Between the Sheets: Intimacy After Childbirth
After I came home from the hospital with my first child, sore from an unexpected emergency C-section, I knew it would be a while before I even thought about being intimate. While I know my husband had a mental countdown calendar of the magical six week mark (because he told me), I wasn’t mentally ready for a romp between the sheets just yet. Not for a while at least.
Turns out I was not alone. A BabyCenter sex survey found that a third of new parents weren’t having any kind of sex three months after their little one was born. But with all the new changes that come along with the arrival of a new child, is anyone really surprised?
Ask any new mother and I’m guessing “sleep” is high on her list of priorities. If she gets a moment to herself, when she’s not catering to the new baby, she probably doesn’t want to be touched by anyone else. (Of course, not all moms feel this way; some are ready to go ASAP.) But if you’ve been given the go-ahead by your doctor and are feeling up to it, here’s what you should know before taking the plunge:
Feel better about getting naked: So you might not feel your absolute hottest at six weeks postpartum. One thing everyone failed to mention to me is that while I looked round and full of life at nine months pregnant, at one month postpartum your belly might look a little…deflated. As a result, I was very self-conscious when undressing in front of my husband. Don’t be like me! Work around your body parts that make you feel self-conscious and play up your best assets. If your boobs are milk-filled perfection, play them up with some cleavage, or if your legs look great, wear short-shorts to bed.
Lube or no lube? Your body is shifting your hormones are all over the place. In case your postpartum days have you a bit drier than usual, pick up some water-based lube to help ease you back into the swing of things. Maybe replay in your mind the last night of great sex you had as a way to get yourself revved up and ready to go.
Go slow: Remember your first time? (The very first time?) More than likely you were very cautious and tuned into how your body was feeling. You need to get back to that mindset. If it hurts, stop. Change position or use a bit more lubricant (or both!) and try again. Don’t get frustrated if it’s not how you pictured it would be. If it still is not working for the two of you, consult your doctor.
Find the time (and energy!) to be intimate: Who has the time to get busy, particularly if they are sleep deprived and on an infant’s schedule? Accept the fact that quickies are the new reality. It’s a win-win. It gives you the intimacy you desire without the time commitment.
Talk to your partner. If you have a great partner, they will most likely give you the time that you need to feel like yourself again. Even if you’re not ready to go all the way yet, make sure to give them plenty of physical contact (hugs, kisses, etc.) to let them know you are thinking of them.
While it might take you time to find your own personal groove again, be assured that it will happen. Maybe not as soon as you thought it would, but it will.
Tara Pringle Jefferson is the founder of TheYoungMommyLife.com and the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she’s too tired to remember.