A month postpartum and you’re pretty much settled with baby and gradually getting your groove in this motherhood journey. If this is your first child, it is a big deal and becoming a mum is a major event that affects practically everyone in the family. Not only do you have to cope with the demands of parenting, but also grapple with changes in the relationship with your partner. Some couples find that parenthood enriches the intimate connection with their significant other, while others feel less so. Every couple’s experience is different, and it is important to acknowledge these changes after having a baby. Many couples also realise a distinct change in their sexual relationship and parenting has affected sexual needs and desires of Mum, especially. Stressed, sleep deprived, and your relationship is right at the back of your head especially with a little bub in tow – how can you sexually heal your way to a better marriage?
Post-Baby Dynamics In The Bedroom
Let’s face it – things are different in the bedroom pre- and post-baby. Where once it was a haven for both you and your partner, now it has become just another room. If your baby sleeps with you in the room, be it in a cot or bed, you’ll notice the changes in dynamics even more.
- Communication becomes Transactional
Once you’re a parent, it seems like communication is all transactional and talking becomes scripted, even in the bedroom. No more heart-to-heart talks before bedtime or long walks where you can just talk about anything and everything. Post-baby, when you talk, it’s for practical reasons and most times, the conversation is about your child! Move this conversation into the bedroom and it’s a sure killjoy for anything intimate that was or is going to happen.
- Sex also becomes Transactional
With dwindling real conversations which sometimes even end up in demands, tensions build up and soon both of you will be increasing frustrated with each other at the smallest things. The result? Sometimes guilt – guilt that you’re not giving him the time of day. This also leads up to make-up sex instead of a re-establishing sexual intimacy with your partner.
- Spontaneity? What Spontaneity?
Gone are the days when you can book movie tickets, head out to town, and dine in a new restaurant just like that, without a care in the world. Then after you’re all recharged, head home and well, part two begins in the bedroom. Post-baby? You’ll be lucky if you find a window to head out to the supermarket for 30 minutes together!
- Baby blues are a Hindrance
Imagine this scene – you and your partner have finally set a date to rekindle your sexual intimacy in the bedroom when suddenly, all emotions come flooding in and you start to feel totally overwhelmed. Right there and then, nothing is going to happen in the bedroom much to the dismay of your partner. Baby blues are real but know that this temporary roller coaster of emotions will pass.
The Road To Sexual Healing
The road to sexual healing takes time and the resumption of sexual activity after having a new baby is a decision for both you and your partner to make. It is important to re-establish sexual connection after baby as this sets the grounds for a long and lasting marriage.
- Be intentional, not complacent
Just as there was never a perfect time to have kids, there will rarely be a perfect time to rekindle a connection with your partner. When you’re sleep starved and just muddling through the daily grind of looking after baby, it’s easy to push your romantic relationship aside. If you keep waiting for that perfect moment to reconnect with your partner, you’ll find that regaining intimacy will be increasing difficult. Be intentional and not complacent when re-establishing sexual connect with your partner. This is the first step towards sexual healing post-baby.
- Hit the reset button
Be the romantic that you were and use the circumstance of having a baby as an opportunity for you and your partner to start over your relationship. Re-establish your sexual connection as if you’ve just started out in your relationship – date nights leading to touching, holding hands, kissing, and gradually moving towards the intimate act.
- ‘Me’ first
Self-care is as important for yourself as it is for your relationship. Taking the time to nurture your individual physical and emotional needs will give you the bandwidth to nurture your relationship with your partner too. When you take care of yourself, re-connecting with your partner doesn’t feel like it another task on the to-do list. ‘Me’ first includes taking time off to go to the gym as well as enlisting the help from your family and partner. A good support network in place is an indirect way of working on intimacy.
Practising self-care as a couple is just as important. Is your baby co-sleeping with you? How can you make adjustments to your usual sexual routine to accommodate that? Have you stopped doing things that you love together since baby arrived? It’s time to take stock on what’s done before and missing right now that might be affecting the sexual connection that you have with your partner.
- Relive those magic moments
One of the best ways to nurture intimacy is to remind yourselves of when (and where) you had a great sexual connection together. Was it during one of your travels? What was the atmosphere like? Think about the setting and also consider the lead up to that great moment. Use these memories as a way to reconnect with your partner once again.
- Establish your bedroom as a sanctuary
If you have spent years co-sleeping with your kids, that can be somewhat difficult. However, there’s always a way to work around it and arrangements can always be made to create that magical physical space in the bedroom once again.
- Have a plan
Don’t bank on spontaneity to re-establish that sexual connection with your partner. Now that you have a little one at home who thrives on schedules, you also have to set a routine to set aside time with your other half. With less time on your hands now, it is really useful to develop a knack for planning ahead. Planning doesn’t mean you’ve got to set a specific date per week, per month for a date night. We all know how that’ll go especially with a little one in tow. The worst part is to have to feel obligated to go out just because it has been planned for. A plan needn’t be for a night out in town; it doesn’t have to mean planning big things. It can mean planning little things too like watching a movie, cuddling in bed which in turn might lead to much more.
Sexual healing takes time and you don’t have to simply rush into it out of guilt or worry. You are both going through a massive transformation especially if you’ve just had your first child, so give yourselves the space to nurture one other. Don’t be pressured to restart sex just yet. Maybe it needs to move aside for a teeny while to make space for the all the busyness and newness unfolding in your family. Most importantly, know that maintaining a sexual connection with your partner shouldn’t be rushed and shouldn’t be cast aside. After all, it is one of the foundations towards a healthy, ever-lasting marriage.