Writing a letter to my vagina-- it’s an exercise that I do periodically and suggest…
At my 6 week appointment I asked my doctor if I was allowed to have sex.
“Do you want to?,” she asked. No. I didn’t want to. What I wanted was to be able to use the toilet without crying. I asked because I honestly couldn’t believe that I would be cleared to. A human being had just torn his way out of my body.
I was beyond grateful for my existing knowledge of the pelvic floor, rehabilitating these muscles, and honoring the mental and emotional component of my recovery. But not everyone went into childbirth already knowing these things.
When I got home, I told my husband that while I was medically cleared, I wasn’t ready. I cried. I told him I love him, promised that I’m attracted to him, and admitted that I’m scared and so tired and my mind is somewhere completely different.
I apologized for not knowing when I would be ready.
I wanted to be close to him. I wanted to feel deeply connected. I wanted to be held and cherished and loved in this physically intimate way, but I was terrified. I was trying to figure things out as a mom and wasn’t ready to start sorting out my woman and wife identity yet. I didn’t have the space. I was still scared to go to the bathroom.
By communicating this to Jeremy, I gave him the opportunity to assure me he loves me and he wasn’t in a rush either. He was there and saw what happened. There was no rush. Our love, relationship, and intimacy wasn’t dependent on putting his P in my V, but on our honesty, safety, and vulnerability. Together. As a team.
I fell more in love with him as he shared his experience and told me how much he loved me and none of that was dependent on intercourse.
A week or so later I asked if we could cuddle and kiss. I said something like, “Remember like our second date? When we kissed confidently, but also knew there would be no other funny business? Can we do that?” And this was the beginning.
It set a pattern of communication. Of setting boundaries and talking about what felt safe and what felt scary. I did this out of necessity. And when I shared this strategy with friends and clients, they found it really valuable. I sort of couldn’t believe we weren’t all doing this. But I also realized that not everyone, in fact 97-99% of people do NOT end up with stitches in their twohole after giving birth.
But I bet 100% of us have a LOT of questions about reconnecting with our bodies, our partners, our vaginas, our sexuality, our sensuality, and more postpartum. It’s one of the many confusing, scary, difficult situations that comes with having a baby that NO ONE is talking about.
So we are going to talk about it now. No more suffering in silence. You are not alone. Since this is such a big topic, with more facets than a classic Tiffany’s engagement ring, we are going to make this a series of articles addressing everything that goes into approaching sex, penetration, intercourse, and intimacy postpartum.
This info is for all moms. Regardless of how you made, had, and feed your baby. In fact, it’s for all parents. If this resonates with you, please please please share it with your partner. THEY need to know what you’re going through too. I promise you this series includes what you wish you, and any partner you’ve ever had, learned in health class. And like everything else, there is no ONE right way to approach sex and intimacy, there is only YOUR right way.
So, I’ll go ahead and take this opportunity to kick things off with one of my favorite pieces of advice when it comes to approaching physical intimacy after having a baby.
Are you ready? Touch yourself. Yea, I said it. Masturbate. If you are creeped out by your own body, I promise you won’t have a fulfilling sexual experience with another person. And if you are scared of your body, your body is not going to make it all the way to Sexytown.
We have to connect with ourselves first. We need to know ourselves intimately before we can share our bodies with someone else. And this can be complicated because you’re still getting to know your mombod. And if you feel like you could use some support connecting with your majestic mombod, check out this article after you masturbate.
Like everything else, let’s start slow and with intention.
Touch your vulva. Maybe just placing your hand over your vulva (and the other hand over your c section scar if you have one). Touch your labia. Your clit. Your perineum. Your scars. Your belly. Your belly button. Your hips. Your breasts. Touch yourself. In the shower, in bed, wherever you want. Use lotion, lube, nothing, whatever you want. It’s your body.
This is a powerful part of your physical and emotional healing. Your brain knows you won’t touch yourself in a way that hurts. When your brain senses pain, your hand will respond immediately or sooner. Your nervous system will learn to calm down and start to accept, and even enjoy, being touched. How to feel safe in your body. And if you know what feels good in your body, you can communicate that to your partner.
We want to set everyone up for success here.
Start with just your hands and then feel free to include a vibrator. The vibrations can help release tension in the pelvic floor and support the recovery of the muscles and fascia of your undercarriage. Explore and get to know your body in this new and intimate way. And if you want more information about getting to know, coming to terms with, and falling in love with your new mombod, check out this article.
Grab some lube and start exploring. Maybe that will inspire you to connect further with yourself. Maybe it will inspire you to write a letter to your vagina which you can learn more about here.