It takes intimacy at just the right time in a woman's cycle for her to become pregnant. Women often chart their ovulation and plan seductive moves when they know the time is right for baby making. What they don't know is that once the baby arrives, they may never want to seduce anyone again.
Intimacy after baby is complicated. We still love our partners, but our lives are so full of taking care of a newborn that anything that puts extra work on our plates is a hard no. Intimacy can actually fall into that category.
Women experience a long road to healing, one that researchers now say can take up to a year or longer, and hormones are all over the place. The pain from birth is fresh, and the shock of post-baby bodies is raw. Very few women find themselves focused on intimacy, and since doctors don't recommend women get freaky in the sheets until after they make it past the post-birth check-up, not being intimate becomes a habit.
When mom is finally cleared for sexual activity, she may find that she's not as interested as she hoped to be. Dad may have been counting down the days, but mom may start looking for ways to buy time so she doesn't have to participate in the horizontal tango.
Most couples do eventually make their way back to intimacy, but it can be a slow, painful process. The reasons moms choose to hold it off are many, and they are valid.
15 Breasts Like Sprinkler Systems
Women who choose to nurse are going to find that their breasts do some very strange things when stimulated. Crying babies are not the only things that stimulate milk production. A too-tight bra, a warm shower, and many other quirky stimulants exist to make mom feel like she is leaking milk all the time.
Sexual intimacy is also a great way to get the milk flowing, but most moms don't want to leak milk all over their partners during intimacy. In fact, many women don't even want their partners to touch their breasts while they are nursing. The boobs are super sensitive, and having them viewed as sexual while mom is still nursing can make many women uncomfortable.
Many nursing moms choose to have sex with bras on during the nursing phase because they don't like their breasts being sprinkler systems that go off all over their partners at the worst possible times.
14 Feel The Burn
Dyspareunia is real, and many women struggle with it. Dyspareunia is defined as pain during intercourse, and it takes a once pleasurable experience and turns it into one fraught with pain. After birth, many women suffer with dyspareunia for the first time because of how sensitive their lady parts are after having a child.
The pain keeps mom from enjoying intimacy and will keep her from being able to climax. It may also make her start looking for ways to avoid her spouse, pulling away from his touch or trying to go to bed before him so sex won't be initiated.
It's best to be open about dyspareunia and to talk to a doctor. Underlying conditions, such as endometriosis, can cause the pain, and scar tissue may also be a problem after a C-section or if an episiotomy was performed. There may be an easy fix, but avoiding the bedroom forever isn't it.
13 Nursing Doesn't Equal Birth Control
Doctors are careful about putting moms on birth control when they are nursing because of the hormones the pills contain. There are low-dose birth control pills that may work, but some doctors tell women it's unlikely they will get pregnant while nursing. This is not always true.
While it's true that women don't get their periods until they are ovulating again, and ovulation can be suppressed by nursing, there's no way for a woman to know when she is ovulating. She ovulates before getting a period, so mom may have unprotected sex without knowing she can get pregnant. Then when she doesn't get a period, there's a chance she will blame it on nursing.
It's hard to decide what birth control to use while nursing, but women should not assume breastfeeding is built-in birth control. The many women who have gotten pregnant while breastfeeding can attest to the fact that it's not.
12 Body Loathing
Every woman feels big feelings about her body post-birth. Some women feel empowered about what their bodies can do, but others only see the aftereffects of carrying and birthing a child. These may include sagging breasts, stretch marks, and loose skin.
A woman's body is beautiful, no matter how much it changed during pregnancy, but women don't always feel that way, and that can put a stop to action in the bedroom. Since women have a hard time finding themselves attractive after babies arrive, they assume their husbands don't like the way they look either. This is often false, but it's the thought that is running through mom's mind when intimacy is considered.
Body image issues can make mom miserable, and she does not need to let her life be controlled by her post-baby weight or the way her jeans fit. Her partner will want her anyway, and she needs to focus on that instead of the lack of a thigh gap.
