Getting Your Sex Life Back After Having a Baby
About six weeks after the birth of your baby you'll be scheduled for a routine follow-up visit to your obstetrician. He wants to make sure everything has gone back to where it was before you had the baby and that you are doing well, both physically and emotionally. Of course, if you have any unexplained pains or are feeling depressed before the six-week appointment, you shouldn't wait to call your doctor.
Be careful not to judge yourself too harshly while you're learning how to be a mom. It's easy to come down hard on yourself if you're accustomed to feeling competent at work and now find yourself confused or inept with the baby. Sharing your frustrations with a supportive friend or family member can cut down on the stress.
You'll have a pelvic examination, after which your doctor is very likely to give you a wink and say, “You can now resume all normal activities.” “You mean sex?” you ask incredulously. With all the sleepless nights recently, not to mention your still recent memory of childbirth, you just may think to yourself, “Why would I ever want to do that again?”
Rekindling the Spark
It is very common for women to have anxiety about returning to a normal sex life after the birth of a baby. The pain of labor is still pretty fresh, your hormones have not necessarily returned to their sensual best, and you have begun to think of yourself as a mother instead of a wife. It would be very easy to fall into a pattern of non-activity to avoid having to deal with the subject head on.
Meanwhile, your partner may have concerns of his own. Men can have anxiety about sex after several weeks or months of inactivity. And if he was in the delivery room with you, he could have a very strong fear of hurting you: It is difficult to see the one you love go through the pain of labor and childbirth and not be affected by it.
The best thing to do is to be patient with each other. It's definitely a good idea to resume your sex life as soon as possible after getting the medical green light because the sooner you start, the easier it is to bring your sex life back to normal. You don't want to rush into it too soon if you feel strongly that you need more time, but be careful not to give yourself so much time that you make it a big deal.
Of course, some women find that they can't wait to get back to the bedroom after the hiatus. This is great—but remember that it takes two. Be aware that your partner may be reluctant—many men need time to adjust to the combination of roles you now play: mother of his child and his sexual partner. If you are the one with the renewed friskiness you don't want to be disappointed. There is nothing worse than starting to feel like a woman again only to perceive rejection from your mate. And if your partner shows a lack of enthusiasm, you're likely to read it as rejection unless you make an effort to understand what he might be feeling.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motherhood © 1999 by Deborah Levine Herman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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