Post-partum physicality

Posted at 14:31 on 3 Sep 2019 by Pandora / Blake

Tags: body positivity, kink, parenthood, play, post-partum

My baby arrived in early July, two days early, after a day and a half of labour. They're now eight weeks old, and we're entering the final month of the "fourth trimester". We're both in good health, and words can't express the enormity, joy and transformation of the last two months.

Human babies are born less ready to survive in the world than any other mammals, and their brains are very undeveloped when they're born. If it wasn't for the pesky ratio of pelvis size to head circumference, we'd gestate them until they were ready to move around independently, like calves and puppies can. But as it is, we have this unique experience of a parent/child bond during these first few months where I am, in a very real way, an extension of their body - they physically need me to survive. It's part of the magnitude of the experience that I'm beholden to them 24/7 for sustenance, hydration, ablutions, movement, temperature regulation, and physical closeness. I've been reading various books on parenting and the neuroscience of brain development that emphasise how important cuddles are - and talking, singing, play and other forms of parent/child interaction - for cognitive and social development in early life. Which is good, because I really like cuddles, and snuggling my baby is an indescribably wonderful feeling.

Babywearing - carrying my child around on my front in a sling - has transformed my experience. Being able to hold my baby in a close embrace, rock and soothe them, while freeing up my hands to do other things ({like type this blogpost) is a game changer. I'm currently sitting with my laptop at the kitchen table, bouncing on the yoga ball.

Beyond this introduction, I'm not going to write about my child, or the specifics of my parenting journey, in this forum. That shit is private, and I don't want my kid to grow up and discover that I'd been talking about them on the social media I also use to advertise sex work. I don't want to reveal details about them without their consent. However, this journey I'm on also involves a changing relationship with my own body and sexuality, and that, I think, is my business - and my own choice if I want to write about it here. I'm not sure how easy it'll be to write about my experience without compromising my child's privacy, and I may not draw the boundaries perfectly, but I want to give it a go. This is a learning curve for me. I want to be responsible about what I share and what I don't; but I firmly believe that as a parent, I still have a right to sexual expression.

Body changes

Every week I was pregnant my body changed, and the post-birth period is no different. My bump went down a lot in the first couple of weeks after I gave birth - more than I expected. My weight then plateaued. I'm now bigger than I was pre-pregnancy, but I don't look like I have a baby bump any more.

Breastfeeding makes me hungry all the time, and although I mostly eat a healthy, veganish, low GL diet, when I'm trapped under a baby and haven't eaten for hours, I need snacks. I've been eating a lot of fruit and biscuits. If I had time, I'd make batches of healthy finger food, but I don't, so biscuits it is. 

I've recently started to go back to my martial arts classes. I've only managed one class a week so far (out of the two or three I did before), but each one has felt like a triumph. I'm less unfit than I feared. My flexibility is pretty shoddy - not surprising, since I missed 6 weeks of classes when I sprained my ankle in April, and then couldn't really bend at all in late pregnancy - but my strength isn't bad. Holding a baby all the time is a surprisingly good workout.

Bouncing on the yoga ball is the ultimate way to soothe a crying baby. When I first started doing it, the back pain was extraordinary - a sign that my core strength was poor. But daily bouncing holding a baby that is heavier by the day is doing wonders. The other day I noticed I'd been bouncing on the ball while breastfeeding, for at least five minutes, and wasn't sore at all. A sign I was getting stronger. A few minutes later, I started to ache - but I think as time passes, I'll be able to do it for longer.

Breastfeeding holds and endless walking up and down holding an upset baby both require a surprising amount of arm and shoulder strength. I took a selfie the other day and was surprised to see how toned my shoulders looked. Baby weightlifting: as they get bigger, you get stronger.

My body doesn't look how it did, and it may never will. My breasts are bigger, my tummy softer, my hips fuller.  My belly button has changed shape. But I'm making good friends with my new strong, soft, curvy frame. In this body, I birthed my baby naturally and without tearing. With this body I can feed and nourish and soothe my child. It's working well for us both. I don't look like a "porn star", but then I never did.

Post-partum sex

I had no idea what to expect. Would I lose my libido? Would I be horny, but lack the opportunity to act on it? Would my partner and I be able to keep our romance alive? It's early days, but so far I'm pleased to note that my post-partum self is still a sexual being.

When my milk came in, I woke up one morning and felt like I'd had a bad boob job. My breasts were so round, firm, high and huge I felt like a cartoon character. My milk supply has been more than sufficient, which I'm grateful for as I know it's something many people struggle with. But my new engorged breasts were a source of erotic excitement for me and my partner, too.

Although I wasn't torn, my cunt was a no go zone for a while. Heavy post-partum bleeding, and an awareness of what an ordeal the whole area had gone through, made me not want to be touched there. But a few days after giving birth, I realised I was intensely horny. Watching my partner lovingly parent our child made me fall in love with them more deeply than ever. They are adoring, patient, and gentle, and it's extremely attractive. I wanted them; and I wanted to be touched.

