Polygyny Series: Effects of Bodily Changes upon a Marriage

The next post by Sister H in our polygyny series. I must apologise for the delay in publishing it.

Effects of Bodily Changes upon a Marriage.
You may wonder what the following has to do with polygyny, but bear with me, you will see the connection by the end of this piece.
There are may potential changes which a woman’s body goes through as she ages, and more so, after pregnancy and child birth. But may of them are swept under the carpet, despite the fact that statistics show that they are normal occurrences and not unheard of. I presume that most women prefer to not discuss these issues because they are personal and embarrassing  however should women not be able to discuss their experiences and feelings with their spouses? Should men not be supportive of their wives? Should women not warn other women that this is what you may face after you have children? Apparently this is not the case. I am unconventional and go against the norms, so today I am going to tell you about situations which you may want to consider.
Once you have children, your body can potentially permanently change. We all know about stretch marks and diastatis recti, but what about the development of a panniculus (which happens to even some thin women) or pelvic floor weakness? Incontinence of all types and prolapses are common side effects of child bearing. These issues can cause embarrassment of the wife in front of her husband, but what can she do?
After a woman has given up the best years of her life to a man, having his children, breastfeeding them and more, and she eventually decides that she is done having children, and finally gets to a point where they are all old enough to sleep through the night, are out of diapers, etc. and she finally has the time to put the effort into looking and feeling like a woman again, she looks in the mirror and realizes that she no longer looks the way that she did as a newlywed. Her boobs are saggy, her tummy is jiggly and perhaps saggy too, her feet are a size bigger, she has dark circles and/or bags under her eyes from years of sleepless nights as she sat up comforting colicky and teething babies, her hair is thinner, she has issues with incontinence  and a prolapse. She can’t stand how she looks but hopes that her husband would understand that having his children caused this and not hold it against her. But instead, he no longer wants to be intimate with her, as he can’t handle the fact that she passes gas or leaks urine when he tries, and for him it is a turn off, while she is in tears about it as she has no control over it. He avoids touching her because he doesn’t like the soft jigglyness of her abdomen or that gravity has taken a toll on her bust, and she no longer enjoys intimacy because he is not making the effort to stimulate her or help her along. Nobody wants to look at her privates because she’s got episiotomy scars, she is loose after having expanded wide enough to push out a few heads and bodies, and her insides which should be invisible are quiet visible if she was to open her legs.
How do women who have these issues move on and salvage their marriages? Many times, the only way to fix a body after child birth is by surgery. Many women are willing to go through with it, but sometimes factors beyond their control prevent them from being able to do so, including, but not limited to, a husband who refuses to allow it. Both parties are upset. Sometimes this leads to the wife stressing out and even gaining weight, which does not help at all.
Then, those husbands realize that they now have an old woman, but they want to enjoy the body of someone young and virginesque, so they go out and find someone. In the case of Muslims, it would be a 2nd wife. Second wife has no children, so she and husband are living a honey moon life. She texts him naughty sayings, while first wife texts him a grocery list. First wife is sharing her time with her husband with their children, and second wife has him all to herself for quality one-on-one time. Husband won’t necessarily leave first wife, as he feels a sense of loyalty towards her, especially because of the children, but the newness and excitemet of a new woman makes him look forward to his days with second wife.
How do us first wives who have physical issues get past them when our husbands ignore us and get smitten with other women? What about the psychological effects and the depression we feel? How do we move past it when our husbands refuse to even engage in conversations about the issues?    
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  • Sorry I disagree with this whole post.Body change has got nothing to do with polygyny at all.If a husband marries a 2nd wife because of that,then he's not worth it.I know better as I have been a co-wife for over 10years,i allowed my husband to marry again because it benefits both of us for the Akhira,sexual relations to us is a form of sadaqah and if the 3 of us raise our children to be pious,we will benefit after our death,as they will make dua for us for raising them to be righteous.No-wonder sisters hate polygyny nowadays,everything is about being fit and beautiful.A man who really understand the deen,would marry for the benefit of akhira,anything other than is illusion.

  • Oh how maddening! However women need to find balance btwn kids, husband and self. I recently had twins n my husband remarried his ex while I was two months pregnant, after ttc for four yrs. I know its not easy, and Im sure not the same… But i try. Not just for keeping my husband happy, but myself! We r btr mothers this way, i think.

  • I do not know what kind of husband who wants a fresh wife with no battle birthing scares, exciting and rough times witnessing child labor, etc. Most men from what I hear are proud of their wife who has given birth, with all her pregnancy battle scars 😀

    Even things like incontinence and saggy breasts can be a source of comic relief for spouses (as this occurs naturally)

    Yeah, sometimes it would be nice to have a beach bod again lol but if husband loves wife and is with her based on deen, the more children the better!

    Oh and exercise and following the sunnah with regards to eating can really help our bodies look better than perhaps before we had children if anyone really is upset.