For those readers who are pregnant for the first time or indeed trying to get pregnant for the first time, it really isn't all bad as that. Honest. *ahem*
There are many reasons why your sex life can take a back seat after the birth of a baby, but with a bit of patience and time they can be overcome.
Probably the biggest reason couples have less sex after having a baby is tiredness. At the end of yet another endlessly exhausting day, the only thing on your mind is sleep.
Despite the fact that my first son slept through the night from the age of four months, I was still incredibly exhausted as he woke every morning at 5.30. My partner never got up with him, so it was always my responsibility to drag myself out of bed, in the dark, day after day after day. In order for me to get a good eight hours sleep a night, I would have had to be asleep by 9.30pm. With my partner getting home from work at around 9pm every day, I either would go to sleep on my own or stay up to attempt to spend time with my partner... then end up exhausted the next day. Once I went back to work, there was no way I could catch up on my sleep during the day. Sex was the last thing on my mind.
If tiredness is causing you problems in the bedroom and you can't nap during the day, your partner will need to help you out. If he refuses to wake up first thing, then perhaps he can look after your little one(s) for a few hours during the day on the weekends so you can catch up on your sleep. If he, for whatever reason, won't do that, then you should discuss either getting a nanny or sending your little one to a nursery for a few hours, a couple of days a week, again so you can get some sleep. If none of these things are an option, then you may just have to wait until your little ones are older...My second son is now almost eight months old. Not only does he not sleep through the night, but he is also sleeping in our room. Bizarrely, I am less tired than I was with my first son mainly because I try and sleep whenever my son does during the day. Tiredness is not the reason our sex life isn't flourishing.
Pretty much every single time my husband and I even do so much as snuggle up to one another, our son wakes up. I'm convinced he's worried that we will try and make a new brother and sister and he needs to make sure that doesn't happen.
The solution to this, of course, is to move your little one into their own room. We are renting a house with only two bedrooms, so our little one doesn't have another room to move into... we're stuck with him for a while until we move.
Despite the fact that he wakes a lot, I realise that I'm actually getting my fill of affection from my son so that I don't really crave it from my husband. I spoke to my husband about this, so he's understands why I mightn't be as physical with him as I normally would be. I told him that he needs to make more of an effort to be 'touchy' than normal. From simply touching my arm as I walk past to snuggling up on the sofa whilst watching TV, to trying to 'get close' in bed even if our little guy will wake up and stop us.
Continuing to be affectionate is incredibly important. Sure, it may not be sex, but if you give up all your affection entirely then it will become considerably more difficult to get back to a normal sex life. Just simple touches, caresses or hugs throughout the day keep you connected physically. Also, it is vitally important that you continue to make time for just the two of you. Get a babysitter in and go out together, even for an hour to the local pub. Once you're out together make a rule that you won't talk about the kids. At all.
Sometimes the birth itself can be so traumatic for either the man or the woman – physically or psychologically – that the idea of having sex fills them with genuine fear. In this case, I would urge you to talk to your GP as soon as possible. The longer you leave the problem, the more entrenched it will become. Also the feelings of rejection felt by the other partner may become so strong that they will drive another wedge between you.
Even if you feel constantly tired, grumpy, frumpy, bored or, even, downright angry, if you want your relationship to remain strong throughout the crazy days of the first few years of your children's lives, then you both need to put some effort into remaining physically close.
Today, whether you are having problems with your sex life or not, make a point of caressing, hugging or even kissing your partner as much as you can during the day. It will help you at night.