I still remember my pregnant self when I learnt that the recommended waiting time until you are starting to have sex again is around six weeks after birth. This felt like an awfully long waiting time back then.
My husband and I had an awesome sexual relationship and we had already slowed this down during the last trimester of my pregnancy. I was tired and exhausted being so far into it. I was looking forward to having my baby next to me and getting my body back for myself so I could start enjoying being intimate with my husband again.
It is now 1 year after my son’s birth and the long-awaited sexual reunion has not happened yet. It is just that I have no desire at all. Since my baby’s birth, my body just shut down. It feels like it is telling me: “OK, you have delivered a baby. You did your job. You are done. Thus, you need no more sex, no more intimacy.”
How on earth could this happen?
It all started with my very exhausting 20-hour induced labour. And this included that my baby was born with the aid of forceps (yes, those massive tongs). This lead to an episiotomy which took around 3 months to heal. The first weeks just sitting hurt and later on although the pain was gone, it was still uncomfortable.
And then there followed sleep deprivation. My baby was not a very good sleeper. Luckily we got a spot at an amazing baby sleep school but until my little man started sleeping through the night at around 6 months, all I cared about was getting sleep. There was no energy for any physical exercise. It did not even cross my mind.
But all that besides, my body has changed so much after pregnancy and I am just not feeling sexy anymore. I have to say that after a couple of months I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I didn’t like my body anymore. It changed. It wasn’t the body I used to think was really an ok shot.
Now there is the mummy tummy with its wrinkly and saggy skin and weird formed belly button I cannot ignore. And where on the way did I lose my round apple bottom and my firm breasts? Anyway, I cannot associate my breasts with anything sexual anymore. They have changed to be a milk making and feeding machine for my baby.
May Breastfeeding be related?
Talking about breastfeeding. It is said that it can reduce your libido due to certain hormones in your body during this time. In addition to that, it is just exhausting. Making milk and making breastfeeding work every couple of hours is hard work.
Although it is exhausting and it took time to get the hang of it, I have to admit that I really enjoy breastfeeding until now. My baby is 13 months old and we both enjoy this time together. But, having a baby constantly on my breasts is enough for my body to handle. This means my husband does not need to touch my body as well. My body has become the territory of my son.
And still, there were a couple of times I let myself try to be intimate. We had sex exactly four times since my baby’s birth. I just wanted to give it a try. And every time it hurt. It was no great pleasure. On the one hand, I certainly experienced vaginal dryness (a breastfeeding con) which also didn’t make it better with the aid of lubricants. It was not the same.
On the other hand, I couldn’t just let myself go. All those thoughts in my head: Will my episiotomy scar hurt? And please do not let me get pregnant again (even though I am using the ULD as a contraceptive, I am terrified of getting pregnant again).
RELATIONSHIP ISSUES & POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
Although it can be perfectly normal to feel no or just a little sex drive weeks or months after childbirth it can be a concern if after several months it doesn’t get better. It may be a physical problem for some women, for example, the episiotomy scar tissue which causes pain in my case.
In my case, it was also a mental issue. I was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression a couple of weeks after giving birth. Not only do I have no desire for physical contact with my husband, but overall I struggle to feel love towards my husband. He just annoys me with his pure presence. But on the contrary, I also feel sorry for him and it puts a lot of pressure on me.
I Feel Sorry For My Husband
He is not pushing me in any way and he wants to give me the time I need, but I can feel the tension it causes between us. We are not a loving couple anymore, not the way we used to be. And I understand that my lack of desire for intimacy does not mean that my husband feels the same. It must be really hard for him. But I just cannot get myself to show serious affection towards my husband. I do not enjoy his kisses or hugs nothing in this regard.
I even once said to him that he can have an affair so he can enjoy this pleasure again and I do not need to pressure myself with it anymore. But even if a part of me meant it, I would not be able to tolerate him having another woman in his life. In a way I still love him and I know he still loves me. So bringing this up, hurt my husband by me just saying this.
Who knows, this could lead to a divorce further down the track. My husband may not be able to live without it anymore at some stage. And he may actually start having an affair. At the moment though, we are just drifting apart more and more because we cannot be intimate in any way.
IN SUMMARY, MY ISSUES ARE
- SLEEP DEPRIVATION
- POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
- BODY HAS CHANGED
- AFRAID OF BECOMING PREGNANT AGAIN
- PAIN DURING SEX
MY ACTION PLAN:
Not just for my husband, but also for me, I want to go back to the times where I have enjoyed being intimate with my husband. And oh my, I did enjoy this. Congrats to him – one of his qualities for sure. We used to make love probably twice a week and now – NOTHING. For my family’s sake – I know I want to make this work again. Even though it may never be the same again as it used to be.
Luckily I am no longer sleep deprived, I am starting to accept my pre-pregnancy body and I am using the ULD for contraception, so those are no longer a concern for me.
As my son is 13 months old I am also in the process of weaning. So I am hoping that this will improve the situation after I have stopped completely and my hormones have balanced out again. And I am hoping this will also stop my vaginal dryness.
As part of my mental health plan towards tackling my postnatal depression, I am discussing exactly those problems with my psychologist.
I want to start slow again.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I have learnt that actually, this topic is indeed very common. There are many of us mums out there, who do not feel like having sex well after their baby’s birth. Although of course, everyone is different. Some mums told me they had sex shortly after their baby’s birth and they are fine.
The following is a true story which happened before I had my baby: A friend who recently became a father asked a family member (who has two children) when after their baby’s birth he was able to have sex with his wife again.
When we heard this story, we wondered and asked ourselves why he would ask such a question. We felt sorry for him but we thought it was weird in a way.
Now, I admire his honesty. His bravery to bring this topic up and talk about this. Not many dare to do this. Why do so few people try to hide this? Why are they not bringing this up? Not even my family, my mother or my auntie warned me about this. I could have mentally prepared for this and maybe the situation would have been different now.
I would love to hear from you. When did you start being intimate with your partner again? Did it just happen naturally or what helped you to get back into it?