Baby weight and jaundice and breastfeeding make it on the short list of things we talk about post-delivery, but postpartum sex? Not so much.
I distinctly remember the moment it all began. My midwife had just completed her physical examination and she hit me with “So have you attempted intercourse yet?”. I bust out laughing, noted the serious expression on her face, and realized she was not actually joking. It was my 6-week postpartum visit after the birth of my first son and the idea of having sex again after going through childbirth downright terrified me.
My husband and I eventually got our groove back, but it felt like we were back to square one again after I gave birth to our second son. Adding a second baby to our family was joyful and the best kind of exhausting, but our sex life took a huge hit. I was left feeling very much alone in my struggle. It felt like it was universally accepted that most couples’ sex lives change drastically after having kids. However, no one seemed to be discussing the “how” or “why” of the change and so I struggled silently.
There were so many things I wish someone had told me about sex after baby, and having lived through it now (more than once), I’ve added my own insights to share with you:
- I wish someone had told me to wear a bra. The first time back in the sack, I neglected to consider that I might letdown and proceeded to lactate all over my husband’s chest. We laughed it off, but it was most assuredly not sexy.
- I wish someone had told me that after the first several times I would lay on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on my pelvis because I was so sore.
- I wish someone had told me that I would need some industrial-grade landscaping tools. Looking after “two under two” left me with barely enough time to shower, let alone groom my lady bits.
- I wish someone had told me that I should buy stock in KY. Exclusively breastfeeding left me drier than the Sahara down there. It was physically impossible to do the deed without the assistance of some lubrication.
- I wish someone had told me that mentally, my vagina would cease feeling like a pleasure center and more like a war-torn landmine field.
- I wish someone had told me that the combination of breastfeeding + birth control would deplete my remaining libido. I had no desire whatsoever, and even in the midst of the act, I couldn’t mentally get into it no matter how hard I tried.
- I wish someone had told me that the sheer logistics of trying to make love to my husband while our two babies slept was exhausting enough to ensure that I often gave up before we even started.
- I wish someone had told me that the combination of all of the above factors would lead my husband and I to engage in a whole lot of Netflix and not a whole lot of chill.
I wish someone had told me any of the above. Maybe then I would have prepared to feel completely un-sexual. Maybe I could have prepared to feel like I was disappointing my husband (though he constantly tells me otherwise). But no one told me.
So this is me, being the someone that I needed two years ago. This is me telling all the mamas who are going through this weird postpartum phase: You’re not alone.
In case you’re in the “information gathering” stage of prep (or need a good giggle):