Stitches and sex after childbirth.
If you are prudish, stop reading here… we are embarking on the number 1 taboo subject… sex (said in hushed tones).
Your pre-pregnancy, perinatal and postnatal sex lives will be undoubtedly completely different, and I found that our relationship needed to adapt to these changes within a short timeframe… just 9 months.
Pre-pregnancy, we had an active, enjoyable sex life… more fun than I’ve described, promise! We had no responsibilities, bundles of time and we were full of energy… we didn’t understand what true sleep deprivation was.
So, we had a lot of sex.
Then I fell pregnant…
Inevitable when you think about it.
And our sex lives changed.
I suffered severe morning sickness and later, pelvic girdle pain whilst pregnant which dramatically reduced my sex drive.
I also became huge… baby and chocolate to blame! Once you stop being able to fully participate and feel more like a beached whale, you don’t feel particularly sexy or desirable.
Towards the end of pregnancy, sex was a rarity except on my due date to attempt to induce labour… and 12 days later she arrived, so clearly it worked… sense the sarcasm.
After 22 hours of labour and a shit load (pardon the pun) of pushing, my vagina was so traumatised, I thought I would never want sex again.
You are advised to wait 8 weeks anyway, not really a lifetime!
Now it is certainly true that I did not think about having sex for a while. In fact, the pain below, plus my stitches made me scared of sex after birth and until it didn’t hurt to pee or poo anymore, I thought we’d never have sex again.
I want to linger on this point for a moment.
After a vaginal birth, of course you will be fearful of anyone or anything going down there!!!
I had 2nd degree tears and was stitched. It did feel weird (not so much painful) to pee and I was terrified of washing with shower gel and just pointed the shower head in that direction for fear of pulling my stitches out… I had heard some horror stories.
Also, my pelvic floor muscles were non-existent and so I figured I needed to sort myself out, and be a Mum, before we re-introduced sex.
It didn’t take as long as you think.
Within a month your vagina may have begun to feel like it’s healed and you may even have got your head around Motherhood (slightly).
You may even have had SOME sleep.
What surprised me the most… my sex drive was back, with a vengeance!
We waited until the recommended 8 weeks and even though I was scared of sex after birth, I was counting down the days. I was excited for sex and I didn’t think I’d feel like that again.
Ultimately, I’d missed sex… but even more than that, I’d missed being ‘us’. I missed the closeness, the time when you could be the only two people in the world… or more (no judgements on preferences here).
No more soppy stuff…
I was apprehensive to say the least, but the first time felt different. Not painful but just like there was more room…sex after birth feels loose… EW!
I definitely needed to do more pelvic floor exercises.
The most important factor, it did not hurt! Even after that many stitches!
I was so relieved that sex was something we would be able to enjoy again.
A year on, we have the best sex we’ve ever had.
Unfortunately, we don’t always have the time or energy to have sex as much as we used to but when we do make time for it, it is better because we are closer now. Becoming parents has made us closer.
It doesn’t happen this way for everyone and it is not to say that it comes without hard work, or that we will be in this place forever, but we do place importance on time for us and time for sex.
There is the added issue of my new ‘Mum bod’ and overall lack of body confidence and how that has affected our sex lives, but that is a whole other blog post to come!
Regardless of what the future holds for our sex lives and no doubt I’ll let you know, sex after childbirth for the first-time really is not as bad as you think.
Just remember, do your pelvic floor exercises…it makes all the difference!!!