If you’re a new mom, congratulations! You are embarking on one of the most satisfying, joyful adventures a human being can experience. It’s also one of the most exhausting, frustrating and all-consuming — so all-consuming, that the effort of parenting, especially for new parents, can leave little energy for the couple’s relationship, and even less energy for sex.
There are plenty of reasons why you may not feel sexy:
- Your body has changed. Only movie stars regain their pre-baby shape within weeks, and if you had a difficult delivery or a C-section, you may have some residual physical pain.
- You’re probably sleep-deprived. Most babies sleep for only a few hours at a time (some less than that), and getting an unbroken night’s rest is only a fantasy for new parents.
- If you’re breast-feeding, your breasts become baby-feeding devices rather than centers of eroticism. Breast-feeding can also suppress libido.
- You’re experiencing “demand exhaustion.” After meeting the needs of a helpless infant, you’re probably not motivated to meet the needs of anyone else.
- Unfortunately, research indicates that about two-thirds of couples are less happy with their relationship following the birth of a child, than they were before. Given that the best thing we can do for our children is to provide them with a happy home, it’s worthwhile to ask what the other third of parents — those who aren’t less happy — are doing differently.
- First and most importantly, they are nurturing the couple relationship. For them, becoming a family doesn’t replace being a couple.
- They are also sharing in both the joys of parenting and the burdens of household tasks, being sure that each parent has opportunities for rest and relaxation.
- Finally, they are expressing love through words and touch, especially non-sexual, affectionate touch.
Nurturing, sharing, and expressing love – in time, re-igniting the sexual connection can be an opportunity for both partners to maintain happiness as a couple, even after becoming a family.
Elaine Wilco is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 20 years of experience. She maintains a private practice in Alpharetta focused on helping those with intimacy issues. Follow her at facebook.com/IntimacyAtlanta.