Sex after pregnancy; what happened to “normal”?
Well, the short answer is – there is no “normal” anymore. “Normal” went out the window as soon as your wife came out of the bathroom with the pregnancy test, and there were two pink lines staring back at you. So what’s a husband to do?
First, take a deep breath. You will have a sex life again. It’s not hopeless. Your wife will once again look at you with that “come and get me” look that you haven’t seen since this tiny intruder came into your lives (or if your wife was sick during pregnancy, it may have been a lot longer than that) – cloaked in a blue or pink blanket. So far I’ve gone though this whole process with my wife 3 times, and each time it’s been a little different.
“In The Beginning” – Ah yes, our first child was born. We had been married 2 years. I remember sitting there as a new dad, hearing the doctor say “Now Valerie, make sure you are on pelvic rest for at least 6 weeks, before resuming sexual activity”, and thinking “surely he doesn’t mean that. He must be talking about what ‘most people’ do, but I’m sure my wife will be ready to go long before that”. I was dreaming (my wife told me so). Boy, did I wake up. Life started with new baby at home now. I tried to be as much help as I could, helping with feeding, diapering, etc. But Benjamin was getting up every 2 hours at night to be fed, and my poor wife was trying to let me sleep as much as she could because I had to work in the morning – but doing so left her in some sort of sleep deprived “fog” for most of the day. She was sleeping when the baby slept, dealing with diapers, caring for a baby for the first time – all while having “first time mommy doubts” about if she was “doing it right”, or “being a good mommy”. Let’s just say that there wasn’t much room on her mind to think of that thing we used to enjoy together called “sex”. I knew she wasn’t able to HAVE sex at the time, but I wanted her to at least WANT to have sex, and be looking forward to being able to do it again. But she didn’t want it, and wasn’t looking forward to it at the time. This led to me not feeling important, and since we didn’t quite know how to communicate in each other’s language early on, we were butting heads quite often about it. She wanted me to be emotionally close to her, but I was having a really hard time with it, due to her not paying attention to me at all sexually. Round and round we would go. Finally, at some point, we figured out a few things that made life much easier –
The first 6 weeks –
- She NEEDS you – just not in the way you may want – yet. She needs to know you are in this whole new baby thing together. That means coming home from work and asking what you can do to help. Does the laundry need done? Does she want you to just take the baby while she takes a bath? Does she need you to just listen to her while she let’s out all the stresses of her day? Yes, this stuff is HARD for us to feel “inclined” to do when we don’t feel sexually connected, but you HAVE to find a way to man up and do it. Even though she can’t wrap her mind around the idea of sex right now, she still needs to feel emotionally connected to you. One other thing – don’t “clam up” on her. In other words, don’t help with all the work, and forget to open up to her and share your day, heart, etc. Let her know you love her, and you think she’s doing a great job. This goes a long way to our wives.
- Sex doesn’t always mean intercourse – Let me have a quick word with the wives for a second: Your husband will probably never communicate this to you in a way that you will understand at the time, but please try and understand what I’m about to tell you: Right now your husband is feeling like he just got bumped out of the #1 spot in your life, by this little baby that seems to do nothing but poop and cry, and take all your attention and affection. This is totally ok with him! He understands this, and even expected it! But – what he won’t tell you, but desperately hopes you will notice, is that just because life has been turned a little upside down the past few weeks, his sex drive hasn’t gone anywhere.He still thinks you’re beautiful. You still turn him on. The only problem is that you are so preoccupied with “baby stuff” right now (perfectly normal mind you), that you tend to forget that even though your drive may have gone through the floor, your husband still needs you to show you love him, and show him you care about his sexual needs. Try and find ways to show him that even though you may not feel sexual right now, you understand it’s hard for him in the in the meantime. A simple “hand job” goes a LONG way in letting him know that you haven’t’ forgotten about him. Also, ASK about how HE’S doing dealing with the lack of sex, and offer to help him get release if he needs it. Let me tell you, you will see his whole demeanor change, and all the sudden you will find it much easier to have the emotional connection you were longing for with him. You’d be amazed if you could realize how much it means to your husband if you show him just a little psychical attention. You mean so much to him, and sex is what a husband uses to “check in” and make sure the relationship is ok. Without that, it’s hard for him feel secure and needed by his wife.
- Your “first time” all over again – The six weeks (or more depending on how much she tore during delivery, if it was a c-section, what her doctor feels is best, etc.) is over! We’re good to go again right? Wrong. Your wife is probably terrified of having sex again for the first time since the birth. Remember, she just pushed something the size of a football out of her vagina. She may be a bit timid about going at it again. Take it slow (VERY slow), listen to her, be understanding, and take cues from her about whether you should continue, and use LOTS of lube! Don’t’ be upset if she has too much pain to continue! Remember, this is a healing process – it’s not going to happen overnight. Be understanding; if the pain is too much to let you finish, she is going to feel like she failed. Reassure her that it’s ok, you love her, and you’re not upset.
- But it worked before?! – Don’t be surprised if the same things that felt good to her before pregnancy, don’t “do the trick” after birth. You’ll need to “re-learn” what feels good, and what doesn’t anymore. This is especially true if the doc had to put stitches down there. During intercourse certain angles will be much more sensitive/painful than before. You may have to switch up positions to find one that is more comfortable for her.