My partner and I once enjoyed a healthy sex life. It was fun, care-free, and fulfilling (to say the least). Then, at a time neither of us were prepared, financially or otherwise, I discovered I was pregnant and life as we knew it shifted drastically. With a difficult, often painful, pregnancy, our relationship began to change long before delivery. Then, as if having a baby doesn't rearrange your body, mind, and spirit, there were the ways childbirth changed my thoughts and feelings about sex in general. This thing — an intimate connection we shared — was so different once we had a baby, and there was nothing I could do but accept it.
The birth of my daughter was such a big moment in my life, I knew when I was holding her for the first time that life could never be the same. During those foggy, new mother moments, I felt hopeful and excited for what the future would bring. At that time, I didn't know I'd have to go through the hell of postpartum depression (PPD), or a financial struggle, or all the relationship battles my partner and I would endure as a couple, to get there. I especially hadn't anticipated how having this beautiful baby girl might interfere with being sexual in any way. Nevertheless, it so did.
Growing up, I'd always had an unhealthy view of sex. It was labeled "bad" unless you were married, but there were so many mixed signals between my divorced parents and their romantic relationships, I didn't really know or understand how I felt about it (or how much their influence affected me until I'd grown). In my adult relationships, I found sex challenging. Pieces of my core belief system wouldn't allow me to ever fully give myself without feeling guilty or ashamed of both my sexuality and my body. This is something I still struggle with as a married mother of two.
When my partner and I were given the go-ahead to resume sexual activity about six weeks postpartum, I'll admit — I wasn't ready. At all. While there's no real timeline in terms of thoughts and feelings on sex, I felt like there was and I didn't meet it. Mine had changed so much, it was hard to reconcile with my partner, and in turn, only caused more problems between us. Honestly, they also caused problems within me. I didn't understand why I couldn't be who I was before pregnancy. I know now, it's because pregnancy and delivery changed me and, really, I'm thankful for that. Here are some of the ways my beliefs changed in regards to sex, that took some time to unravel (but they did, eventually, so there's that).