Sex After Childbirth Takes Time – But I’ve Learned It’s More Than Worth The Wait

I worried we’d never get our groove back, but after going through labour I feel like I trust my body more, and have more confidence to try new things with it, writes Rebecca Weller.
Getty Images
HuffPost UK
Getty Images

You’re reading Sex Diaries, a HuffPost UK Personal series about how we are (or aren’t) having sex. To share your story, get in touch on ukpersonal@huffpost.com.

Sex may not be the most important part of a relationship, but intimacy and connecting with each other really is. There’s no better way to feel that closeness with your partner.

That said, the idea of having sex after giving birth was enough to make me want to tighten the lock on my chastity belt and throw away the key (a feeling in which I’m sure I’m not alone).

Even though I felt mentally ready to have sex again quite quickly after, the reality was my body just was not on the same page. My labour did go somewhat smoothly, and was quicker than I expected. However, I found out the hard way it’s not just the perineum that can tear during labour: I had torn quite badly upwards, which required some thirty to forty stitches in and around my vagina, and having my urethra and clitoris stitched back together with no pain relief.

The recommended time to wait to have sex again after labour is six weeks but, for me, it just felt such a long time – I craved that feeling of closeness between my husband and myself again. I had been hoping for a ‘no stitches and out of hospital quick’ kind of birth if nothing else so we could solve our sexual frustration faster, but this was not meant to be.

“I couldn’t even hold a proper conversation with my equally exhausted husband, let alone a sexual extravaganza”

The exhaustion from caring for a newborn plus the hormonal changes raging through me meant I couldn’t even hold a proper conversation with my equally exhausted husband, let alone a sexual extravaganza.

Having a newborn was such a special time, of course, but our days faded into one big blur. I think I, like a lot of women, lost a bit of myself in the time warp, especially as our daughter suffered from severe reflux and I struggled with breastfeeding.

Eventually we settled into our new routine and started to feel a bit more like our old selves as we emerged from the newborn fog. And on emerging one of the first things on my mind was when we would be ready to have sex again. After being home from hospital for a few days, every time I saw my husband I had this rush of sexual excitement... followed shortly after by a painful twinge down below to assure me the time was not yet right. By the recommended six weeks postpartum, I was worried we would never be able to get our groove back.

We started off trying to be intimate with each other without actually having full sex at first: kissing, touching and just generally spending time together as a couple and experiencing a separate emotion from parenting.

We ended up waiting until around three months postpartum to actually have full sex again. My body just was not ready until then, and I have to say it felt completely different to pre-baby sex. The first time was a little awkward. I was so nervous about it hurting (almost like losing my virginity again), and my husband was conscious of my scars and the tightness I still felt. I did experience some pain and discomfort at first but after I relaxed, that eased off. After the first few times, that anxiety disappeared completely.

In its place, the closeness and bond we had felt before becoming parents became stronger than ever. I had a newfound respect for my body, which made sex even more enjoyable on so many different levels – I even found my orgasms and every touch more intense.

“I have never been more sure of anything as I am that my husband and I will continue to have a great sex life”

I realised my sexual preferences had changed as well. Pre-birth I was somewhat conservative when it came to trying new things in the bedroom. I knew what I liked, and I knew what my husband liked, so why fix something that isn’t broken?

But after going through childbirth I feel like I trust my body more, and have more confidence with it, which has made me much more eager to try new things and, if anything, has actually boosted my sex drive. Knowing too that my husband has seen an actual human head come out of there (and all the things that follow) but still wants to have sex with me takes away any worries of embarrassment. No lack of shaving or anything else can be as bad as that, right?

However, while our sex life is great – in some ways better than pre-birth – we do have to work harder to make time for each other, which can mean sex is sometimes the last thing on our minds. We think it’s important for us to try different things to keep our spark alive.

But after almost seven years together, two years of marriage, one toddler, three miscarriages, career changes and everything else that comes with such a partnership, I have never been more sure of anything as I am that my husband and I will continue to have a great sex life, and always have the strongest of bonds with the most loyal love for each other.

As we know, sex is the one of the best way to communicate those feelings. And while it takes time to get there through the wilderness of postpartum, it will happen. And when it does, I promise you it is so worth the wait.

Have a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on ukpersonal@huffpost.com