Jan 07, 2012
I don't know where to start. Several years ago I had the perfect birth. I was at home in a birthing tub, with my perfect midwife, husband at my side, drug-free, and delivered a perfect baby boy that we named Daniel after my husbands recently deceased father. I was happy.
Months later I realized something was wrong. Not with our beautiful child or my supportive husband, but with me. Things never really went back to the way that they were. At first I wasn't surprised and kept telling myself that, of course things are going to change a bit, but they'll calm down and go back to a different normal. That's all. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
From here on out I'm going to talk fairly bluntly about my vagina, something that I really don't want to do, but feel is necessary. Please stop reading here if you don't wish to read about this topic.
After Daniel was born my vagina seemed to had come out of my body. My OB/GYN said that it was normal and would go back slowly. He also told me that I didn't have anything to fear from the discoloration. It was all normal. "Just do your kegels," he would say, and I did. Months passed and things receded a bit. The color either mellowed or I got use to it, whichever it was, it was alright. What wasn't alright is the thing that haunts me to this day.
When my husband and I first decided that natural child birth was the way that we wanted to have Daniel, it was a no-brainer. Naturally, without drugs or surgery, away from the sickness and coldness of a hospital. Received by tender arms in our own home. We just wanted what was best for our child, but realizing that there was no best, we decided mother nature, evolution, divine creation, whatever you want to call it, probably trumped Dr. Whoever right out of med school. Everything from my diet, to exercise and even the music that we listened to specifically tailored to help our child eventually emerge into a blissful world in the best possible way. Man were we full of it.
My son was born on a Thursday, at 6:32PM, after 4 hours of labor. He is now six years old and the love of my life. My husband and I are still married and he is my best friend. He is supportive, encouraging and the best provider that I could have ever dreamed of. We haven't had sex in two years. On his birthday and on Christmas Eve, I give him oral sex, but that is all. I am amazed that he hasn't had an affair or left me. We had been so sexually active before Daniel and I know that he misses it.
My vagina, I did warn you, stretched a lot during Daniel's birth. Even with kegels, it never really returned to its previous tightness. Sure, you might say, it's normal to be a little looser after birth, but you should still enjoy sex. I only wish that was true. My husband was the fourth person that I slept with in my life, and the biggest where it counts, but after Daniel, I couldn't feel him at all. I know that he couldn't feel me either because he struggled to keep an erection during intercourse. Viagra helped, but only to keep him hard enough to thrust at whatever side of my vagina was closest to him.
"It's normal to be a little looser" Dr. Rosen told me. "A little?!?!" I screamed. "I could fit a baseball bat side of me!" He went over my options, there were none. I could get a $10,000 surgery, but there were no guarantees and it was risky. I told my husband it would get tighter as time went by. He's a smart man, I'm sure that he figured out the truth pretty quickly.
Since that time I've scoured the internet. At first, for remedies, than for people like me. It turns out that there are a lot of woman like me. Lots and lots. It's common. Even my mother, after asking dozens of times in a dozen different ways, finally admitted that my two younger sisters were c-section because she realized how much looser she was after me. I slowly realized that what I was experiencing was common and something that no one talked about.
At first, I thought it was shame that kept people from talking about it. But then I realized that it's much deeper than that. There is a stigma attached to elective c-sections and has been for decades. Natural child birth is a right, a passage, of motherhood. You must suffer to bring a child into this world, otherwise you don't deserve it. It is the price that you pay for becoming a mom. One day you are a woman, the next you are a mother. Everything changes. Except, it doesn't. I'm still Martha from the Midwest. I graduated college in 1997, got married in 2003. My mother's name is Ellen. My husband works at the same textile plant that his father did. Sure, we have a son together, but I lived 34 years before he was born and, while he is always my main concern, I will always be Martha from the Midwest.
I miss sex. Wait, no, I take that back. I miss wanting to have sex. My husband and I use to have so much fun. Now just the thought of it makes me pinch my knees together and gives me a headache. I can put my fist in myself. I don't, but did several years ago just to see if I could. I don't wipe when I pee. I don't want to touch it at all. It's huge. Martha's Abyss, The Chasm of Nevermore, The Gulf of Womanhood.
Sometimes I wonder what it was that made me choose natural child birth over the other options, but know that I never really had a choice. I would have done anything to give Daniel everything that I could. I still will, but now he's smart enough to know it. The pain of it is, I now know that it wouldn't have mattered. If there had been some complication and I was forced to go to the hospital and get a c-section, nothing with Daniel would be any different. Daniel would still be the warm, intelligent boy that I love. Except, if that had happened, his mom would have had a much different life. He probably would have a bother or sister. His dad wouldn't travel so much. I would be happier, bouncier and would probably not wear sweat pants as much as I do.
So here is the first part of the secret that I'm not supposed to tell the world: Natural child birth will probably leave you looser than you were before. Here is the second part: It's unnecessary. The magic of childbirth his unfazed in how you have your child, only that you have it. The advantages that come from natural child birth have more to do with the lifestyle changes that come with the awareness of impending motherhood. And if you discount the medical emergency c-sections, the risks either way are a wash.
If you are a mother expecting her child someday soon, don't feel pressured into a natural child birth. It makes no difference how your child is born, only that you give yourself to it afterwards. And if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, try to realize that your child will bring you immeasurably joy, but you do not need to sacrifice your body and sexual happiness to that cause.