This is one side effect of breast-feeding that I never saw coming.
From the moment I fell pregnant my body image changed. I felt incredible. How amazing that my body could create a person. Everything fascinated me from the morning sickness to my swelling belly to how sensitive my breasts became.
Sex was better while I was pregnant. Once we got over the common fear of hurting the baby through intercourse, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves until the moment I gave birth.
Then it all changed.
The birth of my first child was more complicated than I expected and recovery was difficult. I felt like my body wasn’t my own. It felt different and looked different. It felt bad, and I felt very disconnected from it. My husband did his best to assure me that I was still beautiful, but I longed to feel the way I used to.
Breastfeeding made me feel even worse.
I loved breastfeeding - once I got the hang of it - but it increased the sense that my body wasn't my own. I wasn't even my own. I was existing for the sole purpose of caring for this beautiful little child. How I looked and felt didn't matter. I just had so much to do every single second of every day and I needed time to recover.
As I began to feel better my sense of disconnection didn't improve because no matter how much the rest of my body improved, my breasts were not my own. They were there for the nourishing of our child. They held no sexual meaning for me whatsoever.
My husband didn't understand what was going on. We had always been so close and so intimate, even when it had nothing to do with sex, but now I really couldn't bear to be touched intimately. I felt this way long after I was given my six-week exam and given the go-ahead to resume 'marital relations'.