I've never told anyone this but… my husband was turned off by my pregnancy

I've never told anyone this but… my husband was turned off by my pregnancy

In an ongoing series, I've Never Told Anyone This But... we encourage women to share an intimate secret with the intention of stripping away the shame of being a human and normalizing what we secretly fear is unique to us.

Today, it's "Anne," a 42 year old, Female, wife, and mother from South Africa.

Q: Why do you think you haven't told anyone this?

A: Who should I tell? What should I say. I am mortified. I am lonely. I am hurt.

I gave birth to my daughter 9 years ago and my son 4 years ago. My first pregnancy was tough. I was sore from about the 6 months point and struggled in that pregnancy; I had a lot of water retention and I felt very conscious of myself. I did not feel any glow. My husband did not like me being so big and was kind of turned off by me being pregnant. 

My second pregnancy was easier. I did not have as much water retention and felt happier. But still, during that pregnancy my husband’s dislike for me being fat still came out, but only in the end, so it wasn’t as challenging. But still…

Q: How did you handle the pregnancy and postpartum?

I had a selective c-section for both my babies. It was quite scary, but I preferred to know when my due date was and be mentally ready. I think the one word that would give to my births is "Ready." I did everything and planned everything to be ready. I read a lot of books to prepare.

I did nothing to prepare for postpartum. I was just expected to carry on and look after my babies in the 4 months which I was at home with them before returning to work. The reality was so different. I was very sore. The OBGYN said that the sooner I am up and about and doing everything which I used to do, the better. I found with my second baby that I found it hard to balance my time between my older daughter and him. I felt guilty trying to divide my time between my children. My mum got irritated with me as I did not give as much attention to my daughter, however, at the time I was just really overwhelmed with two children. It was harder than I thought it would be.

Q: How did you handle the comments and turn off from your husband?

I focused on my babies. I loved the time I had with my babies by myself with no interference. I found I bonded with them both when we had the time together at home and it was just mum and baby. 

The hardest part for me in having children was that my husband did not want to touch me. For me, my stomach had the “jelly tummy” so it took a while for my stomach to get smaller in both cases. 

Of course my body will not look like it used to look but that is okay as I have something far better than a slim and trim body in its place. I have my baby.

Q: Did you find a connection after birth again?

A: Both times we were intimate after 8 weeks, but he struggled with his attraction to me during both pregnancy and afterwards. I struggled because I was so sore and I didn’t feel like it and it didn't feel like it used to feel. It was hard to be intimate.

Q: What was it like for you after birth?

A: I didn't expect to be so hot after birth. With my first pregnancy I had a lot of night sweats and was hot all the time both when I was pregnant and postpartum. My second pregnancy, I was lucky that I was only that hot and sweaty during  postpartum. I remember how much I sweated during the night after giving birth. That definitely affected my intimacy with my husband too.

Q: Is there anything else you never told anyone about how you felt having a baby?

A: Feeling like I am not myself and knowing that I had to go back to work and have someone else look after my babies was really hard. I think only a mother can know that pain of leaving your children when you don't want to. That was hard.


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