Giving birth should be re-named to something more appropriate, like, "putting your body through its own war" or, "things that sound like a good idea until you're actually doing it." It's referred to as "labor" because it's hard; medicated or not. However, once it's over and you're well into the postpartum phase and have been cleared for sex, there will probably (read: definitely) be things you'll crave way more than sex. Don't worry, you haven't lost your sexiness and you're not abnormal. You're just a human being who has had a baby and, clearly, has their priorities straight.
Of course, that's not to say that if you're totally into sex after having a baby, you're some sex-crazed fiend. Different strokes for different folks, I always say. I'm just saying that an aversion to sex after childbirth, or just knocking sex down on your priority list, is pretty damn normal. My first pregnancy and birth happened in my mid-20s. I was a sprite young gal, despite suffering from and treating my severe postpartum depression (PPD). Pregnancy, birth, and the aftermath of both, all took their toll on my relationship with my partner because, sexually, we were no longer in a space we knew how to navigate. Of course it's natural to have ebbs and flows but when you're caring for a newborn, I'd say it's more pronounced.
When my second pregnancy and birth rolled around I was older and, honestly, already exhausted. Caring for a (then) 5-year-old child and a newborn took more out of me than I could've planned. Now that my partner and I are years into parenting, there's a long list of things I'd rather do than have sex. It's not personal or indicative of my relationship with my partner, but things change; both mentally and physically. Plus, and it's worth repeating: I'm freakin' tired. Besides, when you have two kids roaming through the house at all times, getting busy isn't always feasible or practical (yes, this is what I tell myself).
Once you have a baby, there's little hope for time when you're not without your newborn. If you're breastfeeding, it's such a rare occurrence that going to the bathroom feels like a vacation (this is still, true years later, in case you're a new mom wondering if things will change anytime soon). Sure, sex might sound good in theory, but after I had a baby I'd much rather have been left all alone to quiet my brain and/or daydream about literally anything for just a few moments.
A Good Book
I love to read. It helps me escape from reality, even for a few pages. I don't mean my reality isn't great, but it's exciting to dive into someone else's world, live through their eyes. Reading inspires me in so many ways creatively and even as a mother. If I'm faced with the choice between reading and sex, I'm sorry to say, the book wins out nearly every time.
If I could live in cozy pajamas, I would. Forget those days of dressing up in uncomfortable, unflattering lingerie that makes me feel self-conscious. Just recently I purchased a super snuggly set of pajamas that are obviously made from unicorn feathers and I'm in love. I don't want to compare clothing to sex with my partner and yet, here I am! Give me soft pajamas or nothing at all (but preferably, soft pajamas).
Do you know how much I could get done with one hour of babysitting service? The answer: a crap ton. So, how about instead of sex we get a sitter and, wait for it: go grocery shopping without the baby. Talk about doing something sexy!
Sleep. Literally All The Sleep.
Sleep and I have a love/hate relationship. I like it and I want more of it but I get very little of it. It's an endless cycle of being tired, wanting to sleep, flopping around because I can't sleep, then waking the next morning as tired as if I haven't slept in days.
After baby comes, this cycle is only interrupted by meeting those demands. At the very tippy top of my list of things desired, it is, has, and probably always will be more sleep. So, if you're looking at me with that twinkle in your eyes ready to say the magic words, know that I expect those words to be: "I'll handle everything so you can sleep in."
Being with a baby and/or kids all day means my conversation consists of bathroom humor and superhero distinction. It's not that I don't love it (I do, actually), but there's a point every evening where I literally can't anymore. I crave conversation that has to do about anything actual adults talk about. Literally anything. If you offer up sex to me now, chances are, I'll bring up the economy instead.
Much in the way I crave adult conversation, I also long to get back to work. Because I work from home, it doesn't necessarily mean I leave the house, but I do need to re-set my focus on something other than all household topics and responsibilities and do something that uses a different part of my brain. I love to write. It's rewarding and calming and fulfilling. If I have the chance to jump on the computer instead of sex, you bet I will.
I love my partner. He's a good husband and father and honestly, the sex is great — probably better than it was before children. However, we have so many responsibilities now, it's definitely hard to get in the right frame when I have so many other things I'd rather do. With all that said, I've never been a particularly sexual person and have much preferred closeness to the act of sex itself. If my partner really wants to compromise on one of those nights I feel anything but sexy, cuddling and snuggling is the best way to my heart. Plus, he keeps me warm and that's a huge bonus.
Sex definitely changed after giving birth but not in the ways I expected. As I said, it did get better over time, but the fatigue of parenting takes its toll. It's an important reminder though: when life gets overwhelming (especially with a baby) we should take a moment to consider my partner's needs and feelings because what we might find is that they actually feel the same.