Some of my blog resolutions for this year are to both guest blog and to find guest bloggers. So in an attempt to lure over some lovely bloggers I have created a monthly series of “Anonymous (or not so anonymous) Guest Bloggers“. An opportunity for fellow bloggers to come on over and blog about all things parenting. To kick us off in style with a subject that nobody talks about but everyone thinks about after having a baby, we have the lovely Sarah from Toby Goes Bananas:
I was trying to think of a better title for this post but I just couldn’t get that Salt ‘n’ Pepa lyric out of my head so in the end I just had to go with it! So first I just want to say a big thank you to My Petit Canard for hosting this guest post – I would have posted it on my own blog but, well, my mum might see it and there are just some things your mum doesn’t need to know.
I wanted to talk about sex after having a baby because, for me, things just haven’t been how I expected. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt like this so I thought I’d share my experience and I’d love to hear whether you’ve felt something similar. I know everyone sort of half jokes about how you won’t want to have sex for months and months after having a baby. I remember being at our antenatal classes and talking about when you can have sex after giving birth. The class leader told us that you could have sex once the postpartum bleeding has stopped…and one of the women piped up that she wouldn’t be letting her husband near her for months. Everyone gave an embarrassed chuckle and that was that. End of discussion.
Of course I was prepared for the fact that giving birth was going to hurt ‘down there’ and that if I ended up with stitches things would take a while to heal which might put me off sex for a bit. But I had no idea how birth, and then actually having a baby, would affect my emotional response to all things sexual.
I was very lucky to have a straight-forward birth. It was all over in eight hours – from the first twinge to holding a new baby – and I escaped without any tears or stitches. Sure, it burned like hell to pee for a few days and that first week of trying to poo seemed worse than having the baby at times, but in the grand scheme of things I was relatively unscathed physically. A couple of days of struggling with breastfeeding ensured my nipples were somewhat the worse for wear, however, and in fact I think that has led to one of the major hurdles when it comes to sex. I’ll come to that in a minute though.
First I want to talk about what happened in the first couple of weeks after having my baby. Of course both me and my husband were in a complete haze of sleep deprivation and general ‘what the hell hit us’-ness. The baby was sleeping, when he actually deigned to sleep, in our bedroom and you would think that sex would be the last thing on my mind. But I was actually (and I can’t think of any way to put this delicately) horny! So much so that I remember waking my husband up for some kissing and a bit of a fumble under the bed clothes after a 4am feed one day! I still wasn’t ready for full-on sex but I surprised myself. I don’t know if it was hormones, or just a need to connect somehow with my husband, or maybe some sort of attempt to reclaim my pre-pregnancy, pre-baby self. That phase didn’t last long though. In fact after that initial burst of lust I went off sex altogether. And since our baby was born six months ago I can count the number of times we’ve had sex on one hand, and still have a few digits left over.
There are a couple of many reasons for this. For the first few months it was mostly because we were both knackered. When I went to bed it was for much needed sleep and nothing else was on my mind. And then, as the months went on and the baby was in his own room and we were all getting a bit more sleep, the main reason I was (and still am) avoiding sex was all to do with body confidence. I know, I know. Women’s bodies change after giving birth and we should be proud of those changes and blah, blah, blah… But the truth is I feel fat, I have a massive, wobbly, stretch-marked tummy that I can’t bear my husband to touch. My boobs are still huge and even though I stopped breastfeeding after five weeks my nipples feel different and it just feels a bit odd when my husband touches them – and when previously we both very much enjoyed my boobs during sex it somehow changes the whole dynamic. Now, my husband is absolutely awesome, and don’t worry, I’m not writing anything here that I haven’t talked to him about. He constantly reassures me about my body, and tells me he still finds me sexy. And I believe him. I really do. But I don’t find me sexy and therein lies the problem. My lack of self confidence in bed has really freaked me out if I’m honest, because even when I’ve been overweight before it has never affected my confidence in my own inherent sexiness. Now though, it actually got to a point when I was so embarrassed of myself that whenever we started kissing and cuddling in bed and things started to get a bit steamy I would just burst out laughing and couldn’t stop. And I feel so bad about it. My husband is incredibly understanding about the whole thing but I’m sure me laughing in his face is not really his ideal scenario!
Anyway, I’m on the road to getting my pre-pregnancy body back (which still wasn’t perfect but a return to that has got to be better than what I’ve got now) and hopefully with it will come the return of my self confidence and the return of something approaching normality in the bedroom. It had better, if our plans for a second baby are ever going to happen!
Through the last six months though, one thing has remained. I kiss and cuddle my husband every day. In fact, as many times a day as we can manage. I might not be ready for sex but the need (and desire) for physical, loving contact has never left me. I guess that everyone has different experiences after giving birth but I don’t really know because, despite our openness in this age of blogs and Twitter and Facebook, it’s not something that we often talk about. Maybe there are lots of you out there feeling the same way as me. Maybe not. But I am sure that whatever you’re feeling, it’s normal.
Thank you again Sarah for sharing such a great post! We’d love to hear from other parents on how they felt after having children. Can you relate to this post?
Like what you read? If you’d too would love to be a guest blogger on My Petit Canard then please get in touch!