Before kids, I was comfortable in my skin. My husband thought I was beautiful, and frankly, I agreed. It’s easy to enjoy intimacy when you feel beautiful. Now, my husband still tells me I’m beautiful, and many days, well, I think he’s a liar. It’s harder to hop in bed with enthusiasm when I’m completely exhausted, touched out, and my body feels both stretched out and deflated.
I am on a journey not to change my body, although society might tell me that I can and should “bounce back,” but to love my body exactly as she stands today. I do not want to love my body because it is beautiful; I want to see it as beautiful because I love it, and move forward with my relationship with myself and my husband from that place of love.
I am slowly warming to the concept that my body changed (dramatically) to bring children into this world, and my husband was fully unaffected. Both pregnant and postpartum, my body was almost unrecognizable to me. My husband? Peacefully sitting on the couch with his Same Old Body.
After having my second child, I finally tired of the narrative that pregnancy and childbirth, and all the associated body changes, are a vulnerability or negative aspect of the female experience. Human beings are future-oriented beings. Throughout our lives, we are
always planning, hoping, evolving. We’re not meant to be stuck at 21 emotionally, nor are we meant to be stuck at 21 physically. My body has progressed to a new stage — mother — that fits my reality. I’m embracing change because change is at the core of the human experience.
The final thing I want to impart on you (and I’m telling this to myself, too) is that it’s not so serious. I don’t mean to diminish body trauma or physical pain in intimacy, and if that is a part of your story you deserve to seek out and engage professional healing. But once you’re ready for it, sex should be fun. We can place so much weight and importance on sex — it has to be perfect, we have to be perfect, the state of our sex life says something about the health of our marriage and many other narratives. It doesn’t need to be that serious! We can bring back laughter. We can remember every time we hit the sheets doesn’t have to be the best time. We can remember we’re all just human. We’re both beautiful and flawed, we’re both fun and tired, and most of all, we are worthy of love and joy.