11 Ultimate Birth Control
Guess when women are super fertile? Right after having a baby! While this isn't true for every woman, women who suffered with endometriosis before or whose hormones didn't regulate properly can experience a break in symptoms that leave them fertile. That means as soon as mom ovulates again, she may get pregnant.
In the midst of the newborn haze that includes sleep deprivation and recovering from birth, the last thing many moms want to think about is having another baby. They will do anything to avoid getting pregnant again in those early days, and that may include avoiding intimacy altogether.
There are other ways to avoid pregnancy because avoiding intimacy will be hard on mom's relationship. However, she does need to discuss her fears with her partner so he knows she is not rejecting him, just trying to fully recover before having another child.
10 Little Eyes Everywhere
Now mom and dad are, well, mom and dad. The days of running around nude and having sex in any room of the house are over. There are little people underfoot who can catch them at any time, and it's not easy to explain the naked, extra special hugging mom and dad are engaging in.
Even just having an infant can put mom off of sex. The idea of getting into the moment only to be interrupted by a cranky infant is hard to imagine. Women feel like if they can't relax and be in the moment, then the moment is not really worth it.
This doesn't get easier as kids get older. Sure, they start sleeping through the night, but if they do wake up to get water or go to the bathroom, older kids can actually get out of bed without mom and dad knowing. That makes sneaky sex even more difficult to achieve.
9 Just Give Me Rest
Sleep deprivation mentally and physically hurts, and there is nothing like the sleep deprivation that hits mom when she has a newborn. As the 24/7 on call person for a baby's needs, mom won't rest often, and she will find that it's hard to sleep deeply once the baby arrives.
While dad may be gearing up for a hot night of passion, mom will likely be fantasizing about a warm bed, her favorite sweats, and at least two hours of uninterrupted shut eye. Forget the freaky stuff; moms often just want their fuzzy socks and a place to rest.
This is normal, and an exhausted mom is probably not going to feel the desire for extracurricular activities, like intimacy. The sleep deprived phase is just a phase, and it will pass. In the meantime, a partner can cuddle mom while she naps or offer to take the baby while she gets sleep. The sooner she actually feels awake enough to function, the more likely the intimacy will return.
8 Partner Insults
Most partners are supportive of the changes a woman's body goes through while growing and having a child. They love their partners unconditionally and want them no matter how they look. However, there are those rare fools who spew insults at women, trashing them for the changes their bodies have gone through.
A man who tells a woman she is unattractive while pregnant or a partner who verbally pines for the body his wife had pre-baby is not nice. It makes sense for mom to shut down physically with this person after the baby is born and she is not yet used to her new figure. She is afraid of being insulted, and this kind of partner will likely make that fear come true.
Women who are body shamed by their partners are obviously going to have a hard time desiring intimacy. This is a problem that will have to be addressed and corrected, with tons of apologies required, before the bedroom will be an option.
7 Hormone Roller Coaster
Hormones are crazy during and after pregnancy, and there's not much mom can do about this. One minute she might sincerely feel like engaging in intimacy, and the next she will not want to be touched. If her partner doesn't strike when the mood is right, it will be hard to coerce a woman who has just had a baby into having sex.
Hormones aren't stable after birth, and many report feeling like whatever hormone made them desire sex before no longer exists. This can sometimes be remedied with supplements, but anything mom takes has to be okay for the baby if she is breastfeeding.
With time, hormones will regulate, but there can be a very dry season during the months right after the birth. It's not personal, but it can feel that way to the partner who doesn't understand why things have changed. Mom may not be able to explain why her desire is gone, but if she can't pinpoint a reason, hormones are probably the culprit.
6 Don't Touch Me
There is such a thing as being touched out, and new moms experience it often. We love our kids and want to hold and nurse them, but after most of our day is spent being in extremely close proximity to another human being, many of us find ourselves unable to appreciate being touched. In fact, some women actually feel like their skin crawls when people reach for them.
