Once upon a time, before I ever got pregnant and before I ever had kids, I had a lot of sex. Now, by "a lot of sex," I mean I had a very healthy sexual appetite. Even with so much sex, though, I never got pregnant until my late twenties. Prior to having babies, I said a lot of smug, judgmental things about motherhood and having kids. Not only did I think I'd never have children of my own, but I thought that if I did, I would still be just as sexual. Yeah, I said a lot of stupid things about post-baby sex before I’d ever even had any.
I forgive my former self because it’s basically impossible to really know what motherhood will be like until you experience it firsthand. I was younger, sure, but I was also pretty set in my particular way of seeing things. I just shrugged off the idea of kids, but sometimes I did think about it and, when I did, I couldn't help but apply what I knew to any possible situation I could see myself in. Turns out, I didn't know a whole lot.
So much about motherhood freaked me out, but I was super judgmental about a lot of it, too. I thought that, if I became am other, I wouldn't be free to do exactly what I want, when I want (as a mother I still make time for all the important things, and my priorities have changed). I thought I would be unable to travel (yet I’ve traveled more as a mother this past year than I had in many of my childless years). I was terrified that I would become this sex-less being who wound up getting cheated on when her partner met his needs elsewhere (but that’s not been the case here, either). So what else was I wrong about when it comes to sex after motherhood? Well, just let me count the ways...
“I’m Not Going To Let The Baby Get In The Way Of Sex”
I used to live in a fantasy world. One where I guess I had a round-the-clock babysitter that could easily take over my child rearing whenever I found myself particularly horny. Let’s just say that never happened, and the baby (now toddler) very, very frequently gets in the way of sex.
“Postpartum Sex Will Definitely Be Easier Than Pregnancy Sex”
While I didn’t have much in the way of pregnancy sex (thanks to being on pelvic rest for most of my pregnancy), I couldn’t imagine doing it (or even wanting to) when I had a nine pound bowling ball in my belly. I figured postpartum sex would be a snap in comparison. I was wrong.
“I Just Don’t Get Women Who Stop Having Sex After Kids”
Back then, I really didn’t. However, after I had my son I understood. Between being heavily sleep deprived, skipping frequent showers, never putting on anything that didn’t already have stains on it (and therefore not feeling my best), plus getting into short fights with my husband (because that’s what happens when the aforementioned is happening on a regular basis), I started wondering if celibacy wasn’t the best way to live life.
“I Bet I’ll Want To Have Sex Before The Six Week Postpartum Visit”
I used to be a bit of a horn ball. OK, a lot of a horn ball, actually. A life without having sex multiple times a week (sometimes a day) seemed, you know, empty. I thought this would still be the case after giving birth, that I would still want it all the time. Let’s just say sex was the very last thing on my mind after my son was born, and for months after.
“We’ll Just Go To A Hotel If We Need To”
I also used to live in a fantasy world where I believed that if I wanted to sleep with my husband, we would just sneak off to a hotel for a night for a romantic (or just plain dirty) rendezvous. That didn’t happen. See, having kids means spending a lot of the money you would normally use on fun things for yourself like impromptu hotel stays instead on things like diaper cream and saline spray. But if you keep the faith, you might finally get a chance to sneak away when they’re a bit older (like we finally did, and man was it worth it).
"We’ll Never, Ever Schedule Sex"
This was such a judgmental thought on my part. I figured people who scheduled sex were broken, living a sad and mostly sexless existence. Man, I could slap the old me. While we don’t have a “sex night” per se (though I'm highly contemplating it), many of the times I’ve had sex since becoming a mom have only occurred thanks to some scheduling and preparation. Yes, that was also worth it.
“We’ll Just Get Creative About Where To Get Busy At Home”
I’ve written articles before about how parents need to get creative about sex after their kiddos are born. Have sex in the shower! The kitchen! The car! Yeah, this is good advice and all, but that doesn’t mean I’m constantly doing these things. I thought I would be, but most nights I pass out from the sheer exhaustion of, well, being a parent.
“I Can’t Imagine Anything Better Than Sex”
Did I mention I used to really, really love sex? I mean, I still do, but it’s not the only important part of my life anymore. I also absolutely am in love with snuggling with my son and just spending time as a family. Maybe that sounds lame to people without kids, or to people with kids, but it’s the truth.
“I’m Going To Keep Up With The Kegels From Day One”
I swore up and down that I would work on my kegels throughout pregnancy and the early months of postpartum life. I did actually work on them when I was pregnant. Once that baby came out? Yeah, forget about it.
"I’ll Still Feel Sexy After Giving Birth"
I wanted to believe that I would still be the body-confident, body-positive woman I’d been prior to pregnancy. I thought that maybe I would appreciate the things my body had done, and feel like I was glowing and sexy. Nope. Instead, I felt like my stomach was flabbier than ever, like my boobs were obnoxiously leaky, like my nipples were still the wrong shade, and like no one would ever, ever want me or my body again. It sucked.
“There’s No Way I’m Losing My Libido”
I never imagined that my libido would end up slowing down on its own, but having a baby can do that. In fact, I lost my libido completely there for a while, and even now, I am nowhere near as frisky as I once was. I’m still working on getting some of my libido back and maybe someday things will change, but the point is, I used to be a big fat liar.
“I’m Sure Sex Will Still Feel The Same”
This might be true for some folks, but it’s certainly not for me. Because I experienced tearing, I am now much more sensitive in my nether regions. It altered the way I have sex a bit and has forced me to slow down. In a way, that’s not actually a bad thing.
“My Sex Life Is Definitely Not Going To Change”
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. HA. HA. That’s the best lie we all tell ourselves, isn’t it? Really though, everything changes after a baby, and that’s OK.