Getting back in the swing of loving yourself after childbirth can be a daunting prospect, but that doesn't mean it's worth sacrificing.
This article was originally published on Kidspot.
It has taken me a really long time to write this, like, a really long time. Maybe a year. You see it seems that I suffer from the same thing most of you suffer from: chronic lack of loving yourself. And when I say loving yourself, I mean masturbating.
Seriously when was the last time you could be at all arsed to flick the bean? Was it around the same time you fell asleep, one hand on your boob, the other on your crotch in yet another failed attempt at staying awake for five minutes after your head hits the pillow? Have you, like me, had your boobs on such a long-held sex embargo after breastfeeding for a year or so that you’re not even sure if you can include them in play time ever again? And what about when you do finally manage to take a deep breath and explore your feminine caverns; do you experience the same sense of disconcertment over how much more ‘roomy’ it seems in there?
The are a gazillion reasons why we’re not masturbating. Us mums are sleep-deprived, over-worked and over-touched. Most of us share a bed with our partner (and you know you can’t touch yourself unless you touch him too, or you let him touch you, and both those things are completely missing the point). Many of us also share a bed (in varying degrees) with our child or children, and you know what? Even on those rare occasions when we have that magical mattress all to ourselves, it’s often just very hard to get around to it.
But masturbating gives us so many things we need
Too wound up to get some sleep (even when your kid has finally crashed out)? Masturbate.
Need a bit of help with the pelvic floor strength after birthing another human? Give yourself an orgasm.
Feeling stressed, depressed, burnt out and tense? Masturbate, masturbate, masturbate.
Completely lost confidence in your body after baby? Love yourself lady.
Are we actually all insane? Because despite the myriad health benefits a little getting jiggy with yourself offers, it seems we’re still giving other things, scrap that, anything else priority. So why does something so relaxing seem to require so much energy?
Here’s a theory:
Mums have not forgotten how to masturbate; mums have forgotten how to relax
When sleep-ins are a thing of the past, and the to-do list threatens to tumble from your ears in a maniacal stream of bits-and-bobs, relaxation becomes a laughable fantasy – something that only those people who haven’t had children yet can afford to partake in. And when the relentlessness of motherhood threatens to consume all sanity, the quick fix, such as a glass of wine or an episode of The Bachelor becomes an acceptable means of switching off.
Only these things are not switching us off at all. Rather, while our feet may be up the alcohol is working in the body as a stimulant. And while we may be “zoning out” in front of the tele, the stimulating nature of our viewing material is sending adrenaline around our bodies. Meanwhile, the light from our screens is suppressing the sleep hormone, melatonin, and telling our body that it’s not time to rest yet. The result is a subtle, but constant rising of stress levels over time. We all know it, yet we continue to avoid what we really, truly need: rest and release.
Sometimes you have to be strict with yourself. A racing, overburdened mind is extraordinarily crafty at avoiding doing the things that actually stop it from racing. Sometimes you just have to corner that mind and give it a stern talking to.
This is what I told mine:
For whatever reason, I have avoided making pleasure a priority, but those reasons are no longer good enough for me.
I love my family as much as myself, but I have neglected to show myself this love.
Whether I believe it or not right now, pleasuring myself will make me happier than cleaning the bathroom, and it is actually more important.
Whether I believe it or not right now, pleasuring myself will make me happier than doing the laundry/stacking the dishwasher/scrolling through Facebook, and it is actually more important.
It’s not a race, and it doesn’t even matter if I don’t have an orgasm. What matters is that I lay down, put my hands on my pussy, reconnect and breathe.
Going all the way
The first time I masturbated after giving birth to my child was not the first time I gave myself this talking to. And it certainly was not the first time I lay down with my hands on my pussy. In fact, it took many times of laying down with myself, touching myself, giving myself time, before I was truly able to let go. To come.
But thank god I did. Because our memories, like our muscles, need to be exercised. And remembering to relax, can actually do the job for both.