Shit changes after you have a kid. Physically. Emotionally. I remember distinctly the anxiety and nervousness I felt before having sex the first time after giving birth. It shot me back in time, feeling like a virgin who was going to “do it”. How would it feel? Have my lady parts recovered from birth? Will he notice a difference in how it feels? How will it feel to me? Holy fuck, what if I get pregnant again right away?!?
I had some birth trauma, and was getting physical therapy for my pelvic floor muscles, so I was incredibly worried I’d somehow pee on my husband involuntarily. (Side story: when I was cleared for exercise, I went for a short run and pissed myself. Not just a little leakage…full on could-have-wrung-out-my-pants pissed myself. I think the anxiety was warranted in this case.)
More than anything, I felt like this body, that I’d known and lived in for all these years, suddenly felt completely foreign to me. I had to re-learn what would feel good in the sack. And conversely, what wouldn’t. I had to come to the realization that sex post-baby wasn’t going to be like it was pre-baby. And that was OK. This was a new phase for us as a couple and for me as a woman. I can say this, now that my daughter is approaching 2-1/2, with some degree of confidence. In the moment, I felt like an insecure hormonal wreck. This is the shit about parenthood and pregnancy that people don’t tell you about, but really should. Everyone talks about the joy of motherhood…not how you and your partner will be rolling around like teenagers trying to learn the lay of the land (again) while simultaneously trying to keep quiet so as not to wake the baby! More than one time I cried after sex. Not because it was terrible, but because it was different and seemed to fill me with overwhelming emotion. I blame hormones on that one.
Things change for our partners too. My husband witnessed the miracle of birth and actually helped deliver our daughter. That meant he got an up close and personal view of what happened to my lady bits. He was traumatized for months. On top of that it took him awhile to reconcile that I could be a mom to our child and want to get laid at the same time. It was difficult for him to see me as a sexual being and not just a mom. We struggled to find a rhythm and flow to our sex life for the first year after baby.
We still don’t have sex as after as we’d like to, but the demands of raising a family, and us working full-time tires the shit out of us. I hate to say this, but it’s a reality I want to share with you. There have been plenty of nights where I have chosen sleep over sex….and I find my husband incredibly attractive. We also don’t have any family close by, so there’s no one to give us a break. And he travels frequently. The list of reasons go on and on. I write this, while my daughter is asleep and my husband retired to bed. I really should be sleeping myself but wanted to write. Ah, the trade offs.
For those men reading this that may be horrified and may never want to get their partner pregnant, it does get better. I can tell you that. It really does, it just takes time.