I gave birth last Friday. Twelve hours of the greatest pain I have ever known as my pelvis was forced open to bring in new life. I sobbed and screamed, cursing God, and begging the five women in the room to do anything they could to take away the pain, even if it meant to end my life. It would be several days before I understood how pain could purify and transform me, and that pain, ultimately, was a gift. So all I could do in that agony was go through it, one moment at a time. And sure enough, as the midwives promised, going back and forth in the water from my knees to my side, eventually her head was born. And then, having never taken my hands from her body, even while she was still inside of me, I pulled her up and out of the water and into my arms. “There’s my baby!” I cried, sitting back and staring at the person I had been talking to since before she was conceived. She emerged with open eyes, and legs crossed like a buddha, and we sat there together in the water, conversing only with our eyes, in the greatest, most peaceful, most beautiful moment of my entire life.
A woman fights many battles over the course of her life, and more so during pregnancy. There are demons of every shape and size. But one I find that shouts a bit louder than the others says that having a baby will take away your sexiness. “Your [boobs, vagina, body] will never be the same again,” it says with a wicked laugh. I would plug my ears to tune out these lies, laced with words like dripping and tearing and drooping. I would ignore the story about how no one would want to be with me, and it would ruin my life, and I would be trapped and miserable and alone. Why is this the message we give mothers? Yes, birth will bring changes, and poor pregnancy health or a violent birth will take a greater toll on the physical body, but I could not be forced to believe that birth would take away my sexiness. “Used goods” is how one man had described it. “I just couldn’t be with a woman who had a baby,” he had said to me years ago. And he wouldn’t be the first man to hint that a woman with a baby was about as sexy as a soggy sandwich in a plastic lunchbox. Was there any hope for us new mothers who weren’t willing to trade in our sexiness for a baby?
I have never felt sexier than after giving birth. I am fragile and soft, and my face is splattered with pregnancy pigment. My belly hangs out, and there is colostrum and blood on nearly everything in the room. But there is a gorgeous, warm baby sleeping on my naked chest, and the room is covered in flowers and children’s drawings, soft blankets and white, stuffed bunnies. Ever since I emerged from the birth tub with that 8 pound, 5 ounce extension of my flesh, life has entered the realm of the surreal. I think I was baptized in the water that day. My body feels more beautiful, my hair adorns me with greater ease, my skin is smoother, and my stride is taller. My first trips out of the house were like rediscovering the world for the first time. There were places to explore and enjoy, and people to share it with. I find myself laughing, and singing, and loving in a way I never have before. And I notice people noticing me. They can feel the sexiness, too.
So what is sexiness? If it was high heels and a narrow waistline and French perfume than I am definitely not sexy. If it was sexual readiness, lingerie, and a rock-hard body, than I am absolutely not sexy. If it was a bed free of babies, a uterus without blood, or a body without scars, then I am unequivocally very un-sexy. But it’s not any of those things. Sexiness is deeper than that. It is life force and health and the creative energy of sex radiating through you. It’s already inside of you waiting to be expressed. This is why sexy has so many faces.
How sexy I felt got me thinking about sexiness. What blocks it from coming through? Part of it is how safe it feels to be sexual, but the other part is how safe we feel to be ourselves. Sexiness is there without make-up or the right clothes, and with a belly that protrudes and skin that’s not perfect. It’s there when we are fragile and vulnerable and completely comfortable with our humanness. We have to feel safe to be ourselves. Human beings are very sexy. And the more we recognize our own sexiness, the more we will see the sexiness in others. Suddenly life becomes a very interesting place to be, no?
I know that I am very fortunate to have had the birth I wanted, without tearing, without violence, and with such a healthy, calm baby. I feel very blessed. And I can’t help but contemplate all the messages out there that told me that having a baby was the worst thing that would happen to my sex appeal. What other messages are they feeding us? What other rigid definition of sexiness have I bought into? How can I own more of my humanness and discover more of my glory? Sexy is underneath all of the masks. Don’t let the world tell you what sexy is. Sexy is who you are and what you are. Let’s take sexy back for good!
to your undeniable sexiness,
Sexual and Spiritual Coach