your feeling and communicate. So try journaling, or just writing down what you are feeling! It'll feel like a weight being lifted off your shoulders. After you've acknowledged your emotions communicate them - now is the time to open up with your partner and have an honest discussion about your sexual needs, wants, realities and expectations after having a baby. Take into consideration that your partner may also be having a hard time adjusting to the whole sex after baby thing!
Now that you and your partner are on the same page, you can freely experiment with yourself without worrying about what someone might think. Try to look after yourself, even if that means taking one step at a time! Go for a walk for some mental cleansing, book an appointment at the salon for some tender love and care - this does wonders for giving you a confidence boost, and I'm sure that your partner will notice your newfound glow! Try going through your wardrobe and take out anything that doesn't fit (you don't need that kind of negativity), have a shopping spree and find yourself a sense of style that suits the new you and makes you feel sexy! It'll be an emotional rollercoaster but defiantly worth it. One more thing - learn to take a compliment.
You've got to explore your body! Think about it: how will your partner know what you'll like if you don't even know? So take yourself on a test drive; it might seem a little daunting if you haven't done it before. It's a step that is vital to take if you want to understand and be at peace with your postpartum body fully - find some alone time for yourself in the bedroom! Explore by putting on some sensual music, dimming the lights and touching/undressing your body, use what you have and don't be afraid to buy yourself a toy (Let me put your mind to rest, sex toys aren't talked about much, but they are completely normal and most people have them). I would highly recommend apps like Dipsea - It's perfect for guiding your sexual desires and body exploration. They even have sexy audio stories that spark your imagination and get you in the mood! Dipsea does a great job of making you feel like your sexuality is being respected and catered to; So it's a must-try either just for yourself or with your partner.
Now it all kind of comes down to acceptance! I'm not saying that this journey to finding your sexuality will be easy because it's not. But please keep an open mind and try and accept the new you, try to fall in love with yourself... and if you are not at that place right now, at least don't put yourself down. Follow the steps and take yourself on an adventure. If you need some more help or just someone to talk to, don't hesitate to get in touch! If you are interested, please check out this fantastic guide to sexuality for mothers in collaboration with Smile Makers.
I wish you the best of luck.
Himanshi @ Mamamade