My baby is fussily sleeping in the bassinet next to me.
My husband reaches over to pull me closer to him at my waist.
My dog rubs his head on my foot.
I barely recognize my post-baby body.
The skin on my deflated belly shifts from severe nerve pain to numbness.
My boobs hurt – they are no longer sexual parts of my body.
Basically – ouch.
I have to make a lot of big decisions and I can make a lot of mistakes.
I’m now responsible for keeping a small human alive.
My husband wants to have sex.
Holy hell, where am I in all of this?
Although I was a late bloomer, I’ve always considered myself a woman with a healthy sexual appetite. I feel uncomfortable in a relationship if we don’t have a good sex life. I need the closeness and the bonding with my partner. If I don’t have that, I feel like my relationship is falling to pieces. So, I can completely understand where my husband is coming from in this post-baby dry spell. This is a big change and how do we move through this together if we can’t connect again physically?
The huge shift is accentuated by the fact that I was super horny throughout my pregnancy. Although it got super uncomfortable to have sex the bigger I got, the need was there all the time. I even started watching porn online. The weird things that our hormones do to us!
Post-baby couldn’t have been more different. I felt pulled in many different directions physically and mentally. I was totally overwhelmed. Beyond the physical changes and healing after giving birth, I had endless amounts of fulfilling physical touch from my baby. It was almost a replacement relationship that began to trump my partnership with my husband. Common, I think, but not very healthy in the long run.
My mind switched in a heartbeat to “mom mode” and I didn’t feel sexy or honestly let sex cross my mind until my husband brought it up. Beyond the physical, my mind raced about all the things I now needed to do to keep this baby alive and what was the right/wrong thing to do. Needless to say, we weren’t having sex but I didn’t have the old panicky feeling that something was wrong in my relationship. I was fine without sex.
I never felt any reduced love for my husband, not that he seems convinced of this. When, in fact, my heart practically burst with love for him when he holds our baby. My love for him increased, it just wasn’t physical. The sexual switch seemed to turn off in my brain… even worse, I felt I needed more physical space after the huge physical demands thrown at me from this pink and crying lump we’d just created.
Nothing had changed for him physically beyond some sleep deprivation. Although he lovingly complimented my ever-changing shape, my brain still hadn’t caught up, how had his? I get the fact that his sex drive didn’t change and he wanted our sex life to recover… like, now.
At six weeks’ post-baby, I felt we had to have sex because I was neglecting him too much. It was, as promised, a little odd. Not painful really but my head wasn’t in the right place yet. As my midwife says “lube is your friend”. I felt so bad that my husband was really needing to connect with me and I was still not there. He was rushing to the finish line and I felt like I needed 10x the foreplay compared to usual… was that to fully get me out of this mindset? If I can’t figure it out, will it always be this hard?
Things did improve. Although I still need more foreplay, lube and I’ve actually said the words “I’m not in the mood”…gah! We have sex less often but, come on! We’re both tired.