Have you said this?: I won’t change after becoming a parent.
Or how about this?: I won’t become the stereotypical partner who wants less sex after we have a baby.
If you did and you are eating those words, don’t worry because you’re not alone if sex has changed after having a baby. There are so many reasons our sex lives change. In the beginning, sex is off the table immediately after birth for women and for at least a few weeks thereafter. And for some, when sex resumes it can be painful or uncomfortable. Once you navigate through those awkward first times when you’re trying to resume your regular sex life, you might think you’ve gotten through the worst of it, but life happens. Your life is different and that means things have changed. There’s the challenge of trying to fit sex in now that you have a baby. You’re tired. You’re busy. Babies tend to cry right when you’re about to have sex or a moment to yourself. I’m convinced they just know! A lot of couples describe feeling like “roommates” during those first few months postpartum or even much longer after that. In the beginning, my husband and I were just trying to figure out parenthood and were consumed with feeding and caring for a newborn. Not to mention what a toll sleep deprivation takes on a person. We didn’t have time for ourselves, let alone each other. Sex is different postpartum because connecting with each other becomes difficult. Intimacy takes a backseat because you’re in survival mode.
This was NOT normal for us. Although we had conflicting schedules before becoming parents, we always found time for date-nights and quality time. But in the beginning after our daughter was born, it was impossible. We began to drift apart, argue more, and things between us just didn’t feel great. Does this sound familiar? Don’t beat yourself up about it. A lot of couples go through similar stages in their relationship. When we become parents our lives are filled with more chores, errands, and just things to do in general. We’re running on less sleep yet have a list a mile long of things that need to be done. But there is hope. According to an article by Fatherly, the key may just be to turn back the hands of time and to treat you spouse the way you did when you two were just dating.
In the article, sociologist Pepper Schwartz states, “…throw in some effort with little things. Put on cleaner sweatpants. Compliment your spouse and pay attention to them. Try to impress them with a new cooking skill or take the time to put your phone down for a few minutes and talk. In other words, put yourself in a dating mode. How would you woo this person?” It might seem too easy, but the little things do matter and it can make a huge difference. We can find ourselves in a bit of a rut, which is totally understandable but making an effort no matter how small, can get you two back on track. Another tip, in the beginning you may find it helpful to to plan sex. I know, it sounds insane. But it worked for us. Carving out time to talk, connect, and yep have sex is important. Remember, your relationship is still important and trying to maintain a healthy relationship doesn’t mean you’re neglecting your responsibilities as a parent. In order to find what works for you, talk with your partner. Listen and respect their feelings and your own. Do either of you feel neglected or ignored?
They key is to acknowledge things have changed, and not to place blame. Take small steps and find ways to enjoy each other’s company again. Know that it happens to A LOT of couples. Connecting as a couple and not just as parents is the key. Have some time where you talk about something other than the baby. If you can, spend time alone together. Send sweet or sexy text messages to each other. Take small steps, it won’t always be easy. But trying and making an effort makes all the difference.