Nyja from My Epiphany (site under construction) reached out to me earlier this year, wanting to explore why some people equate motherhood with the inability to show skin or be sexy. I was surprised, at first, because I don't immediately associate thoughts of myself with sexiness. Aside from motherhood, I'm a teacher and know my students check for me on social media.
As fate would have it, the beginning of 2017 was high tide for the both of us, so we let the idea go... temporarily. However, I'm back to finding my rhythm, writing is being produced in abundance, and summer is showing face (meaning more skin is bound to be shown). So, here's an insider to that conversation. All praise to the writers of Baby Boy and the affirmation that, "Mama's gotta have a life too, Jodi."
Nyja: I think it is important as a woman, especially as a mother, to feel sexy. How do you feel about your body after having your baby?
Brandi Chantalle: I definitely don't feel as confident in my skin. Truth be told, I had a pudge before her... so that's going to be what it is. I'm blessed with the ability to do a good inhale and make it disappear momentarily. Ladies know that trick for when the camera is present.
As of late, I'm more conscious of it in a way that doesn't please me. Only enough to complain about it to my husband and have him return those thoughts to me in a healthier way... not enough to actually work out, so bloop! However, my butt is also starting to fill out, so I shouldn't shade my body fat for finally showing up in some of the right places :)
I'd be remiss if I didn't also point out that the actual act of carrying, having, and nursing my daughter has made me feel more divine, in general. I nursed Zora for just shy of two years, so when we finally stopped - I noticed the sag in my breast and would say they looked "sad." I don't know if they've actually shrunk or they're just no longer perky but the beauty of sustaining her FAR outweighs the physical effects. For six months, she was exclusively breast fed, and I'm ever amazed that something poured from my body and was able to not only sustain but grow a child. My child. Talk about divine order.
Nyja: Are there any struggles that you deal with as far loving your body or feeling sexy? If so, how do you deal with them?
Brandi Chantalle: My previous response hints at the struggles. It probably addresses my way of "coping" as well. I'm in a space where I can make light of the things about my body that don't compliment my joy. They don't make or break my day. That's not to say I don't stand in the mirror pushing fat in and trying to make loose skin look taunt. That is to say that I'm not losing any sleep or actively doing anything to change my appearance.
Truthfully, I've started to get a different sense of style in regard to preferring clothes that have a loose fit around my tummy. I think knowing how to dress your shape appropriately is essential. However, there are nights when the fabric needs to hug my body in order for me to feel like a sex siren. Note: feeling like a sex siren is still affirming and necessary. Look up the lyrics to Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande, and get into it. I never had issues feeling sexy before Zora. Being able to obtain that feeling shouldn't be so fleeting now. I'm a mom, but that hasn't altered my ability to exude sexiness. Hell, it should have multiplied it.
Not only am I woman, but I'm a woman walking in awareness that my body brings and sustains life. What that entails on a day to day may not look sexy, but it should certainly empower me to feel that way.
Nyja: Why is it important for you to date your husband and have a night off from your kid? Your nation building post had me doing all types of hand clapping and saying yes!
Brandi Chantalle: So funny that you'd mention the nation building post, because that is surely my sexy in a nutshell. I don't think it is overt and outright. But it's present and casually hidden in the details. I've never considered myself a modest woman, but I also don't think my sexy is for everybody. It's important for my husband to know that, as well. So, we need date nights to make sure our connection exist regardless of what's happening with baby girl. To ensure that I'm making the time to remind him that I still got it, while inadvertently reminding myself of the very same thing. Though a large part of our identity is now shaped by parenthood, there's so much more to us. And having time to explore that is an act of self care.
Nyja: I appreciate how fearless you are and thank you for using your platform to celebrate the beauty of motherhood... plus you’re a badass teacher. I low key want my son to be in your class one day. Any advice to other mamas who feel like they can’t be sexy, because society is often telling them to cover up now that they're mothers?
Brandi Chantalle: Society isn't pushing these babies out for us, so anyone trying to hinder our expression in any form can shove it. As the mother of a little girl, I want my daughter to see me get sexy: to see Mommy pull out the heels, bells, and whistles and head out on the town. To know that some nights Mommy is going to be floating around the house in a silk something, and Zora needs to carry her butt to sleep. Neither of those decisions are something to be ashamed of... but in general, for women looking at other women and shrinking inside their skin, I'd remind them what I remind myself on the regular -- "Comparison is the thief of joy."