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Maybe it's time that I speak up

Jan 07, 2012 - 2 comments










I don't know where to start. Several years ago I had the perfect birth. I was at home in a birthing tub, with my perfect midwife, husband at my side, drug-free, and delivered a perfect baby boy that we named Daniel after my husbands recently deceased father. I was happy.

Months later I realized something was wrong. Not with our beautiful child or my supportive husband, but with me. Things never really went back to the way that they were. At first I wasn't surprised and kept telling myself that, of course things are going to change a bit, but they'll calm down and go back to a different normal. That's all. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

From here on out I'm going to talk fairly bluntly about my vagina, something that I really don't want to do, but feel is necessary. Please stop reading here if you don't wish to read about this topic.

After Daniel was born my vagina seemed to had come out of my body. My OB/GYN said that it was normal and would go back slowly. He also told me that I didn't have anything to fear from the discoloration. It was all normal. "Just do your kegels," he would say, and I did. Months passed and things receded a bit. The color either mellowed or I got use to it, whichever it was, it was alright. What wasn't alright is the thing that haunts me to this day.

When my husband and I first decided that natural child birth was the way that we wanted to have Daniel, it was a no-brainer. Naturally, without drugs or surgery, away from the sickness and coldness of a hospital. Received by tender arms in our own home. We just wanted what was best for our child, but realizing that there was no best, we decided mother nature, evolution, divine creation, whatever you want to call it, probably trumped Dr. Whoever right out of med school. Everything from my diet, to exercise and even the music that we listened to specifically tailored to help our child eventually emerge into a blissful world in the best possible way. Man were we full of it.

My son was born on a Thursday, at 6:32PM, after 4 hours of labor. He is now six years old and the love of my life. My husband and I are still married and he is my best friend. He is supportive, encouraging and the best provider that I could have ever dreamed of. We haven't had sex in two years. On his birthday and on Christmas Eve, I give him oral sex, but that is all. I am amazed that he hasn't had an affair or left me. We had been so sexually active before Daniel and I know that he misses it.

My vagina, I did warn you, stretched a lot during Daniel's birth. Even with kegels, it never really returned to its previous tightness. Sure, you might say, it's normal to be a little looser after birth, but you should still enjoy sex. I only wish that was true. My husband was the fourth person that I slept with in my life, and the biggest where it counts, but after Daniel, I couldn't feel him at all. I know that he couldn't feel me either because he struggled to keep an erection during intercourse. Viagra helped, but only to keep him hard enough to thrust at whatever side of my vagina was closest to him.

"It's normal to be a little looser" Dr. Rosen told me. "A little?!?!" I screamed. "I could fit a baseball bat side of me!" He went over my options, there were none. I could get a $10,000 surgery, but there were no guarantees and it was risky. I told my husband it would get tighter as time went by. He's a smart man, I'm sure that he figured out the truth pretty quickly.

Since that time I've scoured the internet. At first, for remedies, than for people like me. It turns out that there are a lot of woman like me. Lots and lots. It's common. Even my mother, after asking dozens of times in a dozen different ways, finally admitted that my two younger sisters were c-section because she realized how much looser she was after me. I slowly realized that what I was experiencing was common and something that no one talked about.

At first, I thought it was shame that kept people from talking about it. But then I realized that it's much deeper than that. There is a stigma attached to elective c-sections and has been for decades. Natural child birth is a right, a passage, of motherhood. You must suffer to bring a child into this world, otherwise you don't deserve it. It is the price that you pay for becoming a mom. One day you are a woman, the next you are a mother. Everything changes. Except, it doesn't. I'm still Martha from the Midwest. I graduated college in 1997, got married in 2003. My mother's name is Ellen. My husband works at the same textile plant that his father did. Sure, we have a son together, but I lived 34 years before he was born and, while he is always my main concern, I will always be Martha from the Midwest.

I miss sex. Wait, no, I take that back. I miss wanting to have sex. My husband and I use to have so much fun. Now just the thought of it makes me pinch my knees together and gives me a headache. I can put my fist in myself. I don't, but did several years ago just to see if I could. I don't wipe when I pee. I don't want to touch it at all. It's huge. Martha's Abyss, The Chasm of Nevermore, The Gulf of Womanhood.

Sometimes I wonder what it was that made me choose natural child birth over the other options, but know that I never really had a choice. I would have done anything to give Daniel everything that I could. I still will, but now he's smart enough to know it. The pain of it is, I now know that it wouldn't have mattered. If there had been some complication and I was forced to go to the hospital and get a c-section, nothing with Daniel would be any different. Daniel would still be the warm, intelligent boy that I love. Except, if that had happened, his mom would have had a much different life. He probably would have a bother or sister. His dad wouldn't travel so much. I would be happier, bouncier and would probably not wear sweat pants as much as I do.

