As the pregnancy advances and her body shape changes, a woman becomes more and more focussed on her middle body – the non-sexual navel area inside which she senses her growing baby. This is a level up from the sexual region, which was the previous area of concern for conception and for pleasurable sex prior to pregnancy. Following conception, there is a noticeable shift in consciousness from Moolad-hara and Swadhisthana chakras up to Manipura and Anahata.
Due to the physical and mental changes, it is common that any self perception of herself as a pleasure babe begins to change! A woman can become saddened by the loss of her previous body shape, as she sees her youthful figure slipping away. Some women can become severely depressed about this progression of events and actively try to work against it with all sorts of keep fit efforts and, very unwisely, dietary restrictions. All this suffering occurs as a result of attachment to her “normal” form. Whilst it is human nature to want to hold onto the familiarity of one’s shape and normality of one’s sexual behaviours, during pregnancy one learns to accept all these changes as within the truly natural range of bodily sexuality. Pregnancy is an opportunity to go beyond these so-called normal self images, and to discover new and more powerful elements of our sexuality and ourselves. It then becomes possible to see how having a baby and all its attendant changes is a part of our sexuality, and not something separate from it.
In later months, the cervix, vagina and labia are gradually softening and becoming enlarged in preparation for the birth. The weight and size of the baby may be perceived by the woman as a hindrance, some sort of problem. A problem getting in and out of cars, a problem finding clothes that fit, a problem making love, a problem pressing on your bladder, a problem as you attempt to roll over in bed, and a problem for anything which doesn’t happen like it once used to. As the pregnancy nears the end, the breasts become engorged in readiness for feeding. The woman thinks her breasts will never again be the play things they once were for her man. She thinks she will have saggy breasts for the rest of her life.
Fears about losing her “sexiness” may play a part in inhibiting the onset of labour or blocking a woman from delivering vaginally. For some, the outcome of a caesarean eventuates, a subtle way of leaving herself “undamaged”.
All the changes of pregnancy and motherhood can cause a flood of fluctuating thoughts and feelings, but
these need not cause undue anxiety.A woman needs to use her times of Yoga Nidra and meditation to love and fully accept her baby, love and fully accept herself, love and fully accept mother nature which makes it all possible. Eventually she will come to see that pregnancy is a time to broaden her outlook and embrace a transformation of her sexuality.
It is a common desire of many men, that after the birth, the woman should “get back in shape” as soon as possible, the hidden message being that he has somehow tolerated her “misshapen” body for the prize of a baby, and that once delivered, she should do everything possible to revert to her trim and taut, pleasure-giving self.
For some men, sex in a gradually softening vagina before the birth, and the thought of sex in (what they think will be) a very stretched vagina after birth, makes them feel inadequate. This inadequacy can cause a man to go off sex for some time or, sadly, look for it elsewhere. But if the woman can be forewarned and aware about this potential mindset, then she can develop an understanding of a man’s fears in these areas and communicate her love to him in other ways which fulfil him.
For women who worry about this same thing – reduced pleasure during pregnancy and after childbirth – there is also no need for concern. Most women find no difference in sexual pleasure during pregnancy. Some say they are even more sensitive and fulfilled. During pregnancy, both partners may need to communicate a bit more about how their sexual needs are changing. Together, they can explore ways in which to satisfy each other as much as usual.
And the same applies after the birth. While she is recovering physically, couples can explore other ways of lovemaking and satisfy their sexual needs in more sensual ways. Such efforts can help a man to deepen his feelings of love for his partner and child. Post-natally, it is usually just a matter of time and some pelvic exercises by the woman before her vagina will tighten again. Mind you, the real reason a woman should regularly be doing all her post-natal pelvic exercises is to restore her reproductive, urinary, digestive and eliminatory functions to the optimum working condition. The return of pleasurable vaginal sex for the man is more a by-product of this more important, woman-centred purpose.