By: Alana Ludington
Our reproductive experiences are a full spectrum filled with many colours and shades. This spectrum is inclusive of fertility, conception, sex, pregnancy, abortion, birth, loss and the transition from postpartum into parenthood. For many folks, reproductive experiences are transformational and impact many areas of one’s life. It’s tricky to separate sexuality from any aspect of the cycle of reproduction. Sex and birth are sisters; they are two sides of the same coin! But even though sex and birth are so closely conneceted, open conversations about the evolution of one’s sexuality through out the transition of pregnancy into parenthood are still semi-taboo and unspoken in the mainstream. Our sexual relationship with ourselves is so core to who we are; it can be our root, our home and a source of our self-hood.
So how does one’s sexual self transform, change and evolve as one moves through the peak life experience of becoming a parent?
As I become more and more interested in exploring this topic, I am noticing those around me and in my community (I’m a birth and postpartum doula) who are weaving their sexuality into their experience of pregnancy and who, as parents, are explorative of their sensual selves. One of my favourite ways to learn is through asking questions and having conversations with folks that inspire me. To dig into this juicy topic further, I spoke with my darling friend, Amanda De Moura. Born in Brazil and now living in the magical mountain town of Nelson, BC, Amanda is a mother to her 15 months old sun, Luca.
In our conversation, Amanda spoke authentically and powerfully about the role that her sexuality played within her pregnancy, birth and postpartum. She also speaks to the evolution of her sexual self and where she is at with her sexuality today. Please enjoy Amanda’s juicy and heart-felt (she’s a Leo) answers to my questions!
Before becoming pregnant and becoming a mom, how would you describe the role that sexuality, eroticism and pleasure played in your life?
A: I always felt very free in my sexuality! Sexuality played a role of freedom and power in my life. I was a model from my teenage years until I was 21, I always knew how to use my body in a way that represented my strength. I was fearless about it. I would use my sexuality in my favour.
Did your sexuality (desires, needs, self pleasure, partnered sex) shift and change during pregnancy? If so, please feel free to share how and why.
A: When I got pregnant, it shifted. As you would expect, I was insecure about the changes my body was going through. I was gaining weight and had insecurities about the changes. Even if I looked how I should on the outside, on the inside there were insecurities. Especially, when I was not showing enough and my belly didn’t look pregnant. All the insecurities came. I was nauseous during the beginning and my libido was low. But it all shifted in my second trimester.
Do you have a memory or an experience from during your pregnancy – one in which you felt fully in your sexual, powerful and sensual self – that you feel comfortable sharing? If so, please feel free to paint us a picture!
A: In my second trimester, my belly was showing more and I began talking to other moms and this became a huge support for me and still is today.
I started feeling myself, like, oh my god I am so powerful! I am creating a human! I am so strong! And when connecting with my husband —- the intimacy went deeper, we wanted to pleasure each other, we were so connected.
I felt so sexy and I started to share myself again as I always had. I would record photos of myself in my full power as I was pregnant, naked and exploring my sexuality. I am the same person, sexuality is always important for my self esteem. I would share the photos on social media, just as I had before becoming pregnant. Coming form a catholic family and coming from a sexist country, Brazil, I was scared of feeling judged by family posting these sensual photos of myself while pregnant. I did get some bad comments about it but I felt like myself again. I’m still me and I’m honouring myself by doing that. I had reconnected with my freedom and my power (I’ve created a human!). I had shifted to this powerful place where I knew, I am a goddess, I am so beautiful. I’m powerful and sexy.
Now that you have moved through the portal of birth (and are a mother to a sweet son), what is your relationship like with your body and your pleasure these days?
A: Beginning of postpartum was a real bitch. I had the baby blues really strong. My belly was softer and my boobs were different after breastfeeding but again, I just really tried to embrace all these changes. My body had held my son and my body was nourishing him. I was able to give life, what a gift! I used this knowing as an empowering tool and came back to my sexual self. And now my sex life with my partner, now that we have created a family together… every time we make love we feel like “oh my god, this is my person!”. It is really beautiful.
If you could go back and whisper one piece of wisdom to your past self, what would you whisper to her?
A: Be yourself. Be fearless. It sounds cliche but it’s true. When you’re pregnant and a mom, it’s not wrong to be sexual, to feel sexy, to have pleasure, to touch yourself, to feel yourself. You can use your sexuality as a tool to be empowered. It’s a gift. It is a transforming process. Before being a mom, you are still yourself. Be true to who you are. Fear sometimes is just a friend that is misunderstood. Trust the process and your gut. Be your true self. Be sexy. Trust yourself.