At my six-week postpartum doctor's appointment, I knew it was coming. "You are cleared to have intercourse," my physician informed me, a huge smile on his face. Like I was supposed to jump for joy or something. As if I'd been waiting to have sex all this time since my son was born. Yeah, right! The truth is, I felt nowhere near ready to have sex again. And instead of feeling guilt and shame about that fact, I'm quite comfortable where I am, which is not ready to resume my sex life as usual.
Since I'm often elbow-deep in baby poop and my breasts are leaking through my nightgown, you'll have to excuse me for not wanting to get up close and personal with anyone or anything other than a hot shower.
I'm just being realistic. Everything changes when you have a baby. Forget about how my body feels totally different for a second; my son has completely turned my daily routine on its head. Instead of staying up to enjoy private time with my husband like we did prebaby, I'm zonked out an hour after dinner. A middle-of-the-night rendezvous? Yeah, with my baby, who is sucking on my boob like a mini-vampire. And morning booty now consists of me changing diapers.
Since I'm often elbow-deep in baby poop, my hair has spit up in it from two days ago, and my breasts are leaking through my nightgown, you'll just have to excuse me for not wanting to get up close and personal with anyone or anything other than a hot shower. Which brings me back to invasion of the body snatchers. Six weeks after baby is way too early to expect a woman to want to have sex! I'm still bleeding, and I look six months pregnant. Plus my hormones are totally out of whack, and not in a "I'm horny" kind of way. More like a "Get the f*ck away from me and my deflated belly! Oh, and hand me the baby so he can breastfeed" kind of way.
I know some women feel shame or guilt if they aren't up for having sex with their partners after baby, but consider what you've just done! You pushed a baby out of your vagina, and it might have torn and bled for weeks or months. Logically, the thought of sticking something up there is crazy if you ask me. And if you're breastfeeding, you probably have a baby attached to your nipples for up to 12 hours a day. It's no surprise you wouldn't exactly be fantasizing about your partner pawing at your boobs on the off chance your baby isn't.
It's not that I don't want to be close to my husband. I do. But can't we cuddle, or can I just fall asleep on your chest? I'm exhausted, and the very last thing on my mind is sex. That being said, we have done it once or twice since we got the all-clear from the doctor. But I'd be lying if I said I was all that into it. I tried! But I just don't feel like myself, and I need more time to even come close to reclaiming the side of me that isn't just someone's "mom."
Look, new moms are put under enough pressure to be all things to all people very soon after birth. We're supposed to get back to work, keep up our friendships, be perfect parents to older kids, and snap back into shape as soon as possible so we can be sexy and desirable, all while sustaining a new life. We can't be all things to all people at all times. If bringing sexy back gets put on a back burner, so be it.
Bottom line: not everyone's timeline for wanting to have sex again after baby is the same. So while my doctor and husband may be ready, I'll let them know when I am. In the meantime, I'm not going to beat myself up if I'm more in the mood to get in bed than get busy for months to come, and I hope my fellow postpartum mamas won't either.