How do you feel when you hear the word intimacy?
I know, for myself, I used to imagine silky lingerie, candles, maybe a hot bath and deep eye contact with my partner where we share our deepest secrets.
Ah yes, the dreams of a nonparent!
Now that I’ve made the transition to motherhood, intimacy has taken on a different hue. It’s a little more of the groggy-eyed, leaky boob variety with lots of opportunities for short and to-the-point conversations with my partner.
Sigh…can anyone relate?
But I hope, Mama, that you don’t discount this important phase of your relationship. And remember, it is a phase.
Let’s face it, intimacy isn’t always roses and sunshine.
It’s often the hidden corners that get brought up in parenthood that make us get to know one another on a deep level.
And man can it be uncomfortable sometimes.
What I’m learning is that intimacy is not actually something you plan. In fact, if you are planning it then you are controlling it, and probably doing so in a subtle way to feel safe. Yes, there are great exercises that can be done to deepen our connection with ourselves and with our partner. But, these exercises are not the goal. They should help us get more comfortable when intimacy arises naturally.
They should help us get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.
Intimacy actually happens on its own time. It’s disarming. And it’s meant to unearth those uncomfortable conversations.
These days intimacy for me is:
>> Talking about money
>> Allowing each other to be too tired for sex
>> Crying more openly
>> Getting frustrated because of lack of sleep
>> Cuddles with our little one
What does intimacy look like these days to you, Mama?
Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to look like anything in particular. But, it should feel a certain way. A bit slightly uncomfortable, but also like a release.
Because when we are honestly showing up as we are, it feels good. It feels good to be true to ourselves and to where we’re at in life.
It’s always better to be seen in our complexity than projected onto or projecting onto someone else.
Becoming a mother has made me aware of all the masks I used to wear.
I thought I had done a lot of work to get rid of most of them, but the intimacy of birth and motherhood definitely stripped me naked in a way that nothing else has ever had.
Motherhood has the potential to make us more intimate with ourselves, our partner, our children, and our community at large.
When we approach ourselves with loving kindness, not afraid to go into those dark corners, we are less afraid to be vulnerable with others. And when we can be vulnerable with one another, everyone gives a sigh of relief. Because that’s what we’re really wanting when we talk about intimacy. We’re really wanting to be seen in our imperfection, and beautiful, astounding complexity.
Parenthood is the ultimate spiritual path in this regard. Going through birth together and continuing on the path of raising a child has the potential to shine a light on all those places we would rather keep hidden.
Except the thing we learn is that on the other side of hiding, through that sometimes uncomfortable process of revealing, is a grassy green meadow of sunshine where we can just be ourselves.