Hey ladies! So... what about postpartum sex?!? No matter how many weeks postpartum you are, postpartum sex can feel like an exciting prospect (no baby belly in the way) or it can feel daunting considering your body isn’t the same after birth. I always laugh when people say that your body can pop back into shape after birth. It’s just not true. That’s not to say that you can’t find a happy medium and invest in your health and wellness to create the postpartum body that you love, because you can, but if you’ve had a vaginal birth no matter how “quick” your tissues heal they have taken a beating and need time to repair.
If you subscribe to traditional postpartum advice, you’ve been advised to avoid sex or “putting anything into the vagina” for at least 6 weeks. While I think that is a noble piece of advice, I do feel like it puts a little too much pressure on new moms to feel like they’ve got to be ready for sex at 6 weeks postpartum. Sounds contradictory, I know. “Avoid sex for 6 weeks and then happily have sex again” (a little paraphrase there). Maybe you’ll be ready, maybe you won’t.
Maybe your partner is counting down the days to the 6 week mark or maybe you’ve had a little rendezvous and sex happened at 2 weeks postpartum. Whatever the case may be, the point I want to make is that you don’t have to feel ready to have sex at 6 weeks postpartum. If you do, all the more power to you. I don’t want to get too personal here, but given the 3 + hours of pushing that I experienced during my birth, my tissues were shot. Bedrest for 6 weeks postpartum due to my elevated blood pressure certainly didn’t help either. Besides all that, since I was breastfeeding a lot lubrication and desire were a just a little bit of an issue.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t forgo sex altogether. I had sex and it wasn’t that exciting. It was ok. And then I had sex again and eventually my tissues started to heal and sex got better. BUT it was never the same. It was different and I had to learn to love my new body.
Since I had the joy of dealing with uterine prolapse after the birth of my son and daughter, I finally saw a surgeon. After describing the recommended surgery (which sounded horrible to me, given my preference for low intervention tactics), I asked the dreaded question... “What about sex after surgery?” My surgeon responded with the following: “It will be the new you. You’ll get use to the new you.” I thought, OMG what the hell does she mean by “the new you”?!? It didn’t really answer my question. Needless to say, I didn’t have the surgery and I’ve resorted to chiropractic care, acupuncture, and Chinese herbs to maintain the health of my pelvis and all that is housed there!
The point of my story is this, “You will get used to the new you.” My tissues were never as tight as they were pre-baby and they probably never will be. Maybe your perineum will heal up quickly and you’ll be ready for action. That’s great. I’m happy for you. But if you’re not, don’t beat yourself up. Women don’t talk about this stuff, do they? I’m pretty open about certain things, I’m a nurse after all, but no one talked to me about any of this stuff.
It’s like you’re supposed to birth a baby and then “get used to the new you” all on your own without feeling any trepidation, sadness, remorse, or loss. That’s unrealistic. Before you hop back into the sack with all the joys of breast milk leaking out of your boobs during orgasm, take a moment and give yourself some grace and some love and say the following: “I am beautiful and I am enough”. And before you get frustrated that your pelvis feels like it’s on strike, just breathe. Breathe into the new you.