A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

The “Curator of the Museum of Sexis a job title that gets a lot of attention. It was the almost-sitcom like backdrop for some of the most defining moments of my young womanhood: being single in New York City, finding my partner and finally, becoming a mother. Miles away from what I thought I’d be when I grew up, it was the kind of adventure I couldn’t have planned even if I tried.

What started as a research position acquired by complete chance at 22 quickly evolved into my life’s calling and genuine passion. I literally fell head over heals in love with the ability to create exhibitions that were both educational and entertaining, trying my best to normalize a topic that our society puts simultaneously on an advertising pedestal and demotes as a taboo.

In the more than 20 exhibitions I’ve curated, I’ve touched upon history, science, fine art, and technology through exhibitions with memorable titles ranging from The Sex Lives of Animals to Rubbers: The Life, History and Struggle of the Condom. Not only did each bring information into my life I’ll never be able to unsee or unlearn---both good and bad---each are interwoven with various stages and milestones in my personal life.

It was during pregnancy Number 2 that I wrote my memoir, Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career At New York’s Most Provocative Museum (St. Martins Press), which shares my personal story but also is a voyeuristic education in the unbelievable information I acquired during my tenure as a “Curator of Sex.”

But despite the mountains of sex books I’ve devoured, experts I’ve apprenticed with and practitioners who have taught be the nitty gritty real life sex intel they have amassed, it was actually pregnancy that in many ways was the finishing school of my sexual education.

Here’s 5 things I learned:

  1. Porn does not teach you how to get pregnant. Knowing a lot about the act of sex is wildly different than knowing how your reproductive system functions. I’ve realized there is a huge deficit in useful sex education…and worse where are you meant to get this information from as an adult? If you were lucky enough to get it, sex education in school was primarily a conversation about safe sex. Where is the Sex Ed class that applies to trying to get pregnant.When I decided I was ready to have a baby and stop taking the birth control pills I had been on for 10 years, I had no idea what experience was going to exist on the other side. Not every woman is going to ovulate like Swiss timing. While I thought I could just be scientific about getting pregnant, it took almost a year as I waited for my cycle to normalize and to understand that our bodies (and those of our partners) sometimes need a little leeway.

    1. Pregnancy sex is complicated. Pregnancy is a state of being that impacts every aspect of your sense of self, including sex. Some women have almost insatiable hormone-enabled sex drives, and for others, sex feels completely unappealing. While each pregnancy is different, in most cases, sex can continue up until delivery. It can even be suggested to induce labor, as it was for me during my second pregnancy. With a baby measuring very large, we were all looking for an intervention other than an emergency c-section. In the words of my OB and doula, we needed to have some “rough sex” if I had a prayer of getting that nearly 9-lb. baby out vaginally. As promised, after some mama-papa time the morning of my due date, our daughter was born later that afternoon.

  1. Childbirth is a cultural construction. When I was 19 years old, the book Birth in Four Cultures served as the inspiration for my dedication to the field of gender and anthropology. Despite being intellectually versed in the topic, and seeing all the popular culture documentaries like The Business of Being Born,” I still felt overwhelmed about my childbirth options. What was safe? What was fact versus how I was raised to think about birth? The truth is, no matter how educated you get on the topic, there isn’t just one right way to have a baby.
  2. Wait…what’s going to happen to my vagina? Why doesn’t anyone share this significant piece of information with women? While I had planned for labor to be painful, and knew that many women may experience tearing or even an episiotomy, the lived experience was completely different! It was only as I researched what to put in my hospital bag that I realized I’d need a stash of pads and that extra, almost diaper-like underwear at the hospital. Who knew that women who undergo a C-section will also have vaginal bleeding? And why only postpartum was it mentioned that sex would be prohibited for at least 6 weeks?

    Only through the confidences shared between other mothers have I heard the details of vulvas losing strength or sensation or conversely tightening to a point of making penetration painful and nearly impossible. I didn’t learn about vaginal rehab at work, I learned about it through the mamas in my life.

  1. Sex after baby is complicated too. The body that I had known my whole life suddenly felt like a stranger’s. Exhausted and nursing, I certainly didn’t feel my sexiest. My husband and I used to stay up all night wild and carefree, and now we simply grunted tasks at one another. I was perpetually in comfy clothes covered with stains from breast milk or other magic baby fluids. But with time, and a little more regular sleep, my husband I began to reconnect and actively work on nurturing a relationship that was about more than us just being parents together. I ditched my giant t-shirts and bought a bunch of night gowns that made me feel pretty and human again, but also felt “appropriate” enough to deal with all the middle of the night wake-up calls kids are so famous for.And I learned that sometimes in the chaos of having babies and children we forget to nurture that side of ourselves and our union. No anthropology textbook told me how hard that process was going to be, or how important it would be for my relationship, and more significantly, my sense of self.

Written by Sarah Forbes. For more than a decade, Sarah served as the Curator of the Museum of Sex, cultivating a wealth of experiences for my first book and memoir, "Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career At New York's Most Provocative Museum" (St. Martins Press, April 2016). With a Masters in Anthropology, with a focus on gender and sexuality, Sarah’s background emphasizes the cross-cultural historical perspective of sex and the tremendous diversity that exists in the sexual landscape. Professionally a curator, author, sexual culturalist and sexpert for Motherly Media, Sarah is also a wife and proud mother to Kai and Zia.

Homepage photo by Sven Lindhal. Step & repeat photo by BFA.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna

BUY

2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$349.95, Nuna

BUY

3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

PIPA™ base
(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95

BUY

4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

Diaper bag
$179.95, Nuna

BUY

5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

SENA aire mini
$199.95, Nuna

BUY


With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


You might also like:

Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

You might also like:

Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

You might also like:

When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

You might also like:


The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.