One of the biggest things people take for granted before having children is sleep. When you become pregnant for the first time, every parent who crosses your path half-jokingly warns you to sleep while you can. You smile politely and patronize them by agreeing that you’ll try, but inside you feel no need to take their advice. Once the baby arrives, you wish you could turn back time and hibernate like a grizzly bear, because sweet slumber quickly becomes all but a distant memory. But it isn’t the only thing couples take for granted before having kids. Sex can also disappear from your life, albeit temporarily, once you’re officially a parent.
Lack of sex isn’t usually a problem for couples who are trying to conceive. Unless a woman is so strict about tracking her cycle that she’ll only ‘try’ during her peak ovulation days, mates usually go to town as often as possible in order to get pregnant. Once you discover that you’re expecting, frequency of sex can take a major downturn. Many husbands are afraid of hurting their wife in their newly fragile state, and pregnant women often feel unwell and exhausted during the first trimester. During the second trimester, when Mom is feeling better and Dad is used to his wife being in a pregnant state, frequency of sex may increase. The third trimester? Similar to the first in that Moms are once again fatigued and Dads are frightened that sex will hurt their wife or even induce early labor.
Once the baby arrives, most doctors recommend that women wait six weeks for their body to heal before resuming sexual activity. Many women are grateful for this mandate as they need that time to acclimate to their new role as Mom, as well as to start to feel physically normal again. Psychologically, it can be incredibly difficult for a new Mom to switch from Mother to lover and back again, making it feel too weird to be intimate with her husband. New Dads take this personally and can feel a little jealous and resentful towards the new baby who has replaced him as the object of his wife’s affection.
As the baby gets older and life regains some semblance of normalcy, the frequency of sex may increase, but may never be the same as it was before parenthood. Kids are unpredictable and just when things start to heat up between a husband and wife, little Susie wakes up with a stomach virus. Kids are also exhausting and at the end of the day, Mom, and even sometimes Dad, can be way too tired to get amorous. Children are wonderful, but they aren’t very conducive to physical closeness between their parents.
Once the kids start going to school, they learn a lot of misinformation from classmates and start to ask Mom and Dad a lot of questions. It’s always good practice to let your child know when something they heard is incorrect without giving more information than their young minds can handle. Regardless, your child will probably suspect that there is something special that his parents do together, forcing you to become more discreet and less openly affectionate. It only gets worse when the kids are tweens and teens and have a pretty accurate idea of how things work.
Another obstacle to having a normal sex life when there are kids in the house is geography. In co-sleeping situations, where the children sleep in the same bed or room as their parents, creativity is a must. Luckily, most houses have more than one bedroom which is an obvious solution to the problem of where to do the deed. But why be so boring? Any room of the house can make for a more adventurous escapade including closets, bathrooms, and even staircases. Just make sure the blinds are closed so you don’t give the neighbors a free show.
Sometimes a woman’s sex drive can be hindered by her post-baby body image. Her husband may find her to be the most attractive woman on the planet, but if she feels overweight, covered in stretch marks, saggy, or otherwise amorphic in shape, she isn’t going to be in the mood. If you used to fool around surrounded by the soft glow of candles, try doing it in the pitch darkness for a while. Sometimes knowing that her body with its many perceived flaws can’t be seen, Mom can loosen up a bit and start to enjoy sex once again.
Breastfeeding can also make a new Mom feel somewhat unattractive. When a baby is very young, her Mother’s breasts are usually engorged, or leaking, or sagging, or sore. Sometimes they are all of the above. This can make it difficult for Mom to allow her husband to touch, or even look at her breasts, which may have played a big role in lovemaking back in the day. This is generally a temporary situation and once a woman gets used to, and becomes a pro at nursing, she feels a lot more comfortable sharing her breasts with her husband. Things take time to get back to normal once a new person is introduced into a family. Be patient.
Strive to remedy the various situations described above. Sex is such an important part of marriage in that it serves to increase the bond between a man and his wife. It’s worth working on having a healthy sex life, regardless of whether a couple are parents or not. Keep communication open and remind each other often that although sex may not be as good, or as often as it once was, you still love each other dearly and yearn for more time together. Before you know it the children will be grown and the nest will be empty. This will be the time to rediscover one another in an intimate way. Who knows, maybe all those years of having kids in the house will give you a new appreciation of each other and make you realize how much you’ve missed time alone together. Perhaps your sex life will be so much better than if you’d never become parents at all. So enjoy!