The thought of having sex to a new mother can be nauseating. I know because I was there. While your partner might be counting down the days to the ‘big day’ after weeks or even months of sex deprivation, you are most likely dreading it. That is why a mother I was reading about the other day didn’t correct her husband who was complaining that the 6 month no sex restriction from the doctor was too long. She felt like his misunderstanding was the best blessing in disguise. The story doesn’t say how it ended but it is an example of new mothers’ detest to sex in the first few months. Fortunately, this is temporary and you will have your sex groove back in time.
Before I had my baby, I used to think it is the doctor who gives the green light to resume sex at the 6 weeks postpartum checkup but it all depends on you and the type of birth experience you had. Your body needs time to heal and you will know when you are ready. For some mothers who had a natural birth, it can take two weeks or up to three months for others who had an assisted birth or cesarean section. I also thought there was something wrong with me because my libido was non existent for weeks. But that is expected as our body tries to naturally prevent another pregnancy by keeping oestrogen levels low, as we breastfeed, which is the reason why our libido vanishes into thin air.
Often times, mothers are scared of having sex after the baby thinking it will be painful or the stitches can come off or just being self conscious about our squishy bodies. While you are waiting for your body to heal, it is good to communicate your feelings and how your body is to your partner as he might have no clue about the great transformation your body is going through. Lack of intimacy for long can bring resentment between the two of you and you will feel like roommates before you know it. Be transparent about your feelings instead of hiding behind the ‘I am not ready yet’ mode.
At whatever point you decide to resume sexual activities, you should prepare yourself for awkward moments such as leaking or painful breasts or your body responding differently from what you were used to. It will take time for your body to feel normal again. It is thus advisable to give yourselves time as you explore different ways of being intimate. But before you actually resume sex, you should think about birth control. As much as exclusive breastfeeding can be used as a natural birth control, it is not 100% effective because it can be affected by slight changes in your breastfeeding pattern.
Myths about sex after baby are many and often scary but our bodies are different from one another so too are our experiences. It is best to wait until your uterus stops bleeding (which can take 10 to 14 days) but as long as your body has healed and you are mentally and psychologically ready to resume sex, don’t be afraid to spark that fire.
This first appeared on The Standard on 2 April 2017