being intimate as a parent

Intimacy after Baby PART 2: FOUR Real Moms with Real life Stories & Advice

Boners after Babies (too much) haha

Alternate title: Intimacy after Baby 3  points of view 3 Moms, 3 lifestyles all REAL

Mom #1
No one told me that peeing after a vaginal birth would be terrifying or that just six weeks later the idea of sticking something (anything for that matter) back up there would be a thought that brought on some fierce anxiety.

Let us talk intimacy after baby. I can only write from my experience of a vaginal birth with barely any tearing, but don’t worry I didn’t get off easy. I had a 38 hour labor AFTER my water broke. Ha. I know everyone's experience with sex after baby is much different. Whether it is a vaginal birth with tearing, no tearing, c-section, or adoption. Being intimate after a baby comes into your life is just…different. At first.

Our first time after baby? It was so traumatic! I can laugh about it now but as an overwhelmed, sore, tired, postpartum baby blues mama, it was one of the worst sexual encounters of my life. I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t feel ready. My husband did, of course. The baby was napping for the first time in his life and I never knew when he would wake up and it was usually with screaming. He was a super light sleeper and of course he was in our room where our bed was. My husband pushed “If we don’t do it now it won’t happen because you’ll be tired.” Ouch. Yes dude, I’m tired. You have NO idea. So in my anger I actually said yes to get it over with.

So, we crept into the room. I just laid on the bed quietly ready to just get it done. First mistake, forgot the lube. OUCH. So start over, lube this time. And then BOOM the pain! What. The. Heck. Why did sex hurt for the first tie ever? It felt like pain on the outside, pressure on the inside, and cramping. My body wasn’t ready. Simple as that. Is this too personal yet? Ha. Well within the first thrust. Guess who woke up right next to us, screaming? You got it. I was right from the beginning. My husband looked at me and asked “Should we stop?” I was so mad and so anxious I yelled “This is what YOU wanted, just get it over with NOW!”

Talk about a romantic first time in 6 weeks. Ha. What an epic failure. It actually took me three months until my body handled sex without pain. And 5 months before I felt ready for sex to be “about me.” I’m exclusively breastfeeding and it can lower your libido, and for me it definitely did. Not that I had a huge libido in the first place.

I know you’re thinking “poor husband!” Don’t worry. We figured out ways to be intimate minus the P-in-V. To be completely honest my husband sexual needs were the last thing on my mind for a good 6 months. But our intimacy did not suffer.

Here are some tips on keeping it steamy after baby, even if you can’t have sex

1)      In your own head agree on a minimum weekly you’ll allow yourself to go without treating your husband to a sexual encounter. For me I wouldn’t go more than two nights in a row without something for him.

2)      Planning is everything. You don’t have to schedule it with your husband. Scheduled sexual encounters aren’t usually thought of fondly but with so much going on around you it is helpful for you yourself to devise a plan. For our family, showers worked best. No mess to clean up! Or something on the couch after baby went down for the night, not a nap!

3)      Still keep things spontaneous if you can. Sometimes my baby was down for a nap and timing was perfect so we just went for it.

4)      If you’re not ready for sex use hand jobs or oral! I’m sure your husband won't mind. Ha. 

5)      Don’t forget to touch your husband. It is so easy to be tired out after a day with the baby and to forget your husbands desire for physical touch. If you’re sitting together hold hands, put your legs over him, sit on him. Kiss him, before he leaves for work, when he comes back, anytime you pass him in the house. A simple kiss or hug will go a long way.

6)      Lastly, talk about expectations and realities. My husband knew what a toll the baby was taking on me. I was in a lot of pain with breastfeeding and I was so tired and touched out. He knew that I wouldn’t let it go past two nights of nothing. So he never asked for anything. The expectation was that I would initiate. The reality was we both had to have grace and understanding with one another.

