Hey baby daddy! Yes, I’m talking to you, you stallion of a man whose mighty swimmers created a child and effectively changed your life forever!
Has your wife/partner gotten the green light from the doc to have sex again? Are you wondering why she didn’t rush right home immediately for a rumble in the sheets with you? Has it actually been weeks or even months since the green light was cast? Are you getting frustrated, wondering when it’s going to happen?
Well, I’ve got news for you. So is she. And though she may be the one putting the brakes on the experience, I can assure you, it’s not because she doesn’t want to sleep with you again. It’s because she’d actually like to sleep again first.
In fact, if she’s anything like me, there are many, many things she has dreamed of doing since baby was born, but she hasn’t had the time or the energy to do them. I’m talking about basic life functions. Simple things she may have taken for granted before she had a newborn. Things like peeing by herself. Showering alone. Eating when she’s hungry.
You know. The basics.
So husbands of the world, hear this: Before you go in for the kill, allow me to paint a picture of what your wife is going through right now. I promise, it will help you get back in the sheets faster.
Ah, your wife. Your lovely wife. She pushed a human out of a part of her body that doesn’t seem big enough for said human (or else she had to be opened up so baby could be taken out through her abdomen — equally as logic-defying). And instead of having the time to heal her gaping wound, and to catch up on all the missed sleep from the labor, she can’t. Because now, she’s learning how to be a mom.
If she’s nursing, she’s suddenly the only food source for this new — oftentimes screaming — little being, and she’s expected to figure out how to do it on the spot. The learning curve is steep and is not for the faint of heart, much less for the sleep-deprived.
Up until a few weeks ago, I was a walking zombie (now I’m just plain tired — an improvement, in my books). Baby is sleeping well these days, but I’m not (Is she breathing? Is she cold? Is she hot? Why hasn’t she moved in five hours? Something must be wrong!). I’ve got more on my to-do list than I have hours in the day to complete them — and many of those to-dos used to be those basic functions I mentioned earlier that never needed to be on a to-do list before (i.e. going to the bathroom, showering, eating, cooking, driving myself anywhere).
I barely have time to finish a thought, so the idea of putting sex on the list is, well … there is nothing sexy about putting sex on a to-do list! But there it is. The cold, hard truth. In the first few months of motherhood, at least for a first-time parent like myself, sex becomes just another item on a seemingly never complete to-do list.
To add further insult to injury, I’m not at all sure about my new body. I’ve never been overweight before, and yet here I am, carrying an extra 10 pounds that has lovingly spread around my body in places I never carried weight before. I sometimes spend what precious little time I have to myself staring at my body in the mirror, playing with the new flab on my arms or trying to squish my tummy back together (with no success, I might add).
I’m mourning the loss of my old body and am trying to accept my new one, if for no other reason than to teach my daughter to always love hers the way it is. But it’s scary. And on top of it all, despite his assurances, I’m worried that my husband doesn’t love my new body, mostly because quite honestly, I don’t. At least, not yet.
And my wardrobe isn’t helping. My pre-baby clothes are still too tight for me, but my maternity clothes are so loose that they make me look frumpy. I don’t have time to shop for clothes that actually fit my new body (nor do I want to, because then I’d be admitting defeat). And even if I did, it’s all too overwhelming. I wouldn’t know where to start. So instead, I settle for spandex pants and oversized shirts that make me feel anything but sexy.
Oh — and the lady parts? Well, they don’t look right anymore. And they certainly don’t feel right. And — by gosh — they are making noises I never knew them to make before.
Your partner, dear husbands, is almost certainly experiencing something akin to what I am going through. Whether she had a vaginal birth or a C-section, whether she’s nursing or bottle feeding, whether she has help or not, she still has to navigate her new body (even if she has lost the weight, her body probably doesn’t feel the same), she still has to sift through her raging hormones, and she still has to emotionally adjust to life as a mom. It’s not easy, so forgive her if sex isn’t quite on the top of her list.
