Since Becoming A Mom, I’ve Struggled To Feel Like A Sexual Being

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During my first pregnancy, I came to see my body as no longer mine; instead, I viewed it as belonging to my child. My stomach was a shelter that housed him. My job was to protect the precious cargo growing inside of it. Rubbing lotion over my belly became an act of love. My skin was a barrier against the harsh world. My breasts began to grow larger, alerting the world of the impending arrival of my child. Their swelling proclaimed nourishment was brewing.

I noticed a shift in intimacy with my husband during that time, as well. Our sexual movements felt awkward around my belly. I felt uncomfortable when he began to stroke my stomach or my breasts while we were sexual. If we were sitting on the couch and my husband rubbed his hands across my stomach while speaking to my son, I felt pride. But, in the heat of desire, I felt that I was betraying my son; he was completely dependent on my body for everything, from safety to the nourishment that would help him grow. By sharing my body with my husband, I felt like I was somehow taking something away from my child.

After my son was born, he still depended on my body. My breasts ached as he cried and eased as he nursed. My stomach was the base of support as I rocked him to sleep. I began to feel as if I was my son’s possession. I thought that after his birth I would feel comfortable with my husband touching me during intercourse, but that wasn’t the case. My shirt became a barrier against my husband’s touch. I wasn’t ashamed by the squishy texture of my abs or the stretch marks that lined my body; rather, I felt disgusted that the parts of my body that gave my son nourishment and comfort were being used sexually.

I thought that this shame would end as my child grew but I was wrong. I had two more children and still I recoiled every time my husband touched my stomach or breasts. What were once sources of arousal for both of us were now off limits. How could I allow my child to lay his head on my stomach or let my infant daughter place her hand on my breast and not feel shame? I longed to have sex in the shower. I wanted to take my shirt off and feel desire as my breasts were touched. However, motherhood seemed to have robbed me of the ability to do these things without feeling repulsed.

I felt so incredibly humiliated by what I was feeling that I refused to talk to anyone about it. The world sees my issues with depression. I couldn’t bear adding another failure to the pile. I tried to find solace through the internet. My anonymity gave me the courage to look for help, but I couldn’t find any answers. I read about mothers that were ashamed by the appearance of their bodies; however, none of them talked about the issues I was having.

I’m learning to merge my body as a mother and a sexual being into one with focus and practice; admitting my struggles has become freeing. My kids are becoming older, and their neediness of my body is fading. The lack of their desire for my body is allowing me to reclaim it as my own. I’m discovering that my body is a powerful temple with many dimensions that create a whole.

Photo: Getty