After the actual birth itself there are few more daunting milestones for a mum than resuming her sex life. In the early days it’s unlikely that you’ll want to jump straight back into bed with your partner. And that’s fine. There are lots of reasons for this.
Whichever way you gave birth you are likely to feel bruised and battered with some healing to do. You are going to be sleep deprived and exhausted. You might be bickering with your partner as you adjust to being new parents. It might be that you don’t feel particularly attractive at the moment. Especially if you are in knickers that go up to your boobs.
But, all of these things are temporary. At some point, you will hopefully start to feel like you’re ready to resume your sex life. Before you do though, here are 5 things that you might want to consider.
Are you ready physically
You’ll often read or hear that you should wait until your 6 week check up before having sex again. That’s not without some foundation and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. If you had a tear then you’ll have stitches so trust me, you’ll want to make sure these are fully healed. If you had a c-section then you’ll feel a little tender (if not downright sore) and will want to make sure your wound is healing ok. On top of this you’ll bleed for at least a few weeks and it can stop and start so just because it’s been light for a few days doesn’t mean it won’t get heavier. Plus your boobs will probably be leaking (even if you don’t breastfeed) and may be REALLY sore or painful to touch. All of which means your body might not be ready for an active sex life.
Now don’t get me wrong, you can work around any of these if you want to. But it is a good idea to just think about whether or not your body is healed enough for you to start a physical sex life again. If in doubt, it might be best to wait until you see your doctor. In the mean time, there are plenty of ways you can get your sex life back without actually having sex so why not use it as an excuse to be creative in the bedroom!
Are you ready emotionally
Being physically ready is one thing. Emotionally ready? Completely different ball game. We can get so focused on the baby and so wrapped up in finding our way as a new mum that we don’t really feel that connected to our partners in the early days. Which is OK, but is likely to leave you feeling more like running a marathon alone than jumping into your bed with your partner. Also, if you don’t deal with any disagreements, resentment or even anger then you aren’t going to really feel in the loving mood (read more about 5 easy ways to improve your relationship if things are quite as good as you’d like at the moment).
On top of this, you might be feeling mixed emotions about resuming sex. You might be excited to get back to being a couple again but also you might feel apprehensive, nervous or downright scared about having sex again. All of which is normal.
The best way to overcome these is to talk to your partner. They might also be having mixed feelings about resuming sex so by sitting down and going through them you’ll be able to work through any issues that might stop you both enjoying being physical again.
How do you feel about your post baby body
Your post baby body is going to be, well, different. At least for a while (and sometimes permanently). If it’s still early days then you might still look like you are pregnant to a certain extent although everything is now a lot squishier. You might have stretch marks that haven’t faded yet. Your boobs may not be quite where they were. Or you might just be a little bigger all round than pre-pregnancy. It could be that you love the changes because they show that you are now a mother (and rightly so!). But if you are like most women, you could be feeling self conscious, insecure or maybe even embarrassed about how you look now.
If that’s you then it’s understandable that the thought of stripping off and getting naked with your partner leaves you feeling less than enthusiastic. It’s daunting and can make you feel really vulnerable. Talk to your partner if you are feeling this way. Tell them you need reassurance and understanding to feel comfortable about your body at the moment. You can also read this post on 5 ways to love your post baby body just as it is. And if all else fails, invest in a few silky nightdresses. Not only can they hide the bits you might not like but they’ll make you feel awesome and sexy too (plus your partner will love them – win win).
You’ve probably heard the myth that you can’t get pregnant whilst breastfeeding (and it is a myth!). You might also think that it takes a while for your fertility cycle to get back to normal. But there are a lot of women out there who have fallen pregnant within a few weeks of having a baby so don’t believe everything you hear. If you are planning on resuming your sex life then contraception should definitely be on your to do list.
You should get asked about contraception at your 6 week check up and it’s worth considering what you think will work for you now. Remember, what worked for you before might not be right for you now so make sure you think about all options. You might have finished your family so can go for something more permanent. Or you might feel more comfortable avoiding anything hormonal if you are breastfeeding. It’s an individual decision so talk it over and then get it in place. Even if you are absolutely loving being a mum taking on another baby within a year or so is not for the faint hearted!
Ok, so assuming that you do feel ready, physically and emotionally, and you feel good about your post-body and have contraception sorted, it’s time to think about the how, when and where. Without wanting to sound too doom and gloom, your days of spontaneous sex are over. At least for a while anyway. You’ve probably got a baby in your bedroom (who will wake up a lot in the night at first). It’s likely you are exhausted and spend your days just trying to keep on top of everything. You might have other kids too so all in all, finding time for date night can be really hard. Plus having sex in a bedroom (or even bed) with a baby can be a real turn off. Not to mention the fear of waking your little darling up when you’ve only just got them to sleep!
So yes, the logistics need some planning. If you can, see if you can get someone to have baby overnight. Then the bedroom and bed is all yours! If you’re breastfeeding or not ready to do that then think about some alternatives. You could put baby down for a nap in another room so the bedroom is free. You could get creative and take advantage of the other rooms in the house (on the sofa perhaps???). Or you could just remind yourself that baby isn’t going to know what you are doing anyway.
Overall getting your sex life back after a baby can be challenging. Sometimes it will just naturally start falling back into place. But often you’ll need to put a bit of effort into it. Don’t worry though, it will happen and is definitely worth it!
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