While pregnancy and childbirth can be difficult in their own right, postpartum life is its own war. There's so much to figure out and adjust to, it can feel like you'll never find "normal" again. I had body image issues, bonding and attachment problems, and aside from all I was going through personally, there were the underlying relationship conversations my partner and I had to redefine because, you know, a new baby changes things. In some ways, being postpartum made me realize my sex life matters which isn't the worst realization to have when everything else in my life felt so disconnected.
After the birth of my children, my partner and I had to go through a sort of mourning process when it came to our sexual relationship (as couples have to do for a few weeks after delivery). While I didn't feel like being intimate after pushing a human out of my nether regions, I missed the closeness I had experienced between us pre-baby and during my pregnancy. It's something only he and I share, so when I went without it I really felt the absence of that closeness. I hadn't really thought about it in terms of just sex, because it became so much more than that. As soon as I was cleared for "activity," my partner and I decided not to take our personal time together for granted thereafter.
If postpartum life taught me anything, it's just how important our special time together truly is. Not only is it a necessary part of any healthy relationship, it's a necessary part of fulfilling the needs and desires of any hot-blooded human. With that, here's some of the ways this new mom thing made me realize just how much my sex life matters.
I Was Babied-Out
It's easy to put sex on the back burner when recovering from childbirth (and the nine months to grow a human), but there came a point for me, after the birth of both my children, where I was burnt out on being a mom. Spending every day and night focused on someone else took its toll. I loved my babies, of course, but living this life further proved how special sex was and always will be in a relationship. It allowed me to take some time to reconnect with another person (who wasn't my baby) and so, so necessary for my wellbeing through the first year.
I Forgot What My Partner Felt Like
After all the time away from one another (not technically away, but you know what I mean), postpartum life forced me to reevaluate our relationship and what I wanted from it. After all the hours snuggling a baby, I'd forgotten what my partner smelled like or what his hand in mine felt like. Once we found our way back to each other, I realized how much those things matter — things I'd taken for granted all the times before.
It Didn't Matter How Exhausted I Was
Part of having children means learning to live in a constant state of fatigue. There's no way around it, and honestly, it doesn't really let up while your kids learn and grow. Postpartum life put me in a totally different state of being and one I definitely did not have the "opportunity" to experience prior to motherhood.
Even though I was ridiculously tired as a new mom, if my partner wanted to have sex, I would have. If anything, being so exhausted was a further reminder of how far our relationship had come, and what we needed to do to protect it.
The Sex Was Better Post-Kids
Once we got down to business (finally), all the feelings of why my partner and I fell in love in the first place rushed right back. Even through postpartum drought, fatigue, and the endless zapping of energies, it's amazing what a romp session can do for a new mom's mental state. I felt rejuvenated — like I could conquer the damn world. Once everything healed, the sex was better than it ever was before because we found newer, different, ways to be close again.
I Needed To Feel Like More Than A Mother Again
I love being a mom. It's an amazing privilege and I'm grateful for the responsibility. However, my postpartum days made me realize how much more to me there is. Yes, I wanted to excel in motherhood, but I also wanted to have a strong, successful relationship with my partner (among other things). The post-baby time period was a definitive, important reminder of how much more I could be, outside of my baby, and sex was part of that.
When I Had Spit Up On Everything
Even on the ones where I felt completely undesirable, like when I was feeding my baby in spit-up covered clothing, my partner still wanted me. That made me stop and think a lot about what sex meant. It was more than an act, but a connector when we were our most divided, however unintentionally. If my partner could see the beauty in me when I was puffy and cranky from sleepless nights with a newborn, I realized I should, too. So, I let go of the barriers between us, and haven't looked back since.
When My Partner Bared His Soul
My partner isn't the best communicator with his feelings. For the most part, he passively holds them in, even when I know he's hurting or lacking in some fundamental need. This was sex for him. It was beyond the physical; he missed being close to me, too. Once he and I had a talk about the state of our relationship postpartum, and where sex could fit into that, everything improved. It just goes to show, a little love can go a long, long way.