Thursday, September 18, 2008

My first SexyMamaMoment

When our first child was born, he spent the first few days of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital. Delighted Husband and I were there with him nearly all the time. This was before my awakening so sexy wasn't usually on my radar. I had not yet cultivated my worldview that I was a sexy woman. But I had this moment. And I want to share it with you.

Beloved Child was a bit premature, and fussy, so the pediatrician suggested I open my blouse and give my baby skin-to-skin contact. They had these beautiful pale yellow privacy shades they placed around my rocking chair. Feeling a little awkward but hungry to hold my baby and let him know mama was there, I unbuttoned my maternity blouse, unwrapped my little darling (he looked like a little burrito in that white hospital blanket!) and laid my sweet baby against my abdomen and covered us both with a blanket. He was jaundiced, so he looked so foreign next to my skin. But in his face he looked just like me and in my heart he felt like mine! mine! mine! It was a peaceful, quiet moment amidst all the beeping chaos of the NICU.

Then I looked at his father.

Delighted Husband was looking at me and Beloved Baby like we were all that was precious in the world. And then I caught it..that quick tiny sparkle in his eye. Just like that, I was lost in the tractor beam of Delighted Husband's gaze. Without words, we remembered what we did to create this child. A blush crept over my cheeks and I looked at Delighted Husband with this self-aware heat in my eyes. My eyes said, "We made love. It was fabulous. You made me pregnant, and now I have this amazing little person nestled up against my skin. Oh my God."

In that moment, Delighted Husband snapped a picture.

And in an instant, the moment was over. The nurse walked up to draw blood from Beloved Child and crying and chaos pushed in and drowned out the moment.

Weeks later, I went to the store where I had gone for the film to be developed. When I got to that SexyMamaMoment photo, I was elated. Standing there in the pharmacy all disheveled and sleep deprived, I looked at that photo and thought, "oh my God, is that really me?" and it was. I didn't feel sexy there in the store. At all. At all. At all. But in my trembling hands I held photographic proof that my moment had really happened.

I put it in the photo album, along with all the other photos of Beloved Child's first six weeks. When friends from church asked to see baby pictures, I didn't think twice about handing over the photo album while I went to go boil some water for tea. I don't remember what he said, but I remember one of our church friends coughing and looking at me in an embarrassed putdown way and swiftly handing off the baby album like it was contaminated. I was flooded with embarrassment. I didn't have much confidence then. And I was Southern and here was a guest in my home offended by something I had given him. I was seriously infected with the disease to please. When our friends went home that night, I took out the picture of my first SexyMamaMoment, and I tore it up. To this day, there is a blank spot in that baby photo album. And oh I would fill it if I could. I have searched for the negative and I cannot find it. I have tears in my eyes just remembering what has been lost. How I would love to see that picture today!

There's a lesson here, my darlings. Don't let anyone look down on you for owning and recognizing that you are a sexual being. Don't let others erase your beautiful defining moment or put down your identity as a beautiful sexual creature created by God. Hold on to the good in your life. Hold on tight! Stretch marks and mortgages and fatigue and soccer leagues and teacher meetings and client meetings and HOA meetings will try to push in and take those moments from you by encroaching on the time those moments can occur. But hold on tight!

Looking back, I realize that man was an illmannered prude and I was a naive woman who gave away her validation card quite too easily. Not any more.

Like most of my aha! heartfelt moments, this was inspired by another blogger who generously shared their heart in a post. So thank you Mama of Romance for your beautiful post Feeling Beautiful: It's Up to You.
She says, "Because I feel like I am beautiful, it shines through.
It's so much easier to enjoy sex, to be passionate, and to love making love when you feel beautiful.
Being a woman is an incredibly powerful thing.
The curves, the soft skin, the feminine features.
Giving birth, having a baby, motherhood - it's all a beautiful thing.
Mother's are beautiful."

Amen, sista!

I would add: when you do have a moment when you feel beautiful, don't let anybody talk you out of it. Nobody but you and God have the right to decide whether or not you're beautiful. And God has already voted Yes.



Kyra said...

Ah, you so often put a smile on my face. And you did it again.

From one SexyMama to another :)

Love, K

Tami Martin said...

I literally gasped out loud when I got to the "and I tore it up" line! As a photographer, I very nearly cried!!

The feelings you described are what drive me to help those women around me have that one photo of themselves that reminds them that they are sexy. It's also why I compliment people when they're wearing a particularly flattering garment.

Thanks for the reminder that we all have that sexymama inside us...we just have to let her out!

Howard said...

A very deep message here, which I find affirmed again and again in my own work with a camera.
As Beth Neilsen Chapman sings,
'In the tears you gave to me, I found a river to an ocean'. The 'tears' of those days - for beauty and pain - have certainly aided in leading to the 'ocean' of life you now know.

Many thanks for sharing.

Tulipsanticipation said...

I just came across your blog, and I love it! I can't wait to read more from you!

I sometimes wonder how I'll feel when I have children. I've always been tall and thin, people have always commented on that, so I'm not sure how I would deal with that if it were to change down the road.

That's so sad you can't find that picture.