Postpartum intimacy - sounds like an oxymoron right?
It’s a funny thing, the very act that produces babies is the thing most women want nothing to do with after giving birth. We all know how taxing having a newborn can be and the sleep deprivation that goes with it. My thought though is that is only 10% of the issue.
The biggest reason why postpartum women don’t want to be intimate with their partner the big ol 90% is that we don’t feel SEXY anymore. Or feel like we're lacking support and TLC from our spouse.
I am not one of those women who loves being pregnant, but, for some reason when I’m pregnant, I am way more able to be more carefree with my spouse when it comes to our intimate life. It took me 3 pregnancies to let go of unrealistic expectations, ideas of having the “healthiest most fit” pregancy ever and to pause for a minute and to remember to just enjoy my body; appreciate it for the incredible job it was doing making a baby. The effects of that made it’s way into the bedroom and totally made our relationship better.
When a woman has a baby she is reborn, she is not the same person she was before, and she, along with everyone else in her life, needs to give her time to find her bearings in this new self. This transition applies to all areas of her life including intimate relationships.
So what’s a couple to do when they are stressed, over-tired, ships passing in the night?
Connection is key! Connection doesn’t have to be physical; in fact, I think in early postpartum, connection shouldn’t be physical, but emotional. Talk about what you both went througth to bring a human into the world. Let each other’s stories be heard and listen - like actively listen - meaning show eyecontact, nod, move in closer when the other person is talking, etcetera. These are all signs that you are engaged in the conversation and care.
After connection is created, the following are my top 5 tips to enhancing intimacy in your relationship; these apply to both men and women:
Compliment your partner. It doesn’t matter who gave birth both people in a relationship need to feel attractive and know that the other person desires them.
Accept the compliment! Ladies we suck at this, especially postpartrum. Our bodies just grew a baby for over 9+ months, then theres the actual birthing of the baby, (which in my experience feels like a war zone in my nether regions), and everything feels sort of awkward and squishy. But - that does NOT mean you are not attractive and beautiful...especially to the person you had this new bundle of joy with. Accepting the compliment is huge in changing our negative mindset. For example, after I gave brith to my third baby last summer my husband would eye me up and down and sigh “gosh your’re beautiful”....Yeah, I know, I basically married Noah Calhoun from the Notebook. However, when he complimented me, I would get angry. “How dare he lie to me in my fagile state!”...was my negative thinking. Well, a couple arguments later, it turns out that he wasn’t lying but actually thought I looked like Aphrodite in the Louvre. He was there - he saw what my body did to bring our children into the world - and he thought it was beautiful at all it’s phases. I stopped poo-pooing his compliments, and once I started accepting them, I started seeing my body like he did - a piece of artwork that wasn’t subjective.
Schedule Intimate Time: Literally put it in your iCal or Google Calendar and share it with you partner so you both can get emotioanally and physically prepared for this time togeher.
Talk in the bedroom: Don’t be afraid to say what feels good and what doesn’t feel good. Things change after you have a baby, so you need to be able to say what is okay for you.
Let go of expectation: Having the best sex of your life is not the end goal after you have a baby. Just being together, appreciating each other physically, and connecting on many levels is the goal.
I hope this makes you feel like the queen you are and ultimately that it helps you love and accept yourself more!