By: Jennifer Tracy
I loved being pregnant. I have never felt more vibrant and beautiful, even in the last days when I was past my due date and big as a house. My husband and I had great sex up until the very last day. I was 34 years old when I gave birth to my son, hardly a crone. Yet, as soon as I became a mother, I felt completely cut off from my sexuality and any sense of sensuality. I was, in a moment, divorced from my pregnant body and newly married to my nursing, care-giving body. It was as if an alien had come and swapped me out in the middle of the night.
I felt, scratch that, I was certain that something was wrong with me. I loved my son and I wanted to care for him, but I was irritable, anxious, and recovering from a 3rd degree tear in my perineum that happened during delivery. So, I had to sit on a donut style pillow for about 4 days while the stitches were doing their job.
My son wasn’t latching on properly and his tiny mouth was rubbing off the skin of my nipples, so he was spitting up blood. The fear of God shot through me and I was again reminded that there was something wrong with me. I was failing. I hated my new body. I hated that it couldn’t even do this one thing right, the most important thing.
I went to a private session with a breastfeeding specialist and within 20 minutes, my son was latching properly and after that it was fine. But, my nipples took a while to heal and the shame and pain of those raw nipples is memorable to this day, nearly 11 years later.
My husband left town for work two weeks after our son was born. So, it was just me and my baby in our house 24/7. I barely slept, I hardly ate, and I was filled with anxiety and fear. Every creak in the house at night was a murderer coming to kill me and my son, and everything I was doing as a mother wasn’t right. I was miserable.
It took 2 more years for me to get properly diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Disorder. I got a therapist and I got on meds and I was much better within weeks. Soon after that, my husband finally came home from being gone for work and I slowly started to have a sex drive again.
Soon after that, my son started preschool and I was allowed to have time for myself for about 4 hours a day, 4 days a week. I started working again part-time, and I took a pole dancing class with a mom-friend from preschool and this is when everything really changed.
I was 37 and it was like I was discovering my feminine body for the very first time. This same body that carried my child for 40 weeks, that delivered him in 5 hours flat, that nursed him for 2 years. The same body that I had cursed and hated and not properly cared for the since giving birth. This body, my post-baby body was strong, capable, and sexy AF and I was elated to make this discovery.
I wanted to tell anyone who would listen. I wanted to tell my husband. He was nonplussed and relatively uninterested. I worried that the years that we had been separated by his work and my depression had lost him. I worried, often, that he was having an affair, or multiple affairs. I worried that we would never get our spark back, the beautiful, sexy spark that we had from our very first kiss and throughout my pregnancy, from the moment of conception on vacation in New Orleans to the end of the pregnancy. Was it gone forever?
I began to masturbate again for the first time since the pregnancy and I was thrilled to discover that I still had the capacity for multiple orgasms. (I forgot to say that, in general, I was constantly horny throughout my pregnancy. I probably masturbated every single day that I was pregnant.)
I joked with my husband that I felt like a horny teenage boy. All I could think about was sex. All I wanted was to share this thing, this new fire I’d discovered inside of me. Not an old thing that I found and dusted off, but something brand new, something that was born out of that time in the barrel, out of that time in purgatory, in a tantrum-toddler-terrible-twos-hell that doesn’t feel like it will ever end.
My husband and I started having sex again and we also started couples counseling. We tried date nights. We tried out of town weekends alone. We tried extra therapy. Then, we stopped trying. We were tired. We were lonely. Together, but lonely. So, we decided to end our marriage.
Telling our then 7 year old son that we were separating was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. His reaction was heartbreaking and I don’t think I will ever forget the way he cried and begged us not to do this. In some ways, I will always feel guilty about that and yet, now, over 3 years later, I see how important it was for all 3 of us to face the truth. My ex-husband is happier than ever, in a relationship with a fantastic woman whom I adore. My son is doing well and he has adjusted to the transition. I am also doing well, working on my own career and trying like hell not to focus on the swipe app culture that is the landscape of dating.
I still think my body is sexy AF at 44 years old, I still have multiple orgasms and I still crave sex and the expression of my sexuality in myriad ways. So, why is MILF not just another 4 letter word?
The term, conceived by a male-driven porn genre, was initially meant to commodify women who had children into a genre of pornography and a niche of kink. I’m not against either of those things. I think pornography is a part of sexual expression and so is kink, but I also think that, for me, the discovery of my own sexuality pointed up a greater issue currently baffling our culture: why is it not ok to be sexy, sexual, sensual, and expressive of all of those things after you become a mother? Why the eff not?
I think I had been fed some old June Cleaver idea of what I should become as a mom and a wife, but it wasn’t who I was. I do enjoy domestic things. I love to cook, I love to make the house beautiful, I loved being a wife to my husband. I love to have friends over and ‘entertain.’ But I also love to wear stripper heels and swing around a pole in a dark room with 12 other women and dance to filthy-lyriced rap songs that are completely denigrating to women as a silent ‘fuck you’ to the entire patriarchy in our own private studio. Because we want to and because we choose to.
During the time in which I discovered this thing within myself, I wrote a series of erotica and self-published it on Amazon, I began writing a novel about a mom who becomes a dominatrix, I recorded 85 episodes of my own podcast that explores the MILF acronym as a community of powerful women doing awesome stuff, and I lovingly freed myself and my husband from our marriage.
Becoming a mother doesn’t mean that we have to stop being sensual/sexual/sexy/dominant or submissive/kinky. In fact, it is wild, abundant permission to explore more of whatever turns you on and lights you up. Furthermore, in my personal experience, when I’ve allowed myself to follow my own path, I become creatively motivated and energized. Because of that, I become more and more productive. If you ever want anything done, quickly and efficiently, ask a mom.
Jennifer Tracy is an author and an actress. She is the host of MILF Podcast and a creative consultant in Los Angeles, California.
On Instagram @jennifertracy_