Having a baby is one of the most difficult yet rewarding experience one can have. As a mother to an 8 week old baby, I must say it is an amazing journey from finding out about the pregnancy till child birth. What I found interesting was the fact that I was so prepared for the birth, yet, no one told you what came after. Suddenly you are handed this new baby with no instructions or manuals, accompanied by lots of sleep deprivation, tired & sometimes anxiety. This definitely has put a lot of pressure on mums, their bodies as well as relationships in general. When your main focus is your new baby and sleep, it is understandable that sex is the last thing on their mind. For a lot of couples, sex and intimacy is at the back burner, sometimes much longer than they expect. Many couples end up sleeping in separate bedrooms and in serious cases go separate ways.
First of all, I want to share my thoughts on why it’s important to re-connect & be intimate with each other after child birth (this is of course after your doctor’s check-ups and given everything is ok down there). I believe that your relationship forms a foundation for your child’s understanding of relationships and love. Children watch and learn their views of the world mostly through their parents. When parents don’t share the same bedroom, argue lots or not being intimate with each other etc., the child unconsciously learns that how relationships should be. I’m not saying this to put pressure on your or anything, you gotta do what’s best for you and your family. What’s I’m sharing is based on my beliefs of what’s best for mine. But I would like to share some tips for those who are ready and want to re-ignite their relationship spark after child birth:
1. Communication is key
It’s important to communicate with your partner about where you’re at. For a lot of mums, they can be quite emotional and overwhelmed due to the after birth hormones and the uncertainty of the new parenthood. Instead of withdrawing and shutting down, I would recommend to share openly your feelings and struggles and to ask for help when you need. Let them know how dads can help also means that they feel like they are still an important part of the team.
2.  Make time for intimacy
The harsh truth is intimacy will only happen when you actually make time for it. This does not mean it will happen straight away or happen the way you plan. Just like you plan your shopping trip, washing, housework around your baby, you also need to do the same thing with intimacy. With your new busy life, if you don’t plan it, it’s not going to happen.
3.  Love your body and every its of it.
It is understandable that many women don’t feel confident or sexy in their bodies after birth. On top of that, most women don’t have time to sleep, let alone to wash their hair, get out of their pyjamas or put make up on. However, men don’t really care if you haven’t got your make up on, they don’t care about those stretch marks or untoned stomach, they just want to be close and intimate to you. So stop being critical to yourself, be proud of your body and every bits of it, do something that makes you feel good.
4.  Take it slow
Even when the doctor gives you the ‘green’ light, it’s important to take things slow. Start with some nice cuddles, nice relaxing massages and slowly transition into sex. The first time we got intimate again, my baby decided that she wanted a feed so we ended up cuddling each other to sleep afterwards. It also gives me some re-assurance to hear my husband says that we’ll take things as slow as we need and at any time I’m uncomfortable, we’ll stop. So let your partner know if you need to stop or when things don’t feel right.
5. Expect your sex life to be different after a baby
For many women, things do feel different down there after pushing out a baby. On top of that, you breasts might be tender and leaky, hence things can be a bit awkward with sex. Some women might be fearful that it can be painful, that something might tear etc. These differences and feelings might just be temporary and it doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it’s just new. Use plenty of lubricants or foreplay, try different positions that allow you to feel more comfortable. Sex can be fun again after baby, it just needs a bit of an adjustment.
6. Tips for dads – Help out with the housework
When you help out with the housework, dinner or even just taking care of the baby so your wife can catch up on some rest/sleep, have a nice long bath, get her hair done, etc. When she feels rested and emotionally supported, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get your sex life back on track.
7.  Tips for dads – Don’t take things personally
Rejection can be hard to handle, however, it is not personal. She might be going through a lot of emotions and adjustment, be understanding and compassionate. Some women don’t feel good about their bodies, they are tired and sleep deprived, hence sex is the last thing on their mind. Let her know how much you love and appreciate her, let her know how much you love her body (and please be genuine when you do this), offer help whenever possible, be there for her not just physically and emotionally. And remember, if she doesn’t want sex, it’s not personal. If it doesn’t happen the first time, take it slow and keep trying.
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Jane Nguyen
Author, Speaker, Transformational Dating & Relationship Coach,