By Sue Glassey & Kathy Fray
Six Weeks is what all the experts say, even after a C-section. Boy was I ignorant, or is that gullible? However, believing what was written in unrealistic black in white, I decided to set about reclaiming my body, my husband, and my sex-life!
So, I rang up my mum, who lives two hours drive away. If I asked nicely “Please mum….I could breastfeed her at 7pm, then we could get to dinner by 7.30 – and if I express off two extra feeds this week, then you can feed her at 11pm before you go to sleep, and then you could get up 3am and give her another bottle”. I’m kidding myself. That was never going to happen … reality cruelly kicked in.
“Mum, how about I return to feed her at 11pm, then you could have her for the night?” Hopefully that would give my husband and me enough time to enjoy a leisurely restaurant dinner and maybe even a petite glass of wine, or two. Then we could race back to our motel and reacquaint ourselves with the process that caused this entire fracas in the first place. Oh, the blissful state of ignorance that accompanies being a first time mum.
Finally, the mood had been set, the lights are dimmed low, and the lingerie squished into … new of course, as none of my pre-baby frills could even stretch around one of my post-baby legs, let alone my lactational derrière. Be careful, be gentle … maybe a nice hot spa-bath will relax me? Feeling as scared as a virgin school-girl, all I could think about was pain, pregnancy, that cavernous birth-canal – and a description author Anne Enright wrote “It’s a wasteland down there. Women are awful liars”!
It was 18 months later, while paying the expensive bill of a specialist that I learnt a few more raw truths about the joys of motherhood – the body can’t go where the mind is not willing. Oh, I see … lacking libido protects the nurturing of our species; “biologically ready” only means you have stopped lochia bleeding; and breastfeeding produces hormones that make you drier than a river in the Sahara. I wasn’t a failure; it wasn’t my fault; I wasn’t abnormal! I could still have a great sex-life, eventually.
It would just take time, and patience, and an understanding husband. Yet the new baby, the lack of sex, the loss of my own self-worth, the huge sense of responsibility, and the fermenting postnatal depression; at that time was collectively enough to drive even the most understanding person away.
If your sex life bounced back within the recommended 6-8 weeks postpartum, well done you! But if you were like us, and at some deep subconscious level your body didn’t want any more of that potent sperm anywhere near your pelvic cavity, then just know you are not alone. Most of us felt that way, and it is actually quite normal and natural. For quite some time in our household, the only Sex in the City, was on TV with a mug of milo!
Then, slowly, with patience, libido returns, orgasms are celebrated, and hey presto, there’s two blue lines on a pregnancy-test stick. Here we go again…