As if there wasn't enough pressure on a new mom to get back in shape after having a baby, society has put a huge importance on making sure your relationship with your partner doesn't suffer after you become parents. And sure, I get it, but a baby changes literally everything, and of course your relationship is going to feel the effects. (Often in a good way!) But sex post-baby? Well that's another reason for new moms to panic and feel pressured, but there's one thing to know about having sex post-baby that no one tells you.
It's not a requirement.
You don't have to have sex when your doctor gives you the green light. You don't have to feel guilty for choosing sleep over sex. You don't have to buy yourself lubricants because postpartum hormones make you dry or shove breast pads into lingerie so you don't leak breastmilk all over the bed.
You don't have to be excited about it. You don't have to be worried about it. You don't have to send your newborn off to grandma's and light candles and chug wine and pump and dump your breastmilk.
Having sex is not a requirement in life, and neither is having it post-baby.
Some women are ready to have sex right away, eagerly counting down the days until their final postpartum appointment when the doctor says they're ready. And that's fine, too! It's your right as a woman, as a human being, to feel empowered about sex and to enjoy it, regardless of your status as a mother.
But maybe you're not ready. Maybe all of the excuses about being tired and breastfeeding and post-baby hormones don't even apply to you. You could be getting ten hours of sleep per night and feeling great every single day, and still not be ready for post-baby sex. That's more than OK.
Sex after baby can be downright terrifying for so many reasons. The physical aspect is scary enough, but there's an emotional fear, too. What if your contraception fails or you don't want to use contraception and you get pregnant again before you're ready? What if sex doesn't feel the same with your partner? What if you're thinking about the baby the whole time? What if you're just not into it and you're scared that forcing it will make it worse?
Listen to your gut and talk to your partner. There are tons of ways to be intimate without sex, and your SO may be feeling the same way that you do. It's not the only way to connect to your partner, and it's not going to ruin your relationship if it takes you longer than six weeks to be ready to hit the sheets.
Society is already telling you that if celebrities can bounce back immediately postpartum, then so should you. You may already have encountered criticism or judgment for your parenting choices, in public, on social media, or even from your own family. Enough with the external pressure. The only person who decides when you have post-baby sex is you.