Post-Partum Sex: A Guide For New Parents
New parents, congratulations! Your dream has come true and you’re holding the baby of your dreams. But has the miracle of childbirth taken a miserable toll on your intimate relationship with your partner? You’re not alone.
Most people experience fear and anxiety when it comes to getting the ball rolling again in the bedroom department. Some lose interest completely, while others want to return to the way things were before the baby bliss, only to discover they have to adjust to a new normal.
Are you newly pregnant, and worried about how things will be in the bedroom after the babe is born? Holding a newborn and can’t imagine anything going in where she just came out? Ready to romp but worried? Keep reading: We’ve got your quandaries covered.
Getting Geared Up To Get It On
The first thing you need before going for it with your guy or gal is medical clearance. This is not simply about whether or not it’s safe for insertion. It’s also about your heart rate, blood pressure and healing of any birth-related tearing, injuries or procedures, to name a few potential roadblocks. In a typical, complication-free post natal situation, doctors instruct new mamas to wait at least six weeks before resuming sexual activity.
Got the all-clear from the doc, but still feeling anxious? Lady, your body has been through a lot. Forty weeks of growing that baby plus the physical, emotional, mental stress and sometimes trauma of childbirth means you may not be able to imagine using your lady parts for anything outside mama-ing.
Green-lighting the get-down is about a lot more than wanting to reconnect with your partner. Take all your questions and concerns to your doctor, including a discussion about birth control. But beyond that, be honest with yourself and your significant other. Walk and talk them through your feelings and fears, because that conversation is going to bring you closer no matter what the outcome.
Whose Body Is This?
Most people don’t recognize their postnatal bodies. Stretch marks, an extra layer on the stomach and hips, fuller breasts sometimes engorged with milk that won’t stop flowing. Whatever your hang ups about your appearance, know that your body is a miracle, and however it feels to you today is temporary. Your body will continue to change and so will your mind and feelings about it. The most important thing is to be kind to yourself.
Many couples experience long periods of abstinence during pregnancy. Then women are surprised to feel disconnected from their new mom bods, which can complicate feeling sexy. If your partner is longing to connect with you intimately, know that they love and accept your body exactly how it is today. Find ways to disconnect the self-judgement brain and focus on that connection. Take the pressure off and incorporate some toys, working your way up to intercourse. Use lubrication! It makes the going easier, sexier and more amenable to any potential dryness.
My Baby is Right…There…
It’s ok. Since the dawn of time and the origins of the species, human beings have procreated within arm’s reach of their offspring. But maybe it’s too distracting for you to stay in the room with your sleeping babe. It might make things less stressful if you either roll that bassinet out of the room or move your activities to the living room. Turn the video monitor away for a bit, and just really focus on connecting with each other. Babies can sleep without being watched! Put on some quiet slow-jams, break out the massage oil and kick the boppy and burp rags to the side. Let your body remember what it feels like to be serviced, rather than of service.
Whatever your sex life was before, it will most likely be different now. There are a lot of logistics to parenting that you can’t predict, like sleeping schedules, sleeping arrangements, child care, feeding times, etc. Given some time you and your partner will get into a new rhythm and flow.
You may even find yourself getting more creative (the kitchen is now the quietest room in the house! The shower allows you to multitask!) Maybe your brain won’t shut off, and using porn becomes a shortcut for your libido to get fired up. Or, you may have to schedule in date/sex night. It’s ok. It’s important to find a way to connect that works for both of you, so that your physical and emotional needs are being met.
Mama Says ‘No’
Maybe you had a traumatic childbirth experience. Maybe you’re struggling with postpartum depression. Perhaps your body needs more time to heal. Whatever your reasons for not feeling ready for sex, communicate them. If you feel your personal stop-signs are having an impact on the health of your relationship, find some outside help. Every child deserves a loving and happy home, and harmony between his or her parents is vital to a happy family.