Sunday, September 26, 2010

Surviving Pregnancy: Body Image, Hormones and Wildlife in the Bedroom

In the previous post about what to wear, I touched on pregnancy body image. Some people feel, ugly, fat, clumsy, or otherwise totally unattractive in their mom-bods. Others feel ultra-feminine, uninhibited, cute, voluptuous, totally proud of their natural beauty found in the amazing miracle their body is actively yet subconsciously nurturing.
Before pregnancy, my belly had been the part of my body I was most self-conscious about. One might expect that to be exacerbated by a growing pregnant belly…but actually the opposite is true. You see, for the first time in my life, I felt I could let it ‘hang out’ without shame. My growing belly was not just cute, it was a shining example of completely beautiful and exciting blessing.
For the first time, I felt completely at peace with my body. (Obvious note that this is in reference to body image and not the physical aches and pains of pregnancy!)  This gave me a feeling of freedom, and sexiness that I had not had before. Granted, my dear husband tells me that he thought I looked cute, but that my un-pregnant body was more attractive. But this wasn’t about his perception, it was about my own, and through my own skin, I felt like a goddess. And a woman who feels like a goddess wants to revel in it with her husband. And let’s face it ladies, the lucky guy married to a woman who is constantly pursuing her husband like a lioness seeks it’s prey is going to think she is super sexy – belly or not. Which of course gave our intimate life a touch of enthusiasm that it hadn’t had since early in our marriage.
It is interesting to note that it wasn’t just the improved body-image creating the spark. Pregnancy hormones are in fact KNOWN to fan the flames of libido for some expectant mothers. Increased sensation in some key nerve endings and increased natural lubrication are contributing factors. I found that arousal came much more easily and intensely and from things that wouldn’t even interest me previously. And the intensity and ease of climaxing was, ahem, very notable. There were even a few times that my entire pregnant belly contracted during climax, which was startling at first, but completely normal, and according to my doctor, nothing to be concerned about.
And yes, some women will feel just the opposite because of exhaustion, nausea, and the other physical discomforts and because generally having a four foot girth does not fit our cultural norms of sexy. No two people or pregnancies are alike. Guys (if Heaven forbid you are still reading this!) you should know that your wife might not appreciate the appearance of her mom-bod as much as I did. Know that your constant verbal and physical approval is necessary to help her feel good about herself. Be sure to point out whatever positive qualities you can see in her changing body - even if they are different than the things you appreciated before you installed that watermelon in her midsection. If you change the frequency or freeness with which you give her loving, touching and sexual affection, she will likely notice. Be sensitive and share any struggles you are having in a gentle way.

Ladies, on the days and weeks that you feel well, take advantage of them and give your body a chance to speak to you and tell you what it needs and wants. And maybe consider thanking your hubby in an intimate way for all the help he’s going to be giving you with these babies in a few months. After all – there won’t be as much time and energy to 'thank' him then! Just enjoy your free time while it lasts!

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