Before, During, and After Pregnancy, We Get to Know Our Bodies in a New Way: Talking About This Changing Relationship In Therapy
In online therapy at Tribeca Maternity, we understand the importance of talking about bodies, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. The period before, during, and after pregnancy—whether you’re trying to conceive, undergoing fertility treatments, had a miscarriage, are pregnant, or just had a baby—is one of significant change to your body—for many women, the most significant change since puberty. Some of these bodily changes may be welcome, and others may be painful, startling, disappointing, awkward, or surprising. These changes often alter how you live in your body, as well as how you experience yourself sexually. In remote therapy sessions, we talk to patients about their changing relationship to their body before, during, and after pregnancy, including how the impact of a disrupted routine during COVID-19 contributes to that change and the emotions around it.
Women during this time also experience physical pain that can make your body feel like it’s not yours or it’s not functioning in many ways, including mobility changes, painful physical movements, pelvic floor pain, shifts in the uterus, and hernias. While you might typically ignore this pain, it’s important to talk about getting to know your body in these moments, whether living in spite of, in care of, or in protection of the pain. At Tribeca Maternity, we won’t let you experience these at times painful changes in isolation.
You’ll Experience Other People Seeing Your Body in New Ways—Welcome or Not
Women’s bodies are commented on and policed by others all the time, including being assessed and judged as sexy or not. This commentary can come from people close to you, which can be deeply painful in its own way. And even strangers in the street take notice—often in ways that are unwelcome and startling. In therapy, we explore how these varying reactions to your body impact you emotionally.
Infertility Often Makes You Frustrated With Body
- Feeling disappointed or betrayed by your body
- How infertility drugs and hormones make you feel
- The physical and emotional process of egg removal
- Checking in with your body and not dissociating during IUI/IVF
- Sex while going through fertility treatments
We also understand that COVID-19 and stay-at-home-orders have significantly complicated the infertility process, adding layers of frustration for women and couples trying to get pregnant.
Miscarriage Is Often Physically and Emotionally Painful, And Can Change Your Relationship to Your Body
After a miscarriage, that pregnancy and sense of loss may feel like it lingers in your body. A miscarriage can destabilize your relationship with your body both physically and emotionally, leaving you unsure of what you need. It can also be its own potential physical and emotional trauma. In online therapy at Tribeca Maternity, we help you grieve this loss, process the trauma, and navigate what it means to you and your body.
We Can’t Hide or Ignore Our Bodies During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body cannot hide or be ignored–and it also becomes not only yours anymore. At Tribeca Maternity, we make space to explore:
- Your and others’ perception of your growing body
- How it feels that your body is not just yours anymore, but shared with new, and needy, life
- Whether you’re getting the right nutrition
- The pressures of gaining “the right” amount of weight
- Your feelings around your new relationship with your breasts as they grow tender, sore, and bigger
- Avoiding the tendency to disassociate by “checking out” or pretending it’s not happening
- If you are trans, gender-nonconforming, or nonbinary, how to navigate bodily changes, potentially stopping hormones and your transition, as well as others’ opinions of your gender while pregnant
- How to deal with changes in how you experience sex while pregnant or after giving birth
We Need to Speak About the Realities of Postpartum: Bodies Go Unspoken
Postpartum, you have a new body with new needs that very likely may feel different from how you imagined your post-baby body. In video therapy, we are fluent in helping women with the emotional aspects of:
- Vaginal/pelvic pain
- Care to your episiotomy
- Dealing with scars
- Trauma from bleeding or hemorrhage
- The pressure to lose baby weight postpartum in contrast to what your body needs
- Building strength and regrouping after birth
- Breast pain or tenderness, and mastitis
- The change of breasts from sexual to functional
- The feeling of loss of control over your body
- Your emotional response to your body during this time compared to what you expected it to be
Pregnancy and Postpartum Can Raise (Or Re-Raise) Issues in Your Relationship With Food
For many women, eating can be a lifelong pain point. Whether or not that’s true for you, during pregnancy and postpartum, there’s a need for balance in paying attention to what you eat. What you eat before and after birth matters a good deal—you want to feed yourself well to help you and your baby be healthy. But an over-attention to diet can be unhealthy for many women. When potentially feeling out of control with how your body is changing, you may want the structure, control, and comfort that can come from over- or under-eating. We help patients address:
- Restricting and under-eating
- Binging and purging
- Overeating or binging without purging
- Previous trauma related to food and eating that may resurface postpartum
- Your emotional response to how you relate to food now
- Eating issues within couples
Couples Also Need to Talk About Body Changes
In remote couples therapy, we help couples talk directly about body changes before, during, and after pregnancy, as well as how those changes affect their relationship. Particularly during this time, it’s important for partners not to hide around body changes or needs (and there are a lot of needs). Why? Because bodies matter. We use them to connect, physically and sexually. And they come with feelings.