It is a truth universally acknowledged having a baby changes things in the bedroom. Even before I had my first baby, I’d heard the horror stories – intimate moments thwarted by crying infants or curious toddlers, partners inhibited by yours, mine and ours breast confusion and romantic moods generally dampened by post-baby body-image woes.
So as I prepared for motherhood, I expected the same unwelcome changes in my own sex life. I have to be honest – in those early days, being intimate was difficult. Constant sleep-deprivation, combined with sore breasts and little time to shower, certainly did diminish my libido. As our children got a bit older, my husband and I realized our sexual relationship, despite its challenges, had actually gotten better since having kids.
It may seem counterintuitive (and I admit this may not work for everyone) but we found in order to keep our intimacy a priority, we had to plan for sex. We picked one night of the week when we would definitely be intimate (allowing for spontaneity at other times, as our energy level allowed). I found knowing ahead of time we’d be having sex that evening helped me feel more romantic. On those days, I made showering a priority and tried to spend more time on my appearance. Anticipating our time together reduced the anxiety of trying to get in the mood when I was tired or worrying about my husband’s arousal if I hadn’t shaved my legs that day (or week!). We also both knew, even though we might not be having sex as often as we’d like, we were still keeping it a priority.
At the same time, we found a renewed joy in the “quickie.” Being exhausted most of the time with limited free time away from the kids, we had to look for brief interludes when we could. While these stolen moments may have lacked finesse or creativity, they helped solidify our relationship and keep us connected.
After becoming a mom, I grew in my self-confidence (being in MOPS was a big part of that!), which included how I felt about my body. Despite the often unwelcome physical changes having kids brought to my body, becoming a mom increased my self-awareness and my self-esteem. Being more confident about myself trickled into the bedroom as well, empowering me to become a more equal partner with my spouse instead of letting him initiate or set the tone most of the time. I discovered my husband loved when I initiated sex!
My growing self-confidence also empowered me to talk more with my husband about our sex life. Even though we’d been married a while, honestly discussing our needs, wants and dislikes in the bedroom didn’t come naturally. But we recognized true intimacy was important to our marriage, especially at this stage of life, so we pushed through the awkwardness and began having some frank discussions. The more open we were, the more we both were able to be satisfied.
So I found parenthood did bring changes to my sex life, no question. But I also discovered not all the changes were unwelcome.
Jolita Peterson is a former MOPS Volunteer Staff who currently lives in Yorkshire, England with Dana, her husband of 20 years, and her kids Sofia (13) and Nathan (10). Her favorite thing about living in Yorkshire is seeing fields of sheep surrounded by stone walls! She blogs about their England adventures at musingsfromthemoors.wordpress.com.