Let me share some intimate truths. Pregnancy and child birth left me with piles. I fart more often. After a three course meal, I look like I am three months pregnant again because my stomach muscles aren’t what they were before I carried a baby.
I am pleased to say that my pelvic floor is still in very good shape. I can happily bounce around on a trampoline and keep all of my urine in my body. That’s an achievement. I can even do a seat drop. I am sorry if I sound smug, but about my pelvic floor, I am.
I am not smug about my breasts. I always had one slightly larger than the other. In fact, when I was twelve my mother took me to the doctor because she was worried because my left breast was the size of a golf ball compared to my right breast which was the size of a marble. The delights of puberty! The doctor reassured her that this was normal. I don’t feel normal.
When I was breastfeeding, my left breast produced three times as much milk as my right. In the end, I gave up the battle of trying to feed from my right breast when Cygnet was six months old. He carried on feeding from my left breast until he was nearly two years old. For eighteen months or so, I had a melon and a plum for breasts. I definitely looked a bit strange.
Now that my breastfeeding journey has ended, I have two empty socks. My left breast is still larger and when I lean forward it is probably an inch and a half longer than my right. It is not a pretty sight.
Reproduction has ravaged my body.
We should feel proud of our bodies. I don’t feel ashamed of my body. I am conscious of its freakish abnormalities, but not ashamed or embarrassed. My body tells my story and motherhood is a pretty cool story.
Women’s bodies are incredible machines.
No offence guys, but the only thing remarkable about your bodies is that your penises get hard and then some white, salty stuff comes out, that can eventually turn into a baby, but only if it meets one of our glorious eggs and is housed in a nice womb for about 40 weeks (give or take).
A man’s throbbing member (as Mills and Boon authors like to call it) is nothing compared to the mysteries of a woman’s clitoris, the wonders of our wombs, the sweet milky nectar that our breasts produce which is all our babies need for six months. I know breastfeeding doesn’t always work out like that, in fact it didn’t for me, but you cannot deny that our bodies are still amazing.
I think men most get this, or at least, I think fathers, husbands, partners … whatever … get how brilliant women’s bodies are and love the bodies of the mothers of their children for all of their glorious imperfections.
My ex didn’t, but that’s another story.
A male friend of mine recently became a father. I went round to see him, his girlfriend and their squishy and wrinkled new baby. He spent ten minutes telling me how amazing women’s bodies are. He told me about pregnancy, about childbirth, about breastfeeding, about his girlfriend and her incredible and beautiful body. He was full of awe, genuine awe, and it I loved listening to him.
She told me about her scars, her cracked nipples, her fat stomach, her stretch marks. These are the imperfections that tell our beautiful stories. Her partner could see that and I beamed as I watched and listened to the three of them on the sofa opposite me.
What has this got to do with sex as a single mother? I suspect you are wondering when I am finally going to get to the point of this post.
Well here it is. Sex as a single mother is different. I am really conscious that the men who I have slept with since becoming a single mother, and who I will sleep with in the future, do not and cannot see the beauty in my imperfections.
I never hide the fact that I am a mother. I always tell my dates before we meet that I have a child.
But, my dates haven’t seen the amazing things that I have done, that my body has done, all they can see is the scars, the battle lines and the lopsided breasts resembling empty socks. Not sexy!
The problem is that my scars don’t tell a story that my dates have been part of.
My friend could see that his story, his child, was etched in the imperfections of his girlfriend’s body and I think this is why he was so full of awe and wonder. Her body doesn’t just tell her story, it tells his story, it tells their story and it is a beautiful one.
My body tells my story, it tells the story of my son, but it is also tells a story of another man and another man’s child.
Sex as a single mother is different. For a man, sex with a single mother, a relationship with a single mother must be like starting a novel half way through…