When the female half of a couple ‘turns off’ from sex after the birth of a baby, she can feel guilty at disappointing her partner, worried that she will never get back her old feelings or anxious that it may mean something serious. Sometimes, she may be too tired to bother about worrying at all, and with the tiredness, even a little relieved amongst all this not to have to find the time or opportunity to make love.
If this happens to you, remember that sexual feelings come and go in intensity throughout life and throughout a relationship, and that when major changes happen to you – like pregnancy and birth and new parenthood – it’s not surprising if they alter the balance in other areas of your daily life. So be patient, and don’t feel guilty, or anxious, that things will never return to what they were.
It’s important to feel comfortable and pain-free when you think about lovemaking. If you had stitches in your perineum, they may take a couple of weeks or more to heal properly, and it may be a few more weeks before your skin regains its elasticity. Use plenty of lubrication, and go gently, at first – and if it continues to hurt, get yourself checked out. In a few cases, you may even need to be restitched, or there may be an underlying infection that’s preventing full healing.
Caesarean scars, engorged breasts, sore nipples – what a litany! But they can all contribute to uncomfortable lovemaking, and no one can relax and enjoy it if they’re sore, aching or irritated! Ask your midwife, GP or health visitor about these problems if they continue to bother you.
Being too tired for sex is something that you’ll have to face from time to time for the next few years… so it needs some creative thinking. Find time for sex when you aren’t tired – maybe the baby has a nap in the afternoons, and you can ‘make a date’ to grab the opportunity while you can. Or perhaps the morning is better for you, if your baby has a feed at say, six am, leaving you an hour or so before you have to get up.
We’ve said it here before – don’t let the changes in your sex life mean you miss out on physical closeness. Have a bath or a shower together, cuddle up in bed or on the sofa, remember to remind each other of your love…you don’t have to be competing in the sex athletics stakes to keep the lines of sexual communication open. And above all, give yourselves time, and patience and support.