It’s 7pm, your newborn’s finally gone to bed and you catch sight of yourself in the mirror: you’ve got baby vomit on your shoulder, dirty hair and dark circles no amount of YSL/science can fix. You collapse in a heap on the bed, your poor, sleep-deprived mind and body aching for some sleep. Next, your equally delirious and sleep-deprived husband spots you lying on the bed and mistakes your prone form as an open invitation.
You’ve dozed off for a second, but wake with a start at his gentle caresses. “What are you doing?” you screech, all mad banshee. “I just need 10 minutes to myself!” Your rejected lover slinks into the kitchen, with only his beer to make love to. Sound familiar? You’re not alone – it can be extremely hard to locate your libido post-baby, when it’s often packed up along with your long-lost pre-baby abs and size 10 clothes.
And while your man’s deep, primal sexual desires may be largely unchanged post-baby, chances are, like most new mums, you’re suffering body image issues, an identity crisis and would much rather get some precious, much-needed sleep than swing naked from the chandeliers. So, how do couples rekindle the romance and rediscover their mojo, post-baby? Leading Australian sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein’s top three tips include:
Strike a balance
Reach out to family and friends for help whenever you can, whether it’s to find time to reconnect with your partner sans baby, even if it’s just for a quick meal, or some quality alone time. “You have to really, really work on intimacy post-baby and try to strike a balance between ‘me’, ‘sexy couple’ and ‘baby’ time,” Dr Goldstein says. “Get creative and plan ahead – women need to feel helped and supported to feel sexual. Try to find time to do something that makes you feel nice: a blow dry, manicure or a new outfit. Feeling nourished can switch a woman’s mood and make her feel more sexual – she may even initiate sex.”
Get real, girlfriend
It can be very hard to feel sexual and connected to your post-baby body, especially with armchair motherhood critics and Hollywood celebrities distorting our reality. “There’s incredible pressure on women to lose their baby weight and get sexual very quickly,” Dr Goldstein says. “Look at Kim Kardashian – she went into hiding post-baby so that people weren’t seeing the real Kim, with baby vomit down her front, greasy hair and with someone else looking after her child so she could exercise for hours every day. Post-natal depression is a very real and common problem – many women have a false sense of reality about what motherhood should be. So, get real and be gentle with yourself.”
Slow then fast, baby
Couples looking to set each other on fire between the sheets should start off slow post-baby, Dr Goldstein says. Try snuggling on the couch – reconnecting with your partner through non-penetrative intimacy. Then, once you’re both ready for more – turn up the heat and rediscover your sensuality via bedroom accessories, whether together or alone.
“All relationships should have Tengas: sexual aids,” Dr Goldstein says. “Male masturbation aids like Tengas can come in handy if women are sore post-baby. But sex toys for women are also an invaluable bedroom tool.” Pun very much intended.
By Nicole Carrington