My biological son is now almost 21 and I remember my pregnancy and his birth very clearly. I also remember how difficult it was for me to make the transition back to lover when all I could do was see myself as mother.
Childbirth was a bit of a shock and although I have an older sister with four children, we had never discussed childbirth and would never have discussed sex. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that childbirth was messy! I arrived with cream silk pajamas and had to send my husband back for old T-Shirts.
I gave birth naturally, epidural, no make-up and facing Sandton City! I tore slightly and required salt baths to heal. I’m no mother courage so I had domestic help and went back to work two weeks after. Just call me stupid for short. I thought Superwoman was more appropriate!
I had this working mother thing sorted except nobody ever spoke to me about how to get my lover thing back. I had to work that one out all by myself.
Let’s start with pregnancy. Your libido may or may not be affected. You could be hornier than ever, the same or not at all. Your breasts will ache and all those hormones rushing around your body, getting you ready for the big day will affect you both physically and emotionally.
And then the big day arrives and it’s messy. Really, really messy! It will feel like you are having a menstrual cycle from hell and there is just nothing sexy about it. You will feel like a milking cow, fat and exhausted. Your body has just experienced a trauma equivalent to a major operation and will need time to recover.
This recovery period takes between four and six weeks depending on your own personal recovery rate. Your cervix needs to close properly and any tears or lacerations have to heal. Because these wounds are internal you will not be able to see whether they are healed or not.
I recently read “Vaginas” by Naomi Wolf. In it she proposes that wounding during childbirth permanently changes the nerve structures of the vagina which could change the sensations you feel during sex. I can’t say that I remember it changing anything for me.
I do remember being terrified to have sex again. Was it going to be painful, would I tear again, would my vagina walls have stretched so much that I would not be able to give or receive pleasure again and there was no one I could ask.
So here are the answers: Potentially the answer is yes to all of them but with some pre and post birth care, not necessarily so.
Kegel exercise leading up to the birth will ensure that your vagina wall gets back into shape far quicker than if you don’t. Keep those exercises up after the birth for continued strength.
I believe it is incredibly important to re-establish intimacy with your partner soon after the baby is born. Not necessarily full penetrative sex but touching and maybe even licking. Remember that he is probably feeling left out. He was not part of the birthing process and I have no doubt that all your attention and emotional energy is firmly focused on the baby and now I’m asking you to give him some attention. I can hear the collective ‘all this and now I have to give him attention to?’ The answer is, Yes, get used to it.
Men can also be affected by the actual pregnancy and birth, something very often overlooked. I had a friend who was present when his wife’s innards were placed on a table next to her body while they removed her twins. He admitted that he could not get that image out of his mind. He spent a great deal of time puking every time he thought about it. Another was so traumatized by seeing his special place of pleasure stretch and tear that he could not bring himself to have sex with her for months after the birth of their son.
Maybe my parent’s generation had it right, let him pace the hall outside the delivery room. My son’s father was in the room with me but he stood at my head and could not see anything except my sweet angelic face.
Restoring your post pregnancy passion will require patience and work. It is not going to come back on its own. You are going to have to give it attention. Waiting for that loving feeling to return may only happen when you check into the retirement village.
You can speed up the recovery period by getting blood flow to the relevant areas. So guys if you want her back in the saddle, now is the time you up your technique and learn some genital massage techniques. It will help with the healing and lubrication and above all it may help her get her libido back. Just don’t expect to put your penis anywhere near her. Ladies this is the time you need to up your hand techniques. He just needs to know that you still desire him and that he is still in the game.
I covered this topic in a radio show last week and received many calls from men or should I say frustrated men. They were all in the 6 to 12 month drought after the birth, with no passion reignited. If you are one of their partners it is time to put on your big girl G-String and start getting your groove back. He needs your attention and so does your libido even if it the very last thing you feel like.
And when you don’t want to think about this: Do you want your relationship to survive? If the answer is yes then get to it and as an old aunt of mine used to say – Force yourself my child, Force yourself!