Don’t forget your marriage. It is such a hard transition. Your husband had you to himself for however long before baby. Going from having your full attention to almost none is HARD. That’s why you need to remember to give him your attention. It won’t be the same amount, it won’t look the same, but it will save your marriage.

It gets better and it will go back to its new form of normal. Make your new normal sexy, romantic, and spontaneous. Ladies, it is worth it, your husband is worth the mental effort to make sex awesome after babies come into play.

Mom #2
So my husband did not like me pregnant, it freaked him out and so he expected me to take care of him but refused to return the favor and I stayed horny. It was miserable. My love language is touch so constantly giving and not receiving put me in a bad place emotionally to the point that I dreaded it most of the time.
Then baby comes and my husband went through paternal post partum after a tricky delivery. It jacked his head up and he had a hard time getting excited about her and was pretty jealous but in a quiet disengaged way which is totally unattractive. He stayed slightly angry for a while. It was tough. And between really bad tearing (like had to go into surgery after because the tearing was so bad) and breastfeeding, my body, hormones and head kept me uninterested for over 9 months. We attempted at like 10 weeks and it was so horrible I cried and we didn't try again for another 4 or 5 weeks. The pointers definitely are good to keep on track but dealing with the hormonal and emotional side of it was pretty tough for us as a couple so don't be worried if that isn't you. Or if you can't relate to mine either we are all DIFFERENT.. My husband couldn't get his head to a place where he could understand what I was going through and I couldn't get myself to a place to want to be there for him sexually because he was being such a butt most of the time. It was an ugly cycle for a while. It's been a year and we still don't have a good rhythm. So I really don't have any pointers just the comment that you don't have to be a superwoman and dish it out  often when you are not feeling it.Sex has not been super fun the past year and half and it shouldn't be something your partner expects because it's a duty. It's a partnership and what intimacy really is built off of. I think it makes for a lazy partner. my husband got super lazy when I let him get away with it while pregnant and I think it's made it more of a stuggle honestly now that we are working around another human being. We are constantly working towards a new normal and new intimacy but it definitely is a journey so don't think you are alone. Women need to hear that it isn't just them.

Mom #3
I am not anonymous . It's me , Brii.

I wanted to put in my own snip bit on this article because I think so often adoptive moms are left out because we don't "experience" these things, or so that is what others think. 
Let me start off with, our adoption process was a bitch. For almost a year we were in absolute hell, emotionally, financially. It was one of the hardest moments of our lives. We fought, we were stressed out beyond belief and torn down emotionally. The thing with pregnancy is, theres this high this positivity with having a baby. We didn't see an end in sight, we felt as if we may never be parents. Even after matching it was a constant wrenched feeling that it may change, as it had so many times before and its so hard to be mentally or physically aroused in any way when you are so drained and twisted on the inside. We would go weeks without being intimate and then have days where we never left the bedroom but it was sparatic we were either to stressed for sex or trying to lose ourselves to it to distract us from reality.

When our little guy was born, he had to ween off of a few things. Which caused so many sleepless , painful tiresome nights. I didn't shower for weeks, I didn't eat much and Joe was balancing being a new dad and working full time because Paternity leave wasn't a thing and we couldn't live without a pay check. I was alone 90% of the time with a baby who was going through some shit. We weren't sleeping in the same bed, let alone being intimate. We tried but I felt disguisting and so exhuasted and I truthfully didn't want my baby out of my arms. I never wanted to put him down or let him go. I was scared I would blink and he wouldn't be there. My anxiety and depression made intimacy not even an option the only touch or feeling I wanted was to hold my baby against me constantly. It took probably 5-6 months for us to slowly become our normal intimate selves again though we were intimate thorughout it definitely wasn't planned or even remotely constant. Even now there are days where I am just like no way did you see our kid today? He hasn't slept hes climbed every table book shelf and threw every pot nd pan across the room intimacy is the last thing on my brain at that point. 
Motherhood, hell parenthood isn't easy . Your life in no way shape or form will be what it was before whether that is intimacy or something else. Find YOUR new norm, find what works for you and don't be ashamed to say no or to not be ready.

