Tova Leigh is known for her blunt (but supportive) takes on motherhood. So she didn’t take kindly to being accused of frightening young moms.
The UK mom, who blogs at My Thoughts About Stuff, wrote on Facebook that she was taken aback by a response to her Instagram post about sex after having a baby. In the past, the mom of three has been brutally honest about how hard it is to recover from pregnancy. In one Instagram post, she wrote:
[My husband] was totally up for it despite the repulsed face I pulled every time he tried to seduce me, but the bottom line was that I felt as if my sexuality and interest in sex were just sucked out of my body when my babies were pulled out.
But Leigh’s description of post-childbirth sex as “rubbish” caused one reader to accuse her of scaring young mothers and painting an exaggerated picture of the horrors of post-baby sex. Leigh told Dearly that the woman who responded had three children of her own and a “totally different” experience.
Leigh says that she believes her critic and is “delighted” for her. But speaking for herself, Leigh found that having children affected how she felt in her own body — not just because of the physical changes, but because her body no longer “felt like her own.” As she wrote on Facebook:
Because you see, for the first few months after becoming a mom my body stopped being MY body. It was a hungry baby’s breakfast buffet and tits were out on display (literally), daily.
Pumping milk — especially while using the unglamorous double pump/sports bra contraption — left Leigh feeling like “a cow in a dairy farm.” Then there was the spit-up, the milk stains, and the general feeling of ickiness:
I honestly don’t think I smelt so bad like I did in those first few months, in my whole life. It was a combination of baby poop (though I never found out where it was coming from) and my own sweat, since I didn’t shower for days.
As Leigh explained in the post, the first weeks and months after giving birth are a time when many moms are so overwhelmed that feeling sexy (or even tidy) is out of the question:
I didn’t wear makeup, I did not bother even trying to get back into actual cloths, I wore sweat pants and a large top to cover up my recovering scar and flabby stomach and most importantly — I had a baby on top of me. Touching me, pulling me, poking, licking me, spitting on me, rubbing snot on me, sitting on me, pushing me etc.
Between feeling tired, drained, and having to deal constantly with tiny people, Leigh says it’s no surprise that she wasn’t thinking about sex. What’s more, feeling “so far away from anything that ever resembled a sexual or somewhat attractive being” had an inevitable effect on her sex life.
Leigh says experience might not be universal, but it’s a realistic description of how she felt about sex after childbirth. What’s more, the comments she has received show that there are many other women who have been through the same thing. She told Dearly:
“People think that after a couple of months everything goes back to normal. It didn’t for me. It took much longer, and even now, things are not the same. I just want women to know they are not alone and to not be ashamed.”
Moreover, Leigh says she didn’t mean to scare anyone. As she wrote on Facebook:
So when I said in that Instagram post that sex after having kids was freaking rubbish for a while, that it had changed massively and that it took and long time to get back to how it was, or to just be something else better than “get away from my boobs because they feel weird”, I did not say it to scare anyone. I did not say it to make anyone feel bad and I did not mean that it is EVERYONE’S experience.
Leigh explained that she’s happy for the women who had a different experience, but her post wasn’t for them. Rather, it was for the women who have been through the same thing — and might still be going through it. Leigh told Dearly that “not enough is said” about sex and intimacy after childbirth.
More than four years after the birth of her twins, Leigh says things still aren’t the same with her libido. She sometimes misses the sex life she had before they had kids and a thousand other things on their minds. She also wants moms to break the silence and find time to discover themselves and their desires again. As she wrote on Instagram:
“[We need to] rediscover our new bodies, find out what we like and tell our partners how we’ve changed. Because at the end of the day, our ‘mom bodies’ deserve to have fun and it is high time to get our mojos back and make multiple orgasms (on any orgasms for that matter) our priority.”