Navigating relationships in the world of new parenthood is tricky for every couple.
Where there were once only two people, there’s now three! Not to mention a heady cocktail of changing dynamics, hormones, emotions, and exhaustion.
Rekindling your romantic relationship postpartum
During the first few months with your newborn, it can often feel like you and your partner have no scope for quality time together, and that when you are together, most of your physical and emotional energy is given to your little one.
Don’t worry, this stage doesn’t last forever, and you’ll soon get into the groove of your new life as a fully-fledged family.
It’s important to acknowledge that and embrace change, and recognise that you may not have the same freedom with time or money that you had before. Be sure to listen to each other and be honest about what you need at every stage. If you both feel ready, why not ask a friend or family member to watch your baby while you go out for a well overdue date night.
If you are still pregnant, why don’t you and your partner put some date nights in the diary. One every month following the arrival of your baby. It may just be a simple as putting your little one down to sleep and keeping the TV off to have some catch up time.
Focus on you
If you’re feeling nervous about the idea of having sex with your partner post-birth, take some time to get back in tune with your body, after all, it may have changed a little over the past 9 months! Re-acquainting yourself with your sexual side is sure to get you feeling more confident in yourself, and comfortable with the idea of getting intimate with your partner again.
Remember to keep doing your pelvic floor exercises. These bring back muscle tone to your vagina after birth – helping not only with healing, but also improving your sex life. It’s a win, win!
Bringing back the birds and the bees
We can all agree that the thought of sex after birth sure is daunting, so we’ve pulled together these pointers to bust some myths and reassure you.
The physical timeline for a woman’s body to heal ‘down there’ is pretty much the same, no matter how she gives birth. So, with that in mind, whether your baby was delivered by C-section or vaginally, you can usually have sex safely after being given the OK by your doctor at your 6-week postpartum check-up – but only if you feel 100% comfortable. Some couples wait weeks, others months. Everyone is different!
Be sure to talk to your partner openly, take your time, and try some non-sexual foreplay – like massage and cuddles – to help you relax. Romantic contact of any kind releases the love hormone oxytocin and endorphins – both feel-good, mood-boosters.
The best approach is patience, understanding, and finding new ways of being physically affectionate until you both feel ready to have sex again.
Make sure that you think about contraception going forward, even if you’re breastfeeding and your periods haven't started again yet. You'll get the chance to discuss your options before you leave hospital after your baby is born, and again at your postpartum check.
Speaking of breastfeeding, it’s highly likely that your breastmilk letdown will kick into action just as you’re getting down to business – all thanks to those pesky hormones! It’s best to see the funny side and power though. Have some tissues to hand and don’t worry, it won’t impact your milk supply or make your partner think you’re less sexy!
To wrap up…
- Relax and spend time together when you can.
- Make sure that you don’t shut off from the person that you created this new life with.
- Feel empowered by all that your body has achieved and be patient with yourself.
- Give yourself all the time you need to heal physically, but also to adjust to your new role as a parent.
- Share your struggles, find humour in the process, and meet in the middle with your partner.