By Jen Wittes
As June winds down, so does our postpartum sex interview series. Much thanks to the four women who bravely opened up and allowed us to explore their post-baby relationship with them. Consequently, many of them have thanked ME for allowing a therapeutic reckoning with their postpartum reality. Ah…what we doulas have known all along—honesty and the expression of feelings both difficult and ecstatic is beneficial to the new mom!
Scarlett is a stay-at-home-mom from Los Angeles with 2 children (ages 8 years and 9 months). She’s been married for 14 years.
Describe your relationship postpartum.
After my second child, I felt like our relationship was more strained than it was after our first. The first time around, my delivery and recovery was not at all what I had expected and was quite difficult. I developed the flu while in labor and ended up having a C-section. This also interfered with my ability to breastfeed him successfully. With insufficient lactation support, my first child ended up being exclusively formula fed. This gave my husband the opportunity to help with feedings. With my second, I initially considered a VBAC but chickened out and had a planned C-section. My recovery was surprisingly much easier and I have been exclusively breastfeeding my second since he was born. I felt it was much harder to connect with my husband as most of my time and energy was put into feeding my second on demand. My husband felt distant to both my second son and I, because he was left out of the feedings. It was his favorite way of bonding with our first and he wasn’t able to get that with our second. This added a strain, but got better after a few months.
How was your appetite for sex in the months following your births?
I did not have an appetite for sex initially. Once I was able to get some sleep at night, it seemed like I was getting more action in my dreams. My desire for my husband during my dreams was intense enough to nearly climax. I was so exhausted while awake that all I had the energy for was a snuggle…poor guy. About 6-7 months after our second was born, we began getting our groove back. We don’t have sex as often as we did before kids, but the quality is much better and pretty amazing most of the time.
How long after the birth of your child did you have intercourse again for the first time?
With our first child, we started having sex again at six weeks. With our second, it was about two months.
How did it go?
With our second child, it felt a bit awkward and uncomfortable the first few times. I believe breastfeeding interfered with my body’s ability to provide enough vaginal lubrication. The baby started eating solids around seven months and wasn’t nursing as much. It was around that time that sex started feeling great again.
That about wraps it up for our little chat series with postpartum moms. Just remember, the best thing you can bring into the bedroom is your heart and honesty. For more tips on navigating the postpartum romantic relationship, check out my article in June’s issue of Minnesota Parent.