Let’s talk about sex, Baby.
Actually, scratch that.
Because once you add a real life baby to the picture, it’s more like…let’s think about sex, fall asleep on the sofa, stagger upstairs, fumble ourselves awake, start getting into it until we’re blasted by the cold shower of a baby’s cry…
Sounds familiar? Welcome to the No Sex Please, We’re Breeders club. Membership costs two arms, two legs (and a cheeky bottom) and it lasts forever.
Ok, so it’s not that bad. But it’s funny how that drive that leads to babies can get stuck in reverse after the little ones arrive.
I remember just hours after delivery, having a chat with the visiting doctor.
‘Have you thought about contraception?’ she asked.
Huh? I’d have laughed out loud if my pelvic floor muscles could have taken it.
Sure there are some mamas (and plenty more papas!) who are ready to get back in the saddle as soon as she’s ‘out of stirrups’.
For most of us, finding our groove again can take a while.
Luschka at Diary of a First Child wrote a fascinating post about sex after natural birth.
Now I’ve had several conversations with women, pre and post motherhood, about the benefits of keeping the vajuju™ intact.
If you’ve never passed a human being through your birth canal, it’s hard to imagine things can ever be the same afterwards. All that pushing and stretching…and tearing. Ouch!
Having a baby ‘above the fold’ seems like damage control.
But for those who think C-sections are the easier (even sexier) option, here are a few things to consider:
It’s major surgery and you might not realise this until the drugs are wearing off and you’re feeling like you’ve barely survived a Texas Chainsaw massacre. Sexy time might be the last thing on your mind for weeks, even months.
Natural mamas are often up and about within a few days (sometimes hours), but after a C-section it might take a couple of weeks before you can even walk normally. Healing time can vary for women but it takes about 6 weeks for your uterus to return to normal and doctors often advise you wait a few weeks before intercourse. The typical recommendation for any physical exercise post-surgery is 4 to 6 weeks.
To add to the physical ups and downs of pregnancy, you’re scarred for life. It’s a beautiful reason for a scar, but it’s there along with a little pouch that never seems to go away. If you weren’t planning a C-section but had emergency surgery, feelings of being robbed or even failing in some way can affect your mood and libido. Then there’s worrying about how your partner views you. Sure some men are traumatised by seeing the ‘business end’ of natural birth, but with a C-sec, he’s probably had a gander at your internal organs. Saucy.
Loss of sensation
Many women who’ve delivered naturally report a loss of feeling due to stretching. But for some women after Caesarean births, feelings of numbness at the site of the incision can last for up to a year or longer.
And of course all new mamas face challenges such as feeling emotionally drained, low libido (from tiredness, hormonal changes and especially breastfeeding), boob issues (too swollen, too sensitive, too leaky) and the number one passion killer for new parents: exhaustion.
One study found that 67 percent of new parents prefer sleep to sex. I know many mamas who would choose two nights of good sleep over a dirty weekend in a heartbeat.
So where does this leave your intimate relationship? On the corner of a bedroom floor, sobbing?
Cheer up, love, it’s not all over.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this discussion, How to Rev Up Your Sex Drive after Kids.
For a brilliant and honest account of trying to have a sex life after birth (after twins!) check out Marianne from Mari’s World’s video blog, If Only I had the Energy