Looking after a newborn is intensely physically demanding, particularly as the breastfeeding parent. I continually ignore my own discomforts to tend to my child's needs. My baby's latch was quite intense at first, and sitting up at 3am, exhausted to my very bones, alive to various aches and pains, and feeling them chomp and munch on my nipples, I realised I was desperate to receive touch that was for me. I wanted gentle, respectful touch, sensual touch that was interested in my experience, rather being just an instrument to provide for another's needs.

We're both desperate for sleep, but my partner and I realised that if we didn't take the opportunity to play nwhen the baby was napping, we never would. It's a strange, surreal experience, making love with one eye and ear on a sleeping baby, alert to whether or not they need us, ready to stop at any moment. Being interrupted several times in one session to soothe a restless baby, and once they're asleep again, coming back to pick up where we left off, we feel like teenagers sneaking an opportunity and at risk of being caught any moment.

With my cunt out of action, we explored other parts of my body. Reawakening the sensitivity of my breasts and nipples, learning to tune back into soft, subtle sensations after the intensity of breastfeeding. We discovered they were big enough for tit fucking, and that kept us entertained for a while. I pleasured my partner with my mouth and hands, and they explored my body with sensitive fingers, drank my breastmilk, and used our erotic hypnosis connection to pleasure my mind. 

Once I was ready to go there, we began to reconnect with my cunt. External touch only at first, with tongue and fingertips and lots of lube. My sexual responses weren't where I'd left them. In some ways I felt less sensitive, in others more so. Things that would have made me cum before no longer did.

Relearning my body as it recovers and changes is an ongoing process. I'm continually grateful for the amazing, effortless communication between me and my partner, allowing me to keep them updated with what's working for me, and what kind of touch I want.

When we did fuck again, it was weird going back to condoms after being fluid bonded for nearly three years. I thought it might be like losing my virginity over again, and in some ways it was - the tentative explorations with fingers, listening curiously to the sensations I was feeling without knowing what to expect - but in other ways it was very different. My cervix was still very tender, and I didn't want deep penetration at all. But in other ways, my vagina was way less sensitive than it had been before the birth. It took a few weeks of patient explorations, teasing, and coaxing, for me to have my first g-spot orgasm. Since then more of my sensitivity has come back, but not all.

One aspect of post-partum sex that's frustrating is that we have to keep things vanilla. Neither of us wants to wake the baby, and although I'm comfortable wriggling and moaning quietly in the same room as a newborn, I'm not comfortable doing loud or more violent play. Especially given the complexities of re-discovering my genitals after the extreme experience of childbirth, it can be difficult for me to connect with my physical arousal. Feeling rushed, distracted, tired, and unable to tap into the kinky stuff which is my core erotic theme, all get in the way. We're enjoying each other, the sex is good, I'm having orgasms, and lube is our friend. But I'm looking forward to being able to play a little more freely.

We asked two dear friends to be our baby's Oddparents, and they have been charmingly eager to support us and help out. A couple of times they have looked after the baby and bottle fed them while my partner and I had a couple of uninterrupted hours upstairs to relax, unwind and fuck. Those opportunities are incredibly precious. So far, our priority has been gently re-connecting with my cunt and helping me tune back into sexual pleasure in an unpressured, unrushed way, but perhaps next time we'll take the opportunity to enjoy some spanking.

Comments

Congratulations on bringing new life into the world.I hope that you all enjoy health and happiness.

Prefectdt

Lovely to hear from you! Thank you very much :)

Congratulations ( and a very honest account)

Thank you! I understand why many people keep this stuff private, but if one is going to talk about it, I don't see the point of being dishonest. It's perfectly natural and there's nothing to be ashamed of.

I almost never use Twitter but, on 2nd August, I found that you had announced the birth there in mid-July. I was (and remain) very happy for you. Then on 7th August there was a Patreon eMail with subject-line: Blake posted "Baby!" which, for a brief time, included two pictures of you and the infant.

I understand why you've since removed those images, but I'm glad I got to see them.

Apologies in advance for this next bit of "man-splaining"; you say that human babies are born less ready to survive in the world than any other mammals. Except for marsupials, the non-placental mammals, which are exceptional in many other ways too.

A couple of questions. Did you find a suitable gender-free substitute word for mummy? Did you consider: maddy? And if you mostly eat a healthy, veganish, low GL diet, you'll have to spell out the GL acronym for me.

With love,

James M

Lovely to hear from you! Yes, marsupials are special (and I often feel a bit like one wearing the little one in a sling!)

'Maddy' was my first choice before our child arrived, but now we're here it didn't feel right. I've plumped for Boo (short for 'Boob Parent'!)

Stand by for nutrition geeking...
GL stands for glycaemic load. It's to do with how quickly a food is metabolised to glucose in your bloodstream. Quick / short chain carbs are processed much quicker and result in a blood sugar spike, followed by a crash. Long chain carbohydrates and foods with lots of fibre take longer to be metabolised, resulting in a steady energy release with no sugar spike and crash. It's preferable for managing energy levels and mood, and also preferable for avoiding weight gain - as it's when a lot of sugars are metabolised all at once that the body can't burn them all for energy at once, and needs to store some as fat. So it's the difference between white short grain rice (quick energy release and high glycaemic load) and brown long grain rice (slow energy release, low GL); or the difference between a glass of orange juice (high GL) and eating an orange (low GL).

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