This article was originally featured on What to Expect, a pregnancy and parenting brand helping every parent know what to expect, every step of the way.
It's no secret or surprise that being pregnant changes your body, sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently. Some of the changes you can easily see — like a growing midsection — but other changes are way more subtle.
One of the big changes I experienced during pregnancy was a total lack of desire to have sex. My husband and I have always enjoyed each other, and we certainly worked hard to get pregnant (which was the inspiration for my post, "What It's Like to Have Sex 15 Days in a Row"). But once I saw the two lines on my pregnancy test, everything changed.
I blamed hormones and some terrible symptoms — like never-ending morning sickness — for my decreased sex drive. But there was something else, too: I just didn't feel sexy with my new curves. I guess you could say I lost my mojo.
I didn't want to hate sex, but there were more times during pregnancy than any other time in my marriage that I hated it. I wanted to have great sex again, so I made a few changes in an effort to find that spark again. If you're feeling the "blahs" during your pregnancy, here's what I did to change my perspective and get my mojo back:
1. I allowed myself to feel gross — but just for a moment. I won't pretend I loved all of my body changes during pregnancy, but I didn't allow myself to dwell on it. I gave myself one minute to feel like I was too large, too round...but then I stopped. I replaced those critical words with kinder ones and eventually they became more convincing.
2. I gave myself permission to say no. I felt bad when I would turn down my husband's advances, but once I allowed myself to not feel bad — though he never made me feel bad, my husband is a sweetheart — I felt less pressure. If I wasn't feeling well because the morning sickness was too strong, I said that. If I really just wanted a back rub, I said that. My husband was very supportive, and we learned new ways to be intimate together. And, almost always that relaxing back rub turned into something else.
3. I bought sexy lingerie. It's hard not to feel beautiful when you're covered (well, barely) in silk.
4. I focused on the pleasure. I know it's hard to not be hyper-aware of all the changes pregnancy brings, and those changes aren't always conducive to feeling sexy. But I forced myself to be present with how good sex felt and really enjoy the experience with my husband, leaving my worries and insecurities about my body behind.