When my husband and I were first intimate after our daughter was born, it was accompanied by a lot of heavy breathing — from the baby monitor.
That’s right. I left the baby monitor on because the only thing worse than having something bad happen to your baby is having it happen while you are otherwise engaged.
So we fumbled through the first postpartum event with baby Nicole snoring in the background and me interrupting every few seconds to say, “What was that? Do you still hear her?”
That first foray into our post-baby sex life was a pretty good indicator that our marital intimacy had forever changed. And I know I’m not alone in this. My girlfriends who are also mothers say their bedroom time with their spouses is different after kids, and that relations are much more sparse.
I’ve given my husband a multitude of explanations as to why a couple’s intimacy takes a nosedive after a baby joins the family: the woman is physically exhausted, the woman feels she needs more affection that doesn’t end with sex, the woman is mentally exhausted, the baby is screaming, the woman is worried or the woman is distracted by a rash on the baby’s bottom. As you can see, most of the excuses come from me.
But I read a novel explanation this week from columnist and sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D, on the “Today Show.” Post-baby sex lives may suffer, he hypothesizes, because women are actually having “affairs” with their babies. Basically, women turn all their love and attention to a new little baby, often leaving their husband out of the loop and out of luck.
But Kerner goes on to say that it’s important to balance out the love in the family. Parents who have healthy sex lives end up creating healthier and more balanced environments for their children.
So my question is, how can I restore that balance and restore some of the intimacy?
How did your life as a couple change after little ones joined your family? Any tips to keeping the passion alive while also being mommy and daddy?