Pregnancy and childbirth are physically and emotionally demanding on women. But they are also demanding on the men in their lives. A recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that women’s partners also experience a loss of libido in the first three months after childbirth. For women, there are hormonal and biological changes which have a direct impact on sex drives. But there is of course the obvious issue of lack of sleep and the hard work involved with a newborn baby. Parenthood, even in later phases, is challenging to a couple’s intimacy and love life. There are ways to get back into a healthy rhythm so that there is not a big toll on your relationship:
Start again: You may have to think again about what being intimate means for you both especially following the physical trauma of childbirth and the changes in preferences this may cause. Your new identity as parents can also mean new preferences, ideas and needs. It’s important not to assume everything will be the same or try to force things to remain exactly as they were before parenthood. Sometimes, the changes can be just as exciting and satisfying.
Get creative: You will have to start thinking about how to make time for yourselves and plan around the baby’s nap times and use of babysitters and relatives’ time. Although spontaneity isn’t as easy, this doesn’t mean no time for you.
Stay communicating! You must keep talking. If one of you is experiencing tiredness especially or lack of interest, don’t withdraw, feel guilty or get defensive. Talk it out and be open with each other.
Don’t feel rejected and reject in return: It’s normal to find yourself in a sex rut after childbirth. The worst thing you can do is reject your partner because you feel rejected. Happy kids require happy parents. Stay present and understanding of each other. Don’t let low self-esteem get in the way of connection.