Sex After Childbirth
So many pressures are placed upon us individually or as a couple after birth. We need to make sure that we don’t try and compare ourselves to others when it comes to sex after childbirth.
After childbirth we are dealing with so many new experiences and our bodies have experienced a phenomenal amount of pain, strain and sleepless nights growing accustomed having a new baby to think about.
The standard advice (with no complications present) is to wait at least six weeks for everything to heal and your post-partum bleeding to stop.
But how do you even have time to think about sex? Why is it that you don’t necessarily feel like sex after babies and why?
Our bodies are recovering
After having a baby, no matter how that Little came out, either vaginally or via a C Section, we will be recovering. Flesh will be healing, wounds will be healing, things will be moving back into place, our wombs will be contracting, and our breasts may be sore if you are breastfeeding. The vitamins and minerals will be decreased, and we may even have experienced quite a lot of blood loss.
To have sex at the best of times requires a level of health and recovery during this time is a priority.
Some bodies may require a little longer to recover if birth injuries occurred so be patient with that body of yours, you just performed an incredible and amazing task!
Mentally we are done… done… so done…
Tired and rundown from lack of sleep and just mentally having to remember to do all the things required to keep baby happy takes up our entire brain capacity.
There seems to be no more room to contemplate sex, and maybe we are a little bitter about sex… I mean it was what got us into this mess in the first place right?
For both males and females, in a heterosexual relationship or a homosexual relationship, to perform mentally, we need to be in tip top shape… and sometimes a new baby in the house does NOT create an environment in which mentally we can perform sexually.
For both partners putting pants on in the morning and remembering the word tomato in a conversation (rather than “that red thing we put in salads”) is an achievement in itself. Mentally, new parents are fatigued and so mentally exhausted, that having to spend time “getting in the mood” is enough to make us give up on sex forever.
Our bodies are all weird and different
Our hair may fall out, our skin may be dry and flaky, we may get pimples and dark circles underneath our eyes.
Our nails may become brittle, our crazy leaking breasts might look and feel bumpy and your post baby tummy that resembles un-baked focaccia dough may make you want to cry.
The hormones are going back to normal. Our sex drive will be low and our body may not produce much lubrication due to the post birth decreasing estrogen levels which can make sex difficult and uncomfortable.
In our day to day life NOTHING. SEEMS. SEXY any more
How on earth are we supposed to feel sexy when looking after a small baby?
Still wearing our maternity pants because our normal pants don’t quite fit yet… not so sexy!
Vomit… not sexy!
Baby poo in your hair… not even remotely sexy!
Emotionally we are also going through A LOT!
Emotionally we feel different, we may feel like your partner feels different about you. Before babies you were a sexual person. After babies you are a parent and it is hard to let yourself feel like a sexual person again.
Dark days may creep in and you may even develop anxiety or post-natal depression. It must be noted it is completely normal to have a lowered sex drive while struggling with the baby blues, anxiety or post-natal depression. Medication for these illnesses also often disrupt libido also.
We may fear getting pregnant
This is a legitimate fear if you are in a relationship where this is a possibility and we shouldn’t overlook this fear. Please see your doctor and voice your concerns if you do want to be with your partner sexually and look into what kind of contraception you could try.
Partners and Sex – What they may be going through
Your partner will have things on their mind as well, and it is a good thing to add that we seem to forget about our sexual partners in all this.
Although they may not have gone through childbirth, they were often there for the ride, it may not have been what they expected, and they may be just as mentally exhausted and worried as you are.
They may be worried about performing, about hurting us and about pushing us.
Your partner may also feel lonely, the change from spending time with you daily is a vast difference to what happens after the birth, spare time is spent taking a shower and inhaling some kind of food while trying to clean and keep on top of the washing pile that seems to have tripled overnight.
They might not feel like sex either, which is why it is important to communicate. You may find that through this experience you will find that your partner is just as emotional and worried as you are about everything.
“Mummy Guilt” and Sex
Are we allowed to think about sex or be sexy after babies?
On one hand we think that sex and babies just don’t go together, that if we have a child then we must put so much of that behind us… that we can’t be sexy after children.
YET, we are bombarded with pictures of “yummy mummies”, famous ones mostly, who ooze sexiness from every pore.
If Beyoncé can be sexy and think about sex one month after childbirth, then should we be doing that too?
Of course, we should all do what makes us feel happy and comfortable but don’t for a second think that because someone else is back on the wagon, you have to be. There is enough pressure as it is after childbirth.
But, if you do feel sexy, and are ready for sex, please don’t feel guilty about that either.
Sex after babies means connecting perhaps on a different level, finding yourself again, reconnecting as parents now and not just as lovers.
Always remember too that as time goes on, things can, and often do go completely back to whatever was normal for you and appreciation for your body, desire and libido can always return.
Your body and mind have been through a lot, so let it heal, physically and mentally before you tackle sex.