I found your site because I am 30 weeks pregnant and shocked that I am having such a hard time adjusting to my changing body.
I am 31 years old and this is my first pregnancy. My partner and I decided this July that we would stop using birth control. We were so in love and both felt like we couldn’t hold it back anymore. I think we both sensed the lifeforce of this baby straining at the gates we had placed up, desperate to burst through. Although we had only been together for 2 years in total with just over a year of living together at the time, neither of us had the strength or desire to resist this force any longer. Two weeks later we were pregnant! We were shocked and proud that it happened so quickly but mostly we felt really blessed. Although in some ways it would have been “easier” to have had a few months of trying-to-get-pregnant limbo to integrate the idea of a baby on the way and absorb the seriousness of what we were doing, I am well aware of how blessed we are to have had such an easy time conceiving this little being.
I have been really lucky to have had a seamless pregnancy. I was a little tired and a little nauseous initially, but it completely vanished at about 9 weeks, and then we heard the little heartbeat loud and strong at 10 weeks, which was a tremendous relief as I was really conscious of the possibilty of miscarriage. Otherwise my energy has been good and I am feeling strong and healthy. My uterus got really big really quickly–so much so that everyone was fussing about twins for ages. But then the pace of growth got on track, and tests showed that there was only one healthy baby. I have continued to grow at a nice steady pace, take my vitamins, and rub my belly with oils but mostly I have just felt like a completely normal person.
The worst part of this pregnancy has been what it has done to our sex life. We used to have a frequent, effortless and pleasurable sex life–but even more importantly, I used to feel that my partner truly
desired me. He would spend time on my body when we had sex, and demonstrate his attraction to me often–with deep kisses or crude comments or grabs at my body that I would chide him for but that also
delighted me. His desire for me delighted me.
Since I’ve been pregnant, the most frequently we have had sex is probably every 10 days and it has been as long as 3 weeks. Most of the times we do have sex it ends up feeling really unsatisfying as I feel like he is only doing it to please me as he knows how upset I am by this, and not out of his own desire. But even worse, his demonstrations of attraction and lust in our day-to-day interactions have vanished. He is still very loving and attentive to me, we have plenty of cuddles on the couch or in bed, and we easily tell each
other that we love each other as many as 20 times a day. We have more love between us than ever before, but the loss of the lust and sex has been a huge source of sadness and depression for me.
We have talked about this many times. He always says that he is still attracted to me, but I don’t believe it because I don’t see him acting on it. He also says that he is having a hard time wrapping his head around how much he loves me with a desire to have sex with me–as though sex is something dirty or negative that will tarnish me. To some extent, I am sympathetic to his own process of adjustment as our relationship changes as we become parents together, but I also want him to just grow up and realize that sex is normal and healthy and something two healthy adults that love each other can share. I wish it was as important to him as it is to me, and I wish he understood how much fear this gives me about the future of our relationship. I think sex and attraction are the glue of a relationship, and it absolutely terrifies me that we have lost it so soon—especially as we embark on this new challenge of parenting when we are going to need that glue more than ever. It just breaks my heart when I read women saying that their husbands “can’t keep their hands off them.” I so wish I had that.
This also makes me wish that we had waited longer in our relationship before having a baby. Even though we still love each other deeply, I feel very vulnerable in this relationship knowing that he isn’t attracted to me anymore. I wish we’d had more time with my old body and our old sex life to build a deeper foundation. I also wish there had been more time for him to really get to know and love me for all the non-bodily things about my personality and soul because I realize now that those things are what I really have to sustain his attention with. I know the true reasons he is with me are indeed all those non-bodily things, but I still feel so vulnerable. I can’t help but think that another year or two to enjoy and develop what we had might
have been better.
I am now 30 weeks pregnant. I have this gorgeous big belly that I astounds both of us. My breasts are huge and I know many men would be thrilled with them. These are both changes that I expected, and I
suppose that are socially sanctioned- even supermodels get a big belly & boobs. But lately I have started gaining weight on the rest of my body and noticing horrible new developments like cellulite, plus I have gained nearly 30 lbs already– and I am really struggling with this. Even though I am a midwife and deal with pregnancy every day, I honestly and sincerely never expected that I would gain excessively, or in places other than my belly & boobs. This scares me with an intensity that shocks me.
Obviously my insecurity about my partner’s attraction to me is probably a huge reason for why I am having a hard time integrating this. At this point, I have pretty much given up on forcing the sex issue as there is certainly nothing less attractive than someone demanding you find them attractive. But I feel like my hopes that he will be attracted to me again after the baby is born are dwindling with each pound and each patch of cellulite. I desperately want my man to be attracted to me again.
As well, I know that excessive weight gain is associated with all sorts of obstetrical complications that I really want to avoid both for myself and obviously for my baby, and that might prevent me from having the homebirth I have dreamed about since I was a teenager. I am mature enough to realize that if my dream homebirth doesn’t happen, then I am still blessed a million-fold to be having a beautiful baby with a man that loves me and is committed to me, but I can’t shake the sense of obstetrical doom-and-gloom that I sense as I see my legs ballooning so early on.
And the worst part is that I don’t know what I could possibly do to stop this weight gain from continuing. I eat well, have cut out sugar, walk an hour at a fast pace most days, and do yoga a couple times a week. I also try to swim a few times a week. This all feels 100% intuitively right to me–hitting the gym just doesn’t jive with my sense of what my body needs right now. So short of completely abandoning my intuition about how to take care of myself, there isn’t any room to “give” for me to slow this weight gain down. So I assume
my only choice is to just stand back and trust that my body knows what it is doing (and avoid looking at my ass in the mirror at all costs?). But how do I deal with the thoughts of panic I have when I see my
naked body? How do I deal with the thoughts about restricting my eating when I plainly know this is unhealthy and damaging to my baby? How do I accept my body and even better–learn to find the beauty in
the changes? I have been so lucky to have been blessed with a healthy body image, natural enjoyment of healthy food and exercise, and a metabolism that has let me pretty much eat whatever I want whenever I
want for my entire life up to this point. I know that most women have had to grapple with these exact questions long before they reach their 30s, and may have some of the answers before finding themselves
floored by these thoughts in the middle of their first pregnancy. But this is incredibly new territory for me and it makes me feel awful.