It’s not that I don’t love my husband, because I do. And it’s not like I don’t find him attractive, because I mean … that beard and that bod? I dig it. But the thought of having sex six weeks postpartum? Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling it.
NOTE: This is the part where you may want to stop reading if you know me (parents and in-laws, I’m looking at you).
I never really realized how much hormones could effect a person until I experienced pregnancy and postpartum. My moods (and shall we say sexual prowess?) definitely changed during each time. With my first pregnancy, I was into it. But postpartum? Not so much. With the second, I wasn’t into it during pregnancy but postpartum I was a fan. The third time around though I was just not into it AT ALL. Let’s just say that a good chunk of my pregnancy was a test of patience for my husband — bless him.
Having experienced these pregnancy hormone shifts before, though, neither of us were overly concerned. We assumed that things would fall back into a good groove once our baby arrived and everything leveled out. Finally, after
nine 10 long months, our baby girl made her debut into this world and we were thrilled. Now things would settle back into place hormonally and sex would surely be good again — and most definitely far less awkward and uncomfortable.
So we waited.
But as my six-week postpartum check-up approached, I still wasn’t feeling overly enthusiastic about the prospect of a roll in the hay. My husband — ever the gentleman — didn’t push the subject (but he did make a few polite hints). Even though I was nervous about it, and not feeling particularly amorous, I knew that it was time to “get back on the horse” so to speak. I decided that because marriage is a team effort and a healthy sex life is an important part of marriage, that it was time to “take one for the team.”
So one night, I suggested giving it a go. Obviously my husband was thrilled and even though I went into it with a lackluster spirit and a bit skeptical that I would enjoy it, it ended up being a really good thing. I hadn’t realized how much I had really missed that connection.
Did it take me a bit to get into it? Yep. Did it hurt a little? Of course. The first time after pushing out a baby is always a little uncomfortable. But it was good. Good for him and good for me — and good for our marriage.
I took one for the team that night by being open to something that I wasn’t totally sure about. The fact that I did that was well-received by my husband and in turn he took one for the team a few nights later when he offered to take on solo baby duty (along with the two crazy toddlers) so I could go to happy hour with friends. That’s the thing about marriage (a good one anyway): it sometimes requires self-sacrifice. In the end though, it’s always worth it and can benefit both partners.
And don’t get me wrong — I am in no way encouraging non-consensual sex in any form. But sometimes it’s far too easy to get into a funk when it comes to sex (especially when you’re tired and hormonal and have a brood of children) and sometimes it can be a good idea to make a concerted effort to find ways to “get there” mentally and give it a go when you’re ready. And that may mean that you need to communicate what you need from your partner in order to get there.
For me, that means my husband taking some of the tasks off my plate in the evenings so I can have some time and space to transition from “mom mode” into “sexy wife mode.” Taking one for the team means that the other half of that team is putting in the work, too.
I liken this a lot to the scenario of an introvert being invited to a party. You love the party host and you really want to be there to support them, but the idea of going to the party sounds overwhelming and a little bit intimidating. You love this host though, so you psych yourself up and go, because you know that even just the effort will mean a lot to them. You may walk into the party and decide it’s too much and walk right back out. That’s OK, because you are in control and you can do that, but the simple fact that you even tried is much appreciated.
This idea of taking one for the team has really encouraged me to make a more conscious effort in my marriage in other areas as well. Maybe that means something as simple as watching a movie I think is boring, because I know he would like it, or him taking the kids to the park when he gets home from work even though he’s exhausted because he knows I could use a break, too.
Marriage is a team effort and requires a lot of hard work, but it is always always worth it.