When I was pregnant with Zach I read a lot of magazines and books about pregnancy and having children. They all told me about how the pregnancy would change my body. I knew that it would sag a little more in some areas due to loss of muscle tone. I knew that I would likely be left with a little more tummy than I had before. I knew that after breastfeeding my boobs would never have the same perkiness that they had before. All you have to do is take a quick look at The Shape Of A Mother to see the effects of carrying a child. I was armed with this knowledge long before I ever had to deal with the reality of it. I was okay with this because having a child was more important to me than having a perfectly toned body. Plus, I never really had a perfectly toned body to begin with so it really wouldn’t make that much difference anyway.
What I didn’t expect was how sacred my body would actually become to me after I gave birth. I didn’t expect to feel the way I feel about my body now. Sure I could stand to lose some more weight and tone up a bit, but those things are insignificant. After carrying my baby in my stomach for 40 weeks, it became something much more meaningful to me. After feeding my child with my breasts for nine months, they became much more than the sexual organ that most men make them into. My body is amazing. I love my body and every little reminder of the time that I carried and fed my child with it.
I have a hard time finding the right words to express it, but there is a new level of intimacy attached to my stomach and my breasts than there ever was before. Allowing my husband to touch my bare stomach now is a completely different experience. It isn’t because of the extra flab, but because it carries emotion with it. That stomach is where my baby lived for the first 40 weeks (and 4 days, but who’s counting?) of his existence. It is where my body nurtured and formed him into what he is today.
For some reason I have a really hard time sharing that part of myself with anyone now, including my husband. I have been struggling with this for quite a while and could never really figure out what had changed. I didn’t understand why my flabby stomach had become to sensitive when touched by him. I didn’t understand why I always tense up when he puts a hand under my shirt. A simple touch, something that should be part of a normal intimate relationship, has been pushing me away from him and I couldn’t figure out why.
I still don’t understand it all, but I think I have gained at least a little bit of insight. I want to find a way to discuss this with Hubby. Perhaps it will bridge yet another gap that has formed between us. I think much of this is a psychological problem on my part. My body, to me, has become a place to nurture a child rather than a place used purely for my husband’s (or my) enjoyment. I could go on and on about this but that would bring me to issues that I’m not willing to discuss here.
I realize this is all a little jumbled and maybe vague, but I just needed to get these thoughts out.
Thanks to Not-so-Pregnant in Texas for the post that prompted these thoughts. I would be very interested to hear from other moms that have had similar thoughts/feelings or even those that have not.
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Thanks so much for the honest post. It is true how much our body changes, but so does our mind. What you are going through is likely very related to how you feel about yoru role as a mother.
I hope that you find the strength to talk to your husband. I am confident that you have the stength to overcome this.
Wow – this is a big step. I hope you can talk with your husband about it. Keep going.
What a beautiful way to look at your changed body. I struggle with it far to much. But you have managed to articulate such a simple path. Thanks.
Thank you for the mention.
If I was being more honest with myself (and with you) I would say that most of my sensitivity with my stomach comes from the physical scars and changes from carrying a baby. Although, I’m in a different circumstance because those that are touching my body now weren’t around for my pregnancy and aren’t connected to my Zac and I in the same way as you and your husband.
Someone picking up or trying to ‘caress’ the flap of skin around my waist makes me cringe because they don’t know how many lonely months it took to get there.
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