That said, fear not! The path back to your sex life is not as dismal as I may have led you to believe. The key is to do things that make your wife feel rested, cared for, understood, and yes, even sexy.
But how is a man to do that? Let me count the ways …
1. Don’t pressure her.
Please be patient. Don’t mention how long it has been since you’ve done the deed. Just stick by her side, give her support, be a good dad, spend quality time with her, and wait it out. If you do the things on the rest of this list, you won’t have to wait very long.
2. Get educated.
Ask her about what she’s going through, how she’s feeling, how her body is feeling. Then, do some research. Talk to her doctor/midwife about exactly what is going on for your wife, both emotionally and physically. Get the facts. Then talk to your partner about it so she knows how committed you are to understanding what she’s going through. But, for goodness sake, remember to sympathize with her. Do not make any attempt to empathize.
You cannot possibly know exactly what she’s going through, and any attempts to say so will make her want to punch you in the face. Just say, “I’ve researched this and that and wow — I can only imagine how this must feel for you! I’m here for you every step of the way!” Avoid saying things like, “I know what you’re going through.” No. You don’t. You may have read about them. But you really don’t know what we’re going through.
3. Tell her you love her and kiss her on the forehead every day.
Saying, “I love you!” and telling her how amazing of a mom she is, and how great of a job she is doing will go a long way in making her feel like she’s really and truly supported. Similarly, a kiss on the forehead is tender. It says, “I adore everything about you and I’ll love you forever.” It’s intimate without being sexual.
4. Do something nice for her every day without expecting anything in return.
This can be as simple as doing a chore that you wouldn’t normally do, or even helping her with something she normally does (i.e. cooking dinner, laundry, etc.). But don’t announce that you did it. Just do it. Trust me. She’ll notice. Eventually.
5. Do something extra nice for her once a week.
This could be buying her a bouquet of her favorite flowers, getting her a small gift that she’s had her eye on for a while, or even bringing home her favorite meal from her favorite restaurant. Don’t announce that you will be doing this. Just do it. She’ll feel especially cared for.
6. Get her comfortable with a babysitter/nanny.
If you don’t have help already, or family close by, tell her that you’d like to start the hunt for a babysitter you’re both comfortable with. Why? So they can come over each week so the baby can get used to them. Then, let your wife know that you will be taking her on a romantic date sometime in the near future (after baby is used to the new babysitter), and that you want to make sure that you both feel comfortable leaving the baby with this babysitter so you can both really enjoy yourselves.
7. Court her.
Yup. Just like you did when you first started dating. Be a gentleman, and court her. Take her out on several dates without expecting sex in return. Just love her up the way she deserves to be loved. If she’s not comfortable leaving the house yet, consider a candle-lit dinner on the patio, or a movie night with all of her favorite treats.
8. Spend quality downtime with her.
Sit with her while she’s breastfeeding. Join her and baby in the kitchen while she’s making dinner. Put away your phone. Put away your computer. Be present with her and baby. Ask her questions about her day. Listen to her. Be with her.
9. Give her time to herself.
At least once or twice a week, make sure your wife gets time to herself for an hour or many. If you have help, this is easier to do. If you don’t, you’ll have to step in and do it. Work within the parameters of the baby’s schedule (if you don’t, your wife will think you don’t understand and will resist your kind gesture).
BONUS: Gift her weekly massages.
There is no doubt about it: your wife’s body is taking a beating. From all the bending over, picking up baby, carrying baby, bending over baby while she’s feeding, etc. her back is a mess. Arrange for a masseuse to come to your house once a week if your wife isn’t able to leave the house yet. If this isn’t budget- friendly, do it yourself. It will serve a double purpose of bringing the two of you closer together.
Gentlemen, I promise if you do some or all of these things, your wife will be ready to get back in the saddle faster than you think (though perhaps not as fast as you’d like, like right now). And when you do find yourself in post-baby sex bliss, remember, it’s probably going to hurt her. There is no getting around that. Just be gentle, be patient, be kind, and all will be well.More On