By Pooja Pande
Motherhood and sex, sexuality, sexiness. We don’t hear of these in the same breath much. Does a woman stop being a desiring, desirable woman after she’s a mom? (Answer: um, no). Pooja Pande writes about the whys and hows of this stage of life and what she did about it plus a whole book of erotica about the sex lives of moms.
A distant smoke ship on the horizon, Mr. Waters? I’ll tell you what that feels like, and it’s got nothing to do with a trip gone bad (or is it good?).
When a baby has just come out from inside of you and is well, such a baby, you really do find yourself receding into the far oblivion, not unlike the out-of-body experience that a drug trip promises, minus the thrills. You inhabit a strange new world that’s not simply unfamiliar, but positively hostile, as you watch your own self struggling and failing and struggling yet again – while you, the helpless soul, consider… nothingness.
Your own body – the one you thought you owned and controlled, which did your bidding not too long ago – has suddenly been reduced to a bundle of exhausted, frazzled, anxious, raw nerves. Nipples serving milk on a blob you don’t recognize anymore (it’s your body). To a needy being you fiercely love but do not relate with, who offers no hope in the near future of becoming a person you could possibly relate with. You know that seven-year-old who’s all personality, the one you’ll be having conversations with? About the purpose of life, the beauty of butterflies, the exact sound a puddle-plonk makes, and if there is such a thing as a favourite mango? Yeah, she’s seven years away.
Numbness, a serious lack of affirmation, the absence of any and all desire, crippling uncertainty – meet your new bedfellows. You wonder if this is what they meant by irreversible, if this is now your new status as a mother. And if it’s permanent?
Well, they sure try to keep you there. Pinned down.
A woman as vulnerable as a new mother, uncertain about everything she can and could and possibly would do is too tempting a tabula rasa for a culture overfed on a diet of patriarchy. Never before or after have I felt it as strongly as I felt it in those weak moments, those cruel days of early motherhood that force you into doubting anything and everything you ever stood for. Things you start believing about yourself, about your undesirable body and mind, which also find echoes of agreement in the world outside.
“Of course, you can’t work the way you used to, ya. Itni late nights thodi karegi ab.”
“Wow! Imagine! Such a little thing, completely dependent on you for everything. Everything!”
“Maybe you can ask Aunty to come over for a few hours every day? Break mil jayega tujhe.”
“Maybe you can explain it to your boss. I’m sure he’ll understand.”
“I hope you’re still paying attention to your diet. If the baby has colic, that means you had something faaltu.”
“You’ll have enough stress looking after the baby anyway, why take on job stress also?”
“He’s such a hands-on dad, ya. You’re so lucky. But how much can he do after all
“Those stretch marks? Oh, they never really go away.”
“You decide. You know what’s best for the baby. You’re the MOTHER after all.”
Of all the things I heard, of all the well-meaning, patriarchy-enforcing, advice I was given, that last one always-always pissed me off. That there is this holier-than-thou aura you’ve allegedly conjured around yourself, from the moment that person came out from inside of you – and it allegedly grants you an all-knowing wisdom overnight. I know what’s best for me actually – you want to say – literary awards and multiple orgasms figure prominently, but the list is long.
You begin to realize, if you just about manage to keep your head above the water, that what it all really is is a conspiracy theory: Keep them moms on the pedestals, turn them into super-beings, so that they never ever step back down into the real world. We like our goddesses, don’t we? Worship them, they’re easier to deal with. They apparently have zero ambition for everything, including sex. “Your husband is never going to want you the same way again, dear. Who can after he’s seen your body like that? Good thing you’ll be too busy looking after the baby – the last thing you’ll be thinking about is sex.”
Hmm. I thought then.
Hah. I’ve said ever since.
Because, I found myself kicking them Pink Floyd out of the window and going all ‘Sexy Back-ing’, JT-style, in no time.
