My partner and I swore nothing would change once our first baby arrived. We tried, hard, to maintain a certain level of intimacy once I was given the green light from my doctor after delivery. Still, regardless of promises made and the best of intentions, there was no denying how much had changed. Not all of it was bad, though. In fact, there are so many positives to post-baby life. There's also more than a few things no one is saying about postpartum sex that I wholeheartedly believe need to be said. My partner and I were naive when we were planning our lives as parents, and perhaps if couples were given a more honest representation of their post-baby sex lives, that wouldn't have been the case.
I'm going to be completely honest — postpartum sex, in the beginning, was awful. Nothing about it felt natural, comfortable, or enjoyable, except for the closeness I was finally able to share with partner again. Once we got passed those initial post-baby sex hurdles, though, our sex was better than ever. I'll say it again, for the people in the back: postpartum sex was the best sex my partner and I had ever enjoyed. I don't know if it was the new mix of hormones, the confidence motherhood had blessed me with, or because I let go of my inhibitions for arguably the first time in my life. Whatever it was and regardless of the reasons, I'm cool with the results.
Aside from the weird things that happen at the most interesting times (breast milk leakage, anyone?), postpartum sex is nothing to fear or dread. Sure, I didn't love it the first few times I was able to be physically intimate with my partner, because I was still healing on all sorts of levels. on a lot of levels, but it proved to be a worthwhile, important part of our relationship and for us as new parents. With that, here's some other things no one says about sex after baby that we should all be talking about.
It's Incredibly Messy
I hate to be the bearer of disgusting news, but as a new mother who's body was still healing, there was a whole lot of leakage going on during those first few (or maybe more) postpartum sessions. Between breast milk and your healing nether regions, there was no way around it.
Is it gross? Sure, and I guess it depends on the people involved. It gets less messy over time, though, and it's all totally normal. Small price to pay for a little (long-awaited) sweet love, am I right?
New Positions Are Key
Before kids, my body was pretty good at doing whatever. After my first baby? Nope. Not only had I lost all flexibility, the same positions I once loved now hurt. Postpartum sex is about finding a new rhythm, so to speak, which may include a little research in the position department. My partner and I had to essentially practice what worked for us until we found something enjoyable to the both os us. It's hard work but someone has to do it.
Foreplay & Lubrication Are Your Friends
Ah, hormones. They've ruined all the best parts of me that existed pre-kids! I never used to have to think about slowing down or using lubrication, but all those damn hormones invaded my body and made it hard to, you know, get in the mood as fast I had before. Part of me was already distracted by the sleeping baby, and the other part was dealing with the physical reaction to the hormones not doing what they should.
Basically, investing in a solid chunk of time for longer foreplay, as well as a state-of-the-art lubricant, saved my sexual relationship and made the sex less painful.
You Might Not Feel Like It
That postpartum exhaustion is real and it's a beast. I was already battling depression and anxiety, along with haywire hormones and a fussy baby, so by the time the doctor said it was OK to get down to business I was somewhat hesitant. I didn't really feel like it. It's hard to shift back to "partner mode" when living on "new parent" mode for an entire 6-8 weeks after delivery.
Eventually my body either caught up and started to enjoy it, or I'd tap out and we'd try again another night. Part of being in a loving relationship is knowing I can tell my partner these things and we can work, together, to work them out.
You Might Feel Guilty
As I said, my new baby was always sleeping nearby so not only was it incredibly hard to feel sexy knowing she could wake at any time, but every blip on the monitor took me out of the zone. Plus, I was tired and wanted to sleep when she slept.
In the beginning I felt guilty for spending this time with my partner, however necessary, because I hadn't yet figured out how to balance the "mom" me and the "partner" me. I'm still practicing that balance, honestly, but it is possible to give yourself to both while compartmentalizing the rest.
Your Preferences May Have Shifted
Things I liked before baby weren't the same things I enjoyed after. Maybe the experience of pregnancy and childbirth changed me, or maybe I'd just grown out of one phase and into the next. Regardless, postpartum sex was filled with new discoveries like positions I hated, foreplay I liked, and when and where I preferred things happened.
My partner was totally OK with testing all this out so I could pinpoint what worked best, too.
It Really Does Get Better Over Time
Yes, postpartum sex isn't always the best. It can be painful, it can take much longer than usual, it can make you feel vulnerable, and it can be a somewhat unforgiving learning curve. On the bright side, though, once the initial interactions had passed, I also noticed how much better the sex had gotten. I could attribute the new enjoyment to feeling more confident as a new mom, or that my partner and I already sifted through things that no longer worked and, as a result, found things that did.
Either way, it got better so I'm not complaining. Neither is my partner.