Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


I'm Getting Sexy Back... For Me

When I finally packed them away with the rest of my maternity clothes, it was obvious my two nursing bras had been mistreated. They were stretched out and misshapen, having been worn for days at a time, thrown into the wash with the regular laundry, and then flung into the dryer. Also, the first day I'd pulled them on over my slowly ballooning breasts, I'd noticed that the underwire poked me in the side ribs. So I'd snipped and pulled out threads and slid out the long, flat, curved wires that were supposed to support me, leaving the bras themselves shapeless and deflated.

I continued to use the bras five months after my daughter weaned herself off the boob, unable to locate my pre-pregnancy bras and too lazy to care. But though I put the bras on their tightest clasp, my chest sagged, leaving me with a low-hanging uniboob beneath my tops that eventually left me despondent when I looked in the full-length mirror hanging behind my bedroom door.

RELATED: How One Mom Got Her Groove Back

I have never been the type of woman to make an effort with my appearance. When I was young, I eschewed color, mascara, and nail polish (I insisted I could feel the unbearable weight of it on my fingertip.s. As an adult, the only makeup I use regularly is CoverGirl CG Smoothers Concealer. I embrace society's embrace of athleisure wear. And I observe with interest the ever-increasing length of my leg hairs as I go as long as possible without shaving.

But lately, I've been thinking longingly of my previously perky boobs. And picking up fashion magazines in supermarket checkout lines. And actually taking other steps to feel pretty:

1. I've thrown myself back into my yoga practice (and have even considered trying out some nearby Bar Method classes) in the pursuit of slim, muscular calves, solid biceps, and strong abs.

2. I've replaced my hair dryer. The one that was partially melted and made a whining, wheezing sound whenever I turned it on and often smelled of burning.

3. When I was pregnant and could no longer clip my toenails, my mom bought me a gift card for the first pedicure of my life. I now get them regularly.

4. I bought $12 jeggings from CVS. You would think this is a huge fashion step back, but it's not. I swear. Athleisure wear is in, you guys!

Is it really so odd that I want to embody more than the spit-up on my jeans, the diaper bag on my back, the stretched out and deflated nursing bras?

5. Because I need something to wear with my jeggings and can no longer go to the mall—ever—I've become a StitchFix convert. (For those who don't know about it, you basically fill out an online style profile and a stylist picks out a selection of pieces to send to you and you send back whatever you don't want and buy the rest. A fantastic option for new mothers and recluses.)

6. I treated myself to a pricey piece of jewelry I'd been eyeing for years, even though Em thinks anything dangling from my neck is obviously something she should rip from my throat and put in her mouth.

7. I even bought makeup from CVS (because clearly, CVS is my new one-stop-shop for beauty and fashion items.) I got myself bronzer and glitter eye shadow (because apparently I'm a twenty-something club-goer) and mascara. Clear mascara. Because let's not go crazy.

Who am I even? What's come over me? I've already bagged myself a man, and he wants to have sex with me even when I have the legs of a yeti. Who do I need to make an effort for?

"My daughter is everything to me," I sometimes say automatically, even though it's not true.

The truth? My daughter is almost everything.

Because there are still so many other things that are essential to my sense of fulfillment, things I sometimes feel have been lost or neglected in the process of becoming a mother: romance, my career, my professional goals, the things I do for both my mental and physical health.

We give up our bodies, too, when we become mothers. Or rather we allow them to become subsumed by the processes of growing a child, expelling a child, feeding a child. Our bodies are grabbed, pinched, pulled, and lacerated by tiny hands, tiny mouths, new teeth, tiny fingernails and toenails.

Is it really so odd that I want to embody more than the spit-up on my jeans, the diaper bag on my back, the stretched out and deflated nursing bras?

The other week, I went to a local lingerie boutique and got a bra fitting for the first time in my life. I learned that—nursing bra or no—I've been wearing the wrong size my entire life. By the end of my time there, I wanted to be BFFs with the woman who had helped me. I walked out of there with four new bras, one of which was embellished with a fine edging of tiny, lace flowers in an ivory color that contrasted beautifully with the black of the bra itself.

RELATED: Is Being "Just a Mom" Enough?

I know my husband could care less about this fine edging, these tiny, lace flowers, the aesthetically pleasing contrast in color. He's more interested in what happens when the bra comes off.

But me?

I feel pretty in my new bras. No. More than that. I feel sexy. And when I look in the mirror, I see a woman. A woman who has a smattering of stretch marks below her belly button. A woman who is also wearing cotton granny panties. A woman who likely hasn't shaved her legs in several days. A woman who is a mother.

But a woman who is more than that, too.

Image via Twenty20/issyschultz

Share this on Facebook?

More from baby