It doesn't matter who tries to embrace or touch mom. After a whole day of being a milk machine or the person who carries and rocks the baby, any touch can feel aggressive, even if it's not meant to be. Women report just wanting space to move without worrying about waking up a child or making someone else uncomfortable.
This bleeds into mom's lack of desire for intimacy. Intimacy involves touching, and a woman who just wants a couple of hours a day without being touched is going to want to avoid sex.
5 Everything Is Sad
Postpartum depression is a mood killer if there ever was one. Most PPD issues are related to an imbalance in hormones, and when hormones are off, nothing is right. The last thing mom is going to be thinking about is intimacy if she is grappling with feeling she has no purpose in life or like the sadness leaving her in a fog will never lift.
Receiving treatment for PPD is possible, and women who suffer from it should. They should not pressure themselves to be intimate with their partners while trying to recover if they don't want to, and their partners should understand. Until mom is able to heal, intimacy will likely just feel like another thing to do that seems hopeless and pointless.
Being depressed puts a cloud of darkness over everything, and postpartum depression is especially difficult because many moms feel they are failing their children. They're not, and they don't need to feel like they are failing their partners because they need time to heal.
4 Quickies Required
There is not a lot of time for foreplay or dragging out the intimacy process after birth. With kids underfoot, everything has to be efficient and quick, and that's not exactly the best way to experience sex. Many women don't want to bother with intimacy if it's going to be so fast they don't get anything out of it.
Infants require mom and dad's presence quite often, so planning a long bath followed by a night of intimacy is unrealistic. Planning a quickie before mom and dad pass out to try to sleep for at least an hour is more realistic, and that reality is too depressing for some moms to want to partake in it.
With age, it gets somewhat better, but there's still always the worry that they longer mom and dad linger, the more likely they are to get caught. It adds more stress to intimacy than many women want to deal with.
3 Emotional Intimacy Stall
Before physical intimacy can be satisfying, most people need a certain amount of emotional intimacy to be in place. That means touching all day, having conversations, and performing acts of kindness to show the other person love. While it's possible to offer emotional intimacy after having a baby, it takes much more effort and can end up on the bottom of the list.
Mom is focused on the baby, and dad is as well, while also being focused on supporting mom in practical ways. This is good, but it doesn't leave a lot of room for just cuddling or hand holding. It's hard to have a whole conversation with a baby interrupting, so mom and dad may feel more like teammates bound together to raise a child than lovers seeking physical pleasure. Plus, they both may relish alone time when they can steal it.
Staying engaged outside of the bedroom is key if mom and dad want things to heat up in the sheets. It takes effort, and it's not always possible in those early months.
2 Not Feeling Like A Sexual Being
Though the term MILF is extremely popular in today's culture, most moms don't aspire to be one. On the other end of things, they don't want to be the mom jean ladies, forfeiting all sexuality because of motherhood. So where does that leave women after they have kids? Oftentimes, very confused and conflicted.
Women can be moms and sexual beings at the same time, but mom's brain may try to convince her that this isn't possible. She may feel like nursing an infant, changing a diaper, and then putting a child to bed can't happen right before she has sex. It feels wrong, like nothing about being a mom should overlap with being a lover.
These feelings can keep women from embracing the part of them that still wants to be desired sexually, and it can wreak havoc on mom's sex life.
1 Real Problems Emerge
Having children can bring a couple closer than they have ever been before. It can also rip them apart and intensify problems that already existed. It just depends on how the relationship was doing before the child arrived.
Intimacy shuts down for some couples because the issues that were always lurking come bubbling to the surface when a baby is in the picture. Dad's tendency to still act like a child as opposed to an adult isn't harmless when mom needs a dependable partner. The differences between the partners about how they want to raise kids are suddenly much bigger than they were before the child actually arrived. Everything is intensified, and this can lead to a major relationship breakdown.
When this occurs, seeking counseling can help some couples, though others may end up parting ways permanently. Intimacy will be the last thing on their minds as they try to decide whether or not to salvage the relationship.