Feeling Sexy in a Postpartum Skin
From what I read in parenting magazines and hear around the playground swings, a lot of moms seem to have trouble connecting with their bodies after delivering a child, especially a first child. Things have moved about, there are new lines, and our hormones are going nuts. It’s almost like going through puberty again, having to learn to manage changes in our bodies–the tool we use to interact with and experience the world. I’m of the opinion that it’s something to be celebrated and embraced rather than lamented.
I resumed having intercourse five weeks and two days after my second son was born. You’re supposed to wait six weeks, but I felt fine and my husband, bless his horny soul, loves the ‘tang. After we’d finished (I “finished” six times!), I started thinking about why I was so easily able to feel sexy even though I’m 20 pounds heavier than my “fat weight” and covered in stretch marks.
The first thing that came to mind cannot be applied to most women. As a sex worker, I have people lining up to pay hundreds or thousands to spend just a little time with me. Also, I’ve just always had high self esteem. Yes, there are lots of women in the world that are prettier than me, but I still look pretty damn good. I get whistled at when I wear a short skirt. I think the key to feeling sexy postpartum comes in two parts: the way a woman thinks about herself and the way her partner thinks of and treats her.
Today when my husband was going down on me, he remarked that my vaginal lips looked great since giving birth. They’re usually very long, but after I’ve had a baby they sort of suck back up and become puffy and tucked in. My husband is a fan of the short and sweet look. He mentions it frequently, actually. He also comes and stares at me when I’m in the shower, is very handsy, and tells me when he has a sexy dream about me. And I’m the same way with him.
But of course a good self image can’t come from someone else. No matter what my husband says, he doesn’t make me feel good about myself. Only I can form my opinions about my body, though compliments and affection certainly do foster a good self image–and I don’t mean compliments about looking good after loosing weight or about being pretty when I have make-up on. I mean compliments about my unadorned, natural self.
More important than any compliment my husband or anyone else might pay me, I’ve found a few thoughts to focus on to make it easy for me to love my own body. It starts with having an accurate view of my own body. I don’t try to avoid looking at my stretch marks or saddle bags. I look at EVERYTHING. Yes, it brings my attention to the flaws, but I also see the good things. The skin on my belly is a little loose right now, but my hair is still super shiny. My nipples are the size of silver dollars, which I’m not really into, but, hey, there are tons of people who are! Spending a lot of time thinking about attractive women who don’t fit the usual mold, from Helen Mirren to Christina Hendricks, also helps me create a personal definition of beauty that is in keeping with that of society, but also allows me to see beauty in a variety of forms and faces, including my own.
I also think it’s important to realize how fleeting this period of life really is. I hope to god he’s not, but my second son may be my last. I may never look like this again and that’s kind of a sad thought. Perhaps the “I just had a baby” look isn’t what most people fantasize about all the time, but it only lasts so long. I want to enjoy it! This way of thinking goes along with my thoughts about aging. Instead of focusing on, “I’ll never be 20 again, how sad,” I like to think, “I’ve never been 30 before, how exciting!” (I’ll be turning 26 on May 24, 2011.)
When I look at my body, I see a story, not imperfections. When I see my stretch marks, I think of my children and the joy of carrying them. My husband and I actually disagree over whether or not I should have my breast implant scars removed. I refuse not only because showing them off helps me get chicks (“Can I touch it?”), but because they’re a way of remembering how excited I was when I first got my implants and the week I spent in bed being pampered–and they make it look like my boobs are smiling!