Every time I say no, I feel like a bad wife. I feel like I am betraying him. I feel like I just hurt him, again. But then he kisses my cheeks, and nods in understanding.
Physical intimacy and sex after having a baby is very difficult. And in our case after baby # 2. When we had our oldest daughter, like most couples, we refrained from physical intimacy so I could heal, and feel like myself. But after a few months, we reconnected again and it was beautiful and intimate. It was like we had been apart from years and just being together again felt like everything was better again.
However, we recently had our second daughter (she is now 7 months old), and with our responsibilities and day to day lifestyle, physical intimacy or sex is the last thing on my mind. With a full time job, a handful preschooler, a breastfeeding baby, a hectic home-life, and living with in-laws (no privacy!!), I feel as if I have no time (or desire!) to do anything except sleep when I hit the sack.
Postpartum intimacy requires a lot of patience especially from our partners. Motherhood is a rewarding yet a demanding change. Not only do we go through so many physical changes, we also change emotionally and mentally. And it can be very “difficult to feel whole” again.
It is essential to discuss what you feel with your partner. And that goes both ways! I am speaking from my perspective as a mother and wife, and here are some reasons why postpartum physical intimacy is challenging for me.
Birth of a child transforms a woman (and I mean physically here!). From weight gain, to scars, to leaking breasts, everything makes me feel very self-conscious about myself. I see women on Instagram sharing stories about how to love yourself and feel confident about the body that brought another human being into this world. AND I DO!! I mean I am proud and happy and I do feel like a super woman (My husband calls me SUPER MOM! :)), but I still feel unattractive and embarrassed with all that’s changed in front of the man I love.
Fear of pain because physical intimacy after having a baby can sometimes be uncomfortable (at least that’s what I feel), and fear of becoming pregnant again! YEP two completely different types of fear yet quite common in many women when it comes to postpartum intimacy.
The BIG ONE! Full time job, a demanding preschooler, an exclusively breastfed baby, family obligations, living with in-laws, house work, volunteer at daughter’s preschool…phew! And there are so many other things that keep me super busy, and super tired every day.
Hormones and emotional changes often lead to vaginal dryness and decrease in libido in postpartum women. This is common 4-5 weeks after childbirth but many women report it lasting up to a year after having a baby. You can also blame low sexual desire on everything else listed here; I know I do!
Childbirth is beautiful but it can be a mood killer. And parenting is also a blessing but children are mood killers. We co-slept with both our girls and even though they sleep in their own beds (for the most part!), having them around hinders our ability to connect as a couple. I often wish for those prekiddos alone moments with my husband!
I often feel guilty if I choose my needs before my children. This may sound childish but I really do feel bad if I give myself a priority. Whether it’s self-care such as a cut/color, or it’s attempting intimacy with my husband, I feel guilty that I am not with my girls instead!
Having a baby is an immense blessing but becoming a parent is not easy. We drown our needs to take care of our little ones and before we realize it, forget ourselves completely. My girls are 4 years and 7 months old, respectively, and I often find it difficult to include my needs in the midst of all the other responsibilities on my plate. But, change can start with small steps. And my husband and I are working to make those small changes to bring the “old” us back! 🙂
And so should you!
How did you feel about reconnecting with your partners after having a baby? Do share please ! 🙂