Sex After Birth
Lately, writing for pregnancy and postpartum life has been on my mind. I didn't know how to incorporate that here to the blog because not all the readers are pregnant or postpartum women BUT when I am feeling led to do something, I have to honor that. This day of the week will be reserved for these topics. Besides my clinical herbal education and experience, I am a certified labor and postpartum doula, which includes mother roasting.
I have had 4 babies...all vaginal deliveries but this post applies to all postpartum women.
When I was pregnant with my first, I had a friend who was having an elective c-section because she didn't want it to "mess her up down there". I hadn't really considered that but I knew that an elective c-section wasn't for me, so I thankfully never reconsidered my stance.
But then when our oldest was born...I was dead set that my husband would NOT be able to see below the waist. I mean, he could still see enough to be able to witness the beauty of childbirth but not be "grossed out" by the image. Side note here: that did change as subsequent babies came.
Once the immediate postpartum moved into a more comfortable rhythm at home, the idea of sex came to mind, and I was immediately worried. I was worried that it wouldn't be the same for my husband or for me. I was worried that it would feel as good or that my husband wouldn't be able to see me the same way.
Then, at my 6 week check up, my OB (we were in Germany at this time) asked if we were ready for the next baby! Apparently I bounced back rather quickly, physically speaking. Granted, I was 20 at the time so that is not a surprise but it was kind of the morale boost to get back into the sack.
It was...nerve wracking.
BUT the changes my body had gone through, didn't change the intimacy level. And that shocked me.
As time went by and I felt more and more comfortable, I realized that it still felt...great. Yes, I had a minor tear with my delivery...and I did with all my deliveries but sex was and still is amazing. It just takes us moms some time to wrap our minds around it.
Yes, postpartum sex can feel uncomfortable, which is why I don't recommend pushing yourself into full sex. Intimacy can still be had in other ways. As women, our minds play a HUGE role in how good or bad sex can feel. If we are worried/tired/stressed, it will affect our natural secretions and it can be painful...even if we feel like we "want it". Our brains can go from basically jumping our partners to 5 minutes later remembering that we forgot to start the diapers in the wash...and we can lose it. THIS IS ALL NORMAL.
Tell your partner everything. What you like, what you don't like. Tell them that you aren't ready even though you love and desire them. Respecting what your body tells you is crucial to holistic health. Tell them that your get distracted by XYZ (if they haven't been able to figure it out) and that it is important that these things get taken care of (hopefully they will also get that you are saying...hey, you need to do this).
When you are ready, if you are worried about dryness, I recommend using a natural oil (if you are using latex condoms, this is usually not a good idea). Sweet almond, sesame, or coconut oil all are good options. With coconut oil, this can be drying long term (not just for this purpose but for other topical applications as well), so keep that in mind.
For those using condoms...I recommend checking out Sustain Natural. This company has designed their products to be "vagina friendly" meaning they don't use parabens, toxic chemicals, or carcinogens in any thing. They have condoms (this is the company that my husband and I have on hand for when I am ovulating) and lube, wipes, tampons, and pads. On top of that they give 10% of their profits to women's healthcare organizations. Lets not make postpartum sex more nerve wracking by worrying about what kind of chemicals are going into/onto our sensitive body.
Give yourself plenty of foreplay before anything. While before having children you might have been able to be "ready to go" at the drop of a hat (and you still might be able to), things change (and not just from having children but from getting older period). Be upfront about what you NEED. Sex is a beautiful aspect of our health and only you know what you need/want. Both your partner and yourself need open communication to be able to enjoy it. While your partner may know what you like, they can't read your mind (and its unfair to assume they can). This may also include enjoy a beer or glass of wine to help your relax a little.
Additionally, talk to your partner about everything before you decide to go for sex. While you just went through a lot, their life shifted too. They might be scared about hurting you. They might be struggling with the stress too. This can affect them greatly...so much that they might not be able to be ready to go at the drop of the hat either.
Lastly, which I have covered a bit already, don't force it to happen. While it seems like a great plan to have the grandparents watch the baby for a few hours so you two can "do it" without worries, that can also put pressure onto both parties to actually have sex during that allotted time period. Yes, you should be asking family to watch the children for you, if you can. Not just for sex but for taking care of yourself and your relationship.
If you find that you have any concerns, talk with someone. Talk with an herbalist, a naturopath, a chiropractor...there are so many natural options for any of your concerns, as well as being able to confide in someone. Talk with other parents who you feel comfortable with (additionally, if someone confides in your, keep it to yourself, don't even share with your partner).