So here is the first part of the secret that I'm not supposed to tell the world: Natural child birth will probably leave you looser than you were before. Here is the second part: It's unnecessary. The magic of childbirth his unfazed in how you have your child, only that you have it. The advantages that come from natural child birth have more to do with the lifestyle changes that come with the awareness of impending motherhood. And if you discount the medical emergency c-sections, the risks either way are a wash.

If you are a mother expecting her child someday soon, don't feel pressured into a natural child birth. It makes no difference how your child is born, only that you give yourself to it afterwards. And if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, try to realize that your child will bring you immeasurably joy, but you do not need to sacrifice your body and sexual happiness to that cause.

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by jaz71, Feb 25, 2012
The stigmas don't stop there.  There is so much pressure to appear to have it all, to be the perfect wife, mom, employee.  Our shame covers up and propels the miseries.  The internet has been a fantastic resource for people to take the first step in finding others in our own situations.  And from there, we develop the courage to reveal our similar secrets, and then hopefully receive support and advice and courage to change our situation.

I was cheated on by a live-in boyfriend and I kept the dirty secret from my friends and family.  Of course, all that accomplished was allowing my BF to cheat on me again, as I'd already proved that I'd cover for him out of my own embarrassment.  The second time I called girlfriends, cried, and shared my crushing shame.  They didn't waste a single second in supporting me and giving me the backup I needed to kick him out.  God, how I wished that I had done that the first time he cheated so that I wouldn't have put myself through all that psychological hell.

I'm about to have my first child and it's a planned C.  I thank this thread and others like it on the internet for exposing doctors' lies.  Of course they're going to B.S. us into believing that a messed-up vagina looks "fine":  they don't want to be sued!

I am curious, though.  Would you care if your husband had meaningless hookups when he travels, so long as he continued to act as your husband in all other ways?  When I was single I traveled weekly for my job and was hit on by married men left and right.  They had no intention of leaving their wives ($$$), and they pretended that it was an unspoken agreement between them.  Kind of like a "don't ask, don't tell" situation.

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by olchik100, Oct 24, 2012
Hi Martha i just want to thank you for your post and for your honesty. I am so sorry to hear how child birth affected you and my thoughts are with you. I have recently had my second baby by an elective c-section. The first was an emergency one and i did feel cheated, ie that I was deprived from natural birth experience and that in some way failed him. It took me ages to get over and by the time i got pregnant again I had to make a choice vbac or repeated c-section. I can't possibly tell you the pressure i was under to have a natural birth, from my friends, from the mum to be forums, from my doctor. Despite the fact that my gut feeling was not to risk it. I was an older mum, my body refused to dialate the first time and we were not planning any more kids and I already had a scar from the surgery and a terrible overhang. I kept being told that csections are harder to recover from etc, but I already had one! I know it is not true, I was up and running in no time, and yes in terms of energy levels it took me a year to get back to normal, but I dont know if same would have been the case if i had a natural birth. But I do have friends who could not walk for 2-3 weeks after 'natural deliveries' and a lot who still suffer sideaffects and chose not to have any more kids. I have a friend who refused c-section when in labour, her baby was back to back and big, but she was so brainwashed she insisted on pushing him out herself and she has not had any sex with her hubby for 3 years now. She was honest enough with me to tell me to absolutely go for section.
I started searching the interent at that time, and possibly for the first time I dawned on me that possibly i was lucky that I had an emergency c-section the first time.  yes my tummy is ruined (i have no streatch marks and had excerised like mad in an attempt to get it back, but I now resigned that apart from the surgery there is not much can be done with an overhang) ....but if I am honest I can live with it, i would be absolutely devastated if same happened to my vagina, i know it would affect me as a woman and possibly put me off sex forever or if I thought my husband finds it hard to have an orgasm with me. It is such sensitive subject, it is almost impossible to get anyone who had kids to give you an honest answer, not even my mum. All she kept saying go for c-section, but would not really explain why! Thanks to the posts like yours I made a right decision. We women are trapped by our biology, and giving birth is like a lottery, you can be lucky or lose big time. Except there is no way of knowing until you are onthe other end. Giving birth to a baby is the most beautiful thing, even though the changes that it can cause are  very hard to accept. Another big shock was that after having my first child I have not changed,as  I expected to, like I expected not to want anything apart from being with my child (I know it sounds stupid), but I still was the same. I still was me. Just like you said. I did not even want to stay at home, after one year a wanted to go back to work. I am ambitious and love my job, even though it is hard to have it all and keep balance. I wanted to look good and be 'fancied' by men, and have good sex life with my husband. I was lucky to still have it, and that is why I had to thank you and let you know that your honesty did make a difference.

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