The affirmation I thought I’d lost, the want and need and desire so linked with the body and the mind – – it came back with a vengeance once the tsunami of my own personal emotion had ebbed away. I wanted to chart my way through that spectrum of the erotic, from new challenges at work, in life – redefine my personal ambition everywhere, from the office to the bedroom. I finally understood what my mom had been going on and on about all this time – “It’s the rebirth of a woman, beta.”
You realize there’s lots to be said about mortality when you witness an image of you and also of your mother and your favourite aunt and the grandmother you lost, crawling, walking, jumping about (and eventually dancing to Shape of You). There’s so much you can’t take for granted, so much of a life to live, to breathe in.
It makes you want it all, it makes you want more, it makes you work for it like never before.
I know I’ve been working at it hard, and boy have I been getting it!
And I am not alone – this is a journey undertaken, experienced, and ascertained firsthand by mothers around the world. Mothers who understand what gives them goosebumps, kicks and thrills, satisfaction, what makes them happy – enough voices to fill a book in fact! Titled If Moms Happy, featuring short stories that view erotica from the lens of motherhood, and indeed, vice versa. One of the most affirmative, uplifting projects I got to be part of, and cook up a tasty what-if scenario for, in the form of fiction. And just in time for the Mother’s Day weekend. The hot mamas club? Yup, I’m in.
Agents, here’s a taste of what lies inside this book!
TALKS IN MY TICKER
“See, that ticking clock demands an urgency. I am a slave to that moving hand. Sameer and I both, enslaved by Time, our ball-and-chain routine. My body now times itself to the ticks and the tocks. Some nights when I read Rasik his bedtime book, Dr. Seuss gets shaded dirty hues in my dirty mind. Like Mr. and Mrs. J. Carmichael Krox, I know that I’ve got ticks in my tocker and Sameer, tocks in his ticker. And I know that the reading of this book is the last PG-13 thing I’ll be doing that night. My naked body will soon be entwined in Sameer’s, bathed in moonlight streaming in through our sheer curtains that we decided to put up in the bedroom on a whim, but also because we live on the 15th floor and nobody is watching.”
“We transform into masters of the artful quickie tonight. There is something deliciously gratifying in this – this knowledge; knowing that we could do this together. Not just meet or find or stumble upon bliss, but grab it, demand it, take it by the cock and the clit and ask it to relent, to surrender, to come.”
“It’s that delicious moment when Sean’s mouth moves down the length of my body to taste my clavicle and breasts and belly that all of me opens wide in welcome and I’m giddy with anticipation. At last it all goes away—the daily grind of work and school and soccer practice and piano lessons and homework—just slips off the bed and out the door. My mind frees itself from the To Do list and the Family Calendar and rests on a soft pillow of utter pleasure.”
Jennifer D. Munro
“This is a wanted pregnancy, long-awaited. Why else would I keep a stick I’ve peed on as a souvenir of one of the happiest days of my life? So I didn’t expect to uncork anger—anger I’d hidden even from myself—as I both unplugged and corked
his dam of frustration. A dune of resentment had built up inside me, keeping us apart as much as the sickness, the fragility, the fear, the doctor’s cautions. The fucking eroded the barriers, brought me back to center point like a compass. Just as my physical body was off center, off balance, so was my mind, my perception of myself. I craved a good dose of yang for my yin. I needed his wide-open, vulnerable body splayed beneath me, just as I have been wide open and vulnerable ever since the missionary-position sex, lying with my ass hiked up on a pillow to aid the heroic journey of the sperm, which created this life inside me. I needed him trembling under my thrusts, my catharsis for having surrendered my body to an alien being.”
Name: “IF MOM’S HAPPY – STORIES OF EROTIC MOTHERS”
Editor: BRANDY FOX
Publisher: Cwtch Press
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
Where to Buy:
Pooja Pande, writer & editor, lives and works out of New Delhi. She often refers to her seven-year-old daughter as the love of her life. Her name’s Ahaana and they intend to spend Mother’s Day doing the usual: some homework, some Shape of You dancing, and lots of chatter.