It’s ironic that the thing that got some of us into the situation of creating a newborn is the also one thing that’s furthest from our minds once we actually have a newborn, but alas, that's how it goes. No matter how a baby was conceived nor how it was born, its parents will probably see a... dip, in their sex drive. For example, I can’t recall any instance in roughly the first three months of my son’s life when I thought sex seemed like a good idea. I love my husband, and cherish our sexy time, but (and you knew there was a but coming) it just was not in the cards for us for a while: I needed time to physically heal, which my extra-rad partner was unwaveringly supportive of, and by the time that was done, we were both so worn out and preoccupied with the infantile task-at-hand that it seemed like a far greater act of intimacy to simply collapse into bed beside each other and sleep.
Don't worry, though: We still did all the other super romantic things all the other new parents enjoy doing in their ample free time like, oh you know, taking long leisurely walks while holding hands, reading each other classic love poems, and sipping coffee slowly whilst gazing into each other's well-rested, non-bloodshot eyes. *Eyeroll*
In all the time we weren’t having sex, my partner and I were tending to a newborn and trying (with low to medium amount of success) to take care of ourselves in the form of irregular naps and occasional showers (not together, sadly). And the thing is — and the thing so many childless people get wrong when they contemplate the stereotypical new-parent sexlessness (which, by the way, does not even hold true for all couples) — we weren't, like, depressed about not having sex. It wasn't a cause of tension. It wasn't, really, a big deal at all. Again, all of this is going to be so hyper-specific to each individual couple, but in my husband's and my case, we were on the same page: There are always, in any long-term relationship, periods of high sexual activity and then there are lulls. Having a new baby and being totally exhausted? Yeah, seemed like a pretty damn good time to embrace the lull.
Here’s the thought process we went through as we discovered the realities of realizing that snoozing was important than canoodlng:
Stage 1: "I Can't Even."
You know those women who are back in the saddle and ready to go after like, three or four weeks? Yeah, that’s not exactly the case for a lot of us. Not only did I need time to recover from childbirth, but thanks to our non-existent spare time and energy levels of less-than-zero, we found the idea pretty laughable.
Stage 2: Realizing That Sex Is Simply Not On The Radar
In fact, in addition to the physical setbacks, I wasn’t really going there mentally, either. On most — OK, all — days in those early weeks, it was the furthest thing from my mind. Early weeks with a new baby are an endless cycle of loving on a new little person, Googling things about the color of their body fluids, and chasing rest. Sex doesn’t really fit into any of those categories.
Stage 3: Accepting That You Only Have So Much Energy To Go Around
Flash forward a few months (yes, months), to when it’s now physically appealing to even think about sex again. The idea of exerting myself (not counting carrying one of those damn car carriers that weigh like three hundred pounds) still wasn’t totally alluring.
Stage 4: Things Get Complicated
When you finally do get around to re-introducing sex back into the routine, it can be a complex task to pull off (especially if your precious babe sleeps in your room). Often, non-sexual co-napping (dear god, "non-sexual co-napping" might be the most ridiculous thing I've ever written, and I kinda love it) with your partner sounds better, feels better, and works better for your entire household.
Stage 5: Things Get Better! (Kind Of!)
While everyone’s recovery is different, my personal experience showed me that it can take quite a while after having a baby to get back in the boom-boom state of mind (and body). And when you do, it can be so exciting! Annnnnnd also maybe painful, and vaguely awkward. Your body has possibly been through a lot, and basically your entire lives have been turned upside down over the preceding few months. Having sex after a period of time like that can very much feel like returning to a familiar scene in the midst of everything else being changed. I'm not saying it'll be "bad" necessarily, but the first few times you get down after taking a baby bang-break, it might be... weird (and yes, maybe painful, but just take it slow and lube that shit up). Basically, your mileage may vary, but I think it’s safe to not plan on the most mind-blowing sex of your life, at least not for the first few times.
Stage 6: It's Still Not Quite As Good As Sleep
And it doesn’t usually leave me feeling more rested than before we started. Sure, it’s nice to feel reconnected to one’s partner again, but other things like eating edamame on the couch and watching people win on game shows are nice, too. Doesn’t mean I’d rather have those than an uninterrupted sleep cycle.
Stage 7: Accepting Where Your True Priorities Lie
Look, the bottom line is this: If I go without sex, I don’t become a drunken zombie woman incapable of forming sentences and taking care of basic human hygiene needs. But if I go without sleep, I do. So, that's pretty much that. Plus, from what I hear, this little bugger won't stay a baby forever.
Images: Seniju/Flickr; Giphy(7)