Mom #4
Trigger: stillbirth, pregnancy, rainbow baby

“I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat” I was 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant with my first child. Instantly my life shattered like shards of glass. Over the next 48 hours was a whirlwind of induction, L&D and then... nothing. Just silence-my baby girl didn’t cry, she was already gone. My husband and I spent 25 hours holding her, crying for her, dressing her. She met her grandparents and had pictures taken to remember her sweet little body I had waited so long to meet. And then we were sent home empty handed.

Besides the standard post partum 6 week ban on intercourse, mentally and emotionally I wasn’t close to wanting sex. My world was dark, I was depressed, mourning for my child. My body was worn down after a full term pregnancy-stretch marks and swollen feet. My eyes swollen and bloodshot from crying and my nose raw from all of tissues. Who wants to have sex with that?

Intimacy is the foundation to any strong relationship. Intimacy takes many forms. Sexual pleasure, loyalty, trust, and even grief. Along with this are the 5 “love languages (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/), which I’m sure you’ve heard about. After losing Ellie, the intimacy of my marriage changed along with the love languages we spoke and needed. Intimacy looked like my husband waking up in the middle of the night to hold me as I sobbed from the nightmare I was living. It was how he held my hand, ever so slightly caressing it with his fingers, just so I’d know I wasn’t alone at all times of the day. It was that look I’d give him when I felt overwhelmingly sad or scared seeing a newborn in the grocery store and he would lead me away to a safe distance so I could weep in peace. Our souls are intertwined together with the loss of our daughter, in a way that no couples should have to endure.

Somehow, we wanted to try for another child. Sex for me wasn’t meant to be enjoyable, it was a means to a baby to fill my empty arms. My husband knew this and was so kind and gentle with me. We were so fortunate to conceive again on our first month of trying, just 12 weeks after delivering our daughter stillborn. Couples who struggle with infertility lose even more spontaneity when they have to track cycles, temping their basal body to predict ovulation, timing intercourse, peeing on home pregnancy tests and having “line eyes” in hopes of seeing that double line for months and months.

The language of our intimacy again changed with being pregnant after loss. Our lives were consumed in the fragility of this new life growing inside of my womb. Intimacy was the vulnerability I felt building up each week. It was my husband’s commitment to be at every prenatal appointment with me. It was the moments that I couldn’t bear to listen to his little heart on the home doppler for fear of hearing it beat for the last time and my husband plugging in headphones to listen for himself.

Intimacy was him giving me strength when I was feeling down, or vice versa. But it was also when both of us were feeling scared. “Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.” -Megan Devine. Having someone to carry my feelings and endure this journey with, lightened my burden. That’s true intimacy in the deepest form.

Fast forward 37 weeks when our son was finally born kicking and healthy. I spent hours watching my husband interact with him because it made my heart explode with love. The intimacy that 2 parents share with their child/ren is way beyond the physicality of lovers. The time spent together (especially in the newborn phase) expands your trust and patience in one another. Raising a child essentially is the physical form of intimacy.

As for our sex life (come on-you didn’t think I’d leave that out, did you? ) it’s a pretty standard, typical sex life between two working (read: exhausted) adults with a learning-to-walk-and-throw-tantrums toddler (read: very exhausted). The frequency is less, sure. But I can attest the quality is better. The time crunch, extra pressure of a sleeping baby a few rooms away, and the semi-public sex in a car because you finally got a date night and the babysitter is home with the baby, makes the sex much more spontaneous and pleasurable. Quality over quantity.

Intimacy, like boudoir, is more than just “sex/sexy”. It takes trust, patience, confidence, and practice. It’s vulnerability and deep emotions like love and grief. Intimacy is the bond that connects two beings and what keeps our relationships ever growing and maturing.