Friday, December 7, 2012
Sex After Having Babies
Disclaimer: If you are a family member or friend that doesn't care to know about my sex life, come back later! You've been warned.
Let's get real. We have babies, two babies, and there is little in life that makes the motivation to make love hard to conjure up than having babies. I hear from friends and lovely ladies on the interwebz that having lots of awesome marital sex after you have a baby is a mythical ideal of sexy existence that simply doesn't happen in real life. Cue the sad music.
During my first pregnancy, Ryan and I talked about maintaining our braggable sex statistic of 5 times per week. That may sound like a lot for a married couple but, for us, it was our norm and actually a decrease since our dating years... yeah, yeah, be jealous... we're frisky like that.
Seriously though, we connect well during sex and use it to reconnect faster and more efficiently than any movie date or romantic dinner (and who has time or money for those things anyway?). We knew that aspiring to get right back into having sex several times a week wouldn't be realistic, especially after such a traumatic birth experience with Emma, but we had no idea how hard it really was (pun semi-intended) to maintain a healthy sex life after having babies!
Emmaline was a really bad sleeper (still is sometimes, with a 5:30am wake-up call almost every day) and we were both very tired for the first few months of parenthood. As soon as we got the okay from my OB, we attempted to have regular sex but it was very challenging until our daughter started sleeping better and I started managing my time better during the day which made me feel better overall. We started exercising together when Emma was 6 months old and that flipped a switch in both of us, I think, to rekindle that very important fire.
It was then that we decided on a required minimum number of times per week that we would have sex. Instead of having a goal of 3 times per week or whatever, we had a minimum of once a week. It's completely achievable and I believe we've only missed the 6 weeks after Annabelle was born and maybe a week or two during my second pregnancy when I was feeling particularly awful.
Having a minimum is so much easier than having a lofty goal to work toward. If we exceed the minimum, that's awesome. If it gets to be Sunday night and we realize that the week passed and the weekend is nearly over and we haven't done it yet but we both feel too tired, we're doing it anyway because we have to. That's right, we.have.to.
For the first 7 seconds it feels like, "ugh... I'm so tired my eyes are burning and all I want to do is roll over onto my side and fall asleep because the baby is going to be up in an hour and then I'm going to be up every 75 minutes after that for the rest of the night and I can't imagine anything being worth sacrificing the next 7 minutes of potential sleep I could be getting right now." Everything after those first 7 seconds is awesome. Think about it, have you ever regretted having sex with your spouse? Probably not. Quickie or otherwise, sex with someone you love and want to connect with is always worth it.
With Annabelle being an even worse sleeper than her sister and with naps rarely overlapping, we're even more exhausted now than we were in the early days of her life and yet, we've raised the minimum. That's right, raising our expectations of ourselves, each other, and our marriage in order to be healthier and happier together. It's worth it. And it's not really that hard.
It's true, finding the motivation, feeling sexy, and having the energy to maintain a sex life after having babies is really hard and maybe some couples don't need to have sex with as much frequency or regularity. Good for them, I guess, but it's an integral part of our relationship and it's really important to both of us.
I've suggested the whole "once a week minimum" rule to girlfriends of mine and they say it's working for them like it has for us. I may add a chapter in my Two Under Two book on the whole idea since maintaining a relationship with your partner is hugely challenging when there are babies in the house and having two so close together is a huge strain on both parents and their relationship.
So, are you having sex after having babies? What's your secret? Or am I the only one? ; )