A warning to my parents and in laws: you might not want to read this post. On the up side, this is proof that Josh and I have a healthy marriage.
Do you remember when you fell in love with your significant other? Amanda wrote a post last week on celebrating her better half and recalling their feelings when they were young. Everything in the beginning is lovey dovey, you have stars in your eyes and you’re on cloud 9. And you can’t keep your hands off each other. We made out all the time, young hormones all raging. When we were married, it was like one big sleepover. We didn’t live together before so it was new and exciting.
Then, I had a baby. No one really tells you the ugly truth and prepares you for what having a baby will do to your sex life. I should have added this to my list of Sh*t Someone Should Have Told Me. So I decided to do another list just for this topic. I think a healthy sex life is important to your marriage, and we actually give this advice during the pre cana counseling we do with our church. It keeps you connected, lowers stress, helps you sleep, etc. Sometimes though, it’s easier said than done. Here are all the things that could change and how to overcome them.
Sex after delivering a baby will hurt.
This was the biggest disappointment for me because sex during pregnancy was awesome. Something about all the hormones I guess, because I’ll wake my hubby up in the middle of the night for it. Sex after baby hurts, not only for vaginal deliveries, but also c-sections. A friend told me how shocked she was after her section that sex was painful; after all, she didn’t push a watermelon out of her vagina. However, it was a major surgery and her guts were all moved around and put back in place. I had a vaginal delivery and tore in two places, so I was terrified to “get back on the horse,” so to speak. My OB cleared me after 6 weeks, and we tried. Lots of lube and in much pain, it didn’t last long. Additionally, it didn’t feel good for a few months. You have to press forward – no pun intended.
If you’re breastfeeding, it will affect your sex life.
After a few months, I discussed with my OB the difficulty I was having in the bedroom. He told me it could remain that way until I stopped nursing. WHAT?! Your body is in provider mode, and you have vaginal dryness, decreased libido, etc. Your body is actually trying to keep you from having sex. Many moms also say that their boobs, once a great place for arousal, became simply about feeding a baby. It just didn’t feel right to have them caressed during sex, not to mention it would make you think about the baby and then potentially squirt your partner in the eye (this actually happened to a friend). Not fun.
Your partner does not care what your body looks like.
My husband, as well as male friends, have attested to this. As women, we need certain things to get in the mood. The stars must align, our minds must be clear of work and kids, we need to have sexy thoughts, and by all means, we have to feel sexy. After having a baby, the last thing you feel is sexy. There’s spit up on your clothes, you might not have showered today, and there are circles under your eyes. The last thing you want to do is have a romp in the sack. In fact, an Ivillage survey showed 63 percent of women would prefer to sleep, read or watch a movie. However, that’s when you can begin to drift away from your partner. Sometimes I am still too tired, not in the mood, etc., but we do it anyway and I am glad we did. And I really believe now that he doesn’t care how I look that day; he loves me and like most men, enjoys getting laid.
Stay close with your girlfriends.
My close friends have been the biggest support system since having kids. In fact, I find we are even closer now because we all have such common ground, even though we are miles apart. It also helps that we are extremely candid, so we share everything and give each other uninhibited advice and laughs along the way. My friend who is the last in the group to start the baby making train is benefiting the most, because we are telling her everything – the good, the bad and the ugly. We also have made a point to communicate often through daily group texts, weekend girls trips and a naughty book club. I’ve told other friends about our book club, and they are looking into starting their own! On that note, the Crossfire series in my opinion is WAY better than 50 Shades. Plus, reading it spiced up my sex life. My friend who leads the charge also gave us ‘homework,’ which included getting out of our comfort zones. Sounds wacky, but it keeps things fun.
Even if you don’t have kids, your lives can become monotonous. We get so involved in the day in and day out that we forget to stop and take a deep breath. We try to carve out alone time after Jude is in bed, get a sitter for a random date night or even have a last minute family outing. It may not always be about sex and romance but about enjoying each other’s company. Talk about something other than work or kids. Go eat somewhere different. Take a family bike ride. Take a shower together (we actually do this nightly because it’s great one on one time for us, even if we just talk).
Bottom line, marriage takes dedication. It’s 100% percent on both sides, not 50/50. You have to put the other person first. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t feel like doing, but in the end are better for you and your spouse. The saying is “happy wife, happy life.” While I love that idea, I’m not happy if he isn’t. And us being happy as a couple makes a better household for our family. Step out of your comfort zone, have fun and make memories. Maybe even make another baby if you want. That’s what I did.