Sex, Motherhood, and Freedom
by Sadie Rose Casey
When I was 22, my son was born.
At first, I nearly forgot what it was like to be a sexual being. Ironically, it was my sexuality that led me to this moment—this becoming-a-mother-moment, this new way of being. But when he arrived, I was consumed: Consumed with mothering, with nursing, with resting and sleeping; with staring at this tiny face that looked like the moon ... Better than the moon, even—so perfect and luminous and round and peaceful. It brought me to tears. My body was for him, I had birthed him and now I would feed him and hold him and carry him, all with this body of mine, this small, strong, amazing body.
Sex? I thought. Who can think about that now? What does that even mean? Now that I knew the “real” purpose for my body, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be the same again. (Spoiler alert: I wouldn’t). It was like I had entered a cosmic sainthood, the nunnery of new mothers. And I didn’t care one bit.
Eventually, I began to care. This is the natural progression of things. Eventually I began to long for that part of myself again, the beauty, the sensuality, the dressing up for an evening out; the careful crafting of my appearance to present myself as a beautiful woman and to feel that power once again.
I began to cultivate it again—over time, and slowly. Sometimes I felt like a fake, an imposter. You might see me as a sexy young woman out with my friends, I thought, but little do you know that at home is my baby, asleep with the babysitter, waiting for me. Little do you know that this cocktail pales in comparison to the joy that lies in that sleeping babe. Little do you know that even though I feel beautiful, I yearn to be back with he-who-makes-me-whole: my baby.
Eventually, my baby grew bigger. He stopped sleeping in my bed, and to my ultimate shock, there came a day where he grew too big for me to even pick him up. In these years, he became his own person, and so I became my own person again, too. My beauty blossomed in a new way. Ah ha! I thought. Being sexy and being a mother are not mutually exclusive. Who knew??
However, as I grew into my sexuality as a mother, it was distinctly and decidedly different from my sexuality before I became a mother. When I close my eyes and look at my life, there is a clear division between the two chapters. In this chapter, I’ve developed it more thoughtfully. This is also part of getting older, not just becoming a mother. Now, I am more protective of it— of my sexuality and my spirit, of my secrets and my soft places. There is so much at stake. (Really, there was always so much at stake. It was just that for me, becoming a mother taught me about truly valuing myself).
Now, my son is 10 years old. My body belongs entirely to me, and has for a while. For me, my sexuality is a current that runs through me. It is a deep aspect of my entire being. It is part of who I am. In many ways, it gives me strength and power, and at the same time, it makes me vulnerable. Life is a delicate dance of balancing these two things. What do I want to project? What do I want to receive? The two are so closely linked that one cannot be separated from the other.
In truth, it can be frustrating. Often one limits the other, and there is a struggle within me: How can I be a sexual being when I am a mother? Or how can I be a mother when I am craving the feeling of being a free, sexual being? At times I have felt torn between being a lover and being a mother. At times it has driven me to tears, literally, leaving me sobbing on the floor. What makes me cry is the feeling of being torn apart, of needing to be two things when there is only one of me. How do I build the bridge?
The key right now for me has two do with these two things: surrender and choice. If I choose something in any given moment, I must choose it fully and surrender to it. If I choose to be a lover, then that is who I am. I let go, for that moment, of the threads that bind me to my child. I am present with loving myself and my lover. Likewise, when I am being a mother, I surrender to it. I refrain from pulling toward the freedom and bliss of being in lover-mode when I am in mother-mode. I am present in loving myself and my child. I choose which one I want to be, and I choose when. This means learning how to say no, and it also means learning how to say yes.
I still love to get dressed up, to feel beautiful, to go out with my friends or my partner and be seen. But you know what? I still feel that pull back to home. I still think to myself, you have no idea that at home, I have a sleeping 10-year-old, and I cannot wait to get back to him. You have no idea that first, I am a mother, and second, I am beautiful.
His face is still like the moon.
a note from the author: This piece was originally published at Annapurna Living in December, 2014. Now, nearly 4 years later, much of it still rings true to me. My son is a teenager now, and the landscape of motherhood and sexuality continues to change. I will say that with the years gone by, clarity feels easier to come by these days, and I feel less torn. Perhaps a follow up story is in order.
About Sadie Rose Casey
Sadie Rose is a writer and creative director in Northern California. She is also the Course Manager and Key Vision Keeper here at Annapurna Living. Her greatest pastime (and accomplishment) is watching her son reveal to her the great mysteries of the universe. Follow Sadie Rose at her website or on Instagram.