Begging for help

I’m deeply enmeshed in Isa’s six month to one year photo book. I always planned to work on is this week. What I didn’t plan was Shutterfly’s big sale, which ends Wednesday. So I need to finish our book, the abbreviated family version (of which multiple copies will be made) and the calendar by Wednesday, preferably by Sunday as the beginning of next week is kind of crazy.

Shutterfly has changed their photo book service. Now you have pretty much complete control over what you create. You can change layouts, adjust the sizes of the photo spaces, move them, delete them, add text, add stickers – it’s bascially super awesome. And super time intensive. It’s taking me ages to get through the book. Of course I’m uploading 200+ photos for every month, but still. It’s going to look sooooooooooo awesome when it’s done.

The calendar shouldn’t take too long but I know it will. I need to work, work, work until this is all done. For this reason I won’t be posting much on my blog for a couple of days, though there might be some fun pictures tomorrow.

In the meantime I need to beg for some help. Next month I’m writing my first piece for the mothers group publication that I’m copy editing for. It’s an 800 word reflection on a specific topic. The issue is about sex and my topic is sex after baby – most specifically the first time you have sex after birth. I offered to do it at my first ever magazine meeting. When they brought up the piece no one said a word. It was like crickets. I’ve always been so comfortable speaking about sex (I attribute that to my liberated college roommates and the feminine sexuality class they encouraged me to take in college) so I felt I’d be a good person to tackle the subject. Also, an 800 word reflection piece is a great way to show them what I can do (researched features still terrify me).

Of course now that I have a couple weeks to write the piece I’m totally flailing; I have NO IDEA what to write. So I’m asking all of you. When you were approaching the fateful first post-birth sexual encounter what did you want to know? If you haven’t experienced that yet, what do you think you’d want to know if you were in that position? Should I tackle the physical aspects or the emotional? Should I try to touch on both?  If you have any specific recommendations of what I should do please feel free to share them.

Really, any help you can give will be much appreciated.

I hope you’re all having a restful long weekend filled with tasty leftovers.

9 responses

  1. I think physical AND emotional. I’m still breastfeeding, and since I’m at home, too, honestly, by the end of the day, I don’t want physical contact with anyone. I’ve had a human being pretty much ON me all day long, and I really need some personal space … the physical and the emotional intertwine. Yes, I have a sex life. But it’s certainly not what it was! And I think that’s OK, as long as you have open communication with your partner, and other ways of being intimate. I think the most important thing to know is that things change, and that the change is to be expected, and planned for. I think that the first time after birth is also a physical/emotional thing, but to me the more long-term issue of dealing with a child and a sex life is something I think I’d rather hear about! 🙂

  2. I think this is not the most common experience, but maybe it’ll add some variety to your article: Most articles talk about not feeling quite ready 6 weeks after the baby is born, or feeling like you’re body is functional instead of sexual now. I had a c-section, so I wasn’t sore down there or anything. K and I felt that having a new baby was so stressful already, and not being able to have sex was just making it more stressful for us. After 2 and a half weeks we gave in and just did it. I wasn’t bleeding anymore, so we figured why not? It was fine. Although when I told the midwife at my 6-week appointment, I got scolded a little.

    Another time, though, maybe the second or third, I remember being interrupted because J woke up. And it really hit me that my life wasn’t mine anymore; that whatever I was in the middle of, I had to stop it and be 100% Mommy, right away. I felt so fake crooning “it’s okay, it’s okay sweetie” when really I was wishing I was back in bed with my husband (now when that happens, we just pick back up afterward right where we left off).

    I’d be really interested to see what you end up with (and the other comments on this post).

  3. My experience was almost identical to Deborah’s above. I do, however, realize thats atypical. What I didn’t realize that I woukd actually want sex after giving birth. I thought I’d have no interest. But for me it was opposite – I wanted it more than ever before … And that has carried over into 15 mos PP.

  4. I am with Justine- definitely both physical and emotional. My understanding is that one of the most pervasive barriers to re-establishing a post-baby sex life is the absence of female libido. Drawing from my circle of friends, sleep-deprivation, breastfeeding hormones and discomfort with a body that may not snap back to perfect shape overnight are the major reasons that libido is affected.

    I hope (and sincerely believe) that my particular circumstances were a bit outside the norm (grief, postpartum anxiety, colic, pretty extreme sleep-deprivation). In my case, I just didn’t even want to think about sex for a long time so the first time after birth (I think we are talking like 4-5 months after!) was not greeted with enthusiasm. Fortunately, I don’t remember it being painful (waiting half a lifetime probably helped with this) but it was not wonderful either.

  5. so many aspects to consider: emotional and physical, yes, but I think logistical is important too.

    I agree about lower libido being an issue, for many of the reasons slowmamma says. I had a c-section with major surgery and there’s no way I could have found a comfortable position before about 5 weeks, and even then I doubt it. plus I was downright exhausted and my nipples were sore — the last thing I wanted was someone ELSE touching them too. BUT I was on pelvic bedrest for over 2 mo before birth, so an orgasm would have been nice earlier. aside from that, I did want the intimacy and contact because it had been so long.

    but there’s also the logistical issue with breastfeeding, babywearing and co-sleeping. I hate to admit it, but the first time we had sex after, I was nursing the baby. is that weird? wait. don’t answer that.

  6. First off, good luck with your photo projects! I am very familiar with how much fun and time intensive making photo calendars, books, collages and video montages are… I am working on a number of family calendars (I give them as Christmas gifts annually to my parents, sister and family and in-laws) and a collage (for my nieces) right now too, but have given up on getting them done in time to take advantage of the big sales over the next few days! 🙂

    As for your article about postpartum sex… I echo everyone else’s sentiments in many ways. I definitely would cover both the physical (it was painful for me the first time after birth and knowing it was after the first time, made me more fearful after subsequent pregnancies, when it was also painful) and the emotional (I too was nursing, sleep deprived, hormonal, lacked libido, etc.). I also had a c-section, which was a bigger deal after our first, as the subsequent ones were easier recoveries for me physically (since the area around my scar got more numb with each delivery).

    Also, I don’t know if it is appropriate to mention in your piece, but those of us that have dealt with infertility and/or loss, have additional emotional baggage that plays into our feelings about having sex after the birth(s) of our children. The idea that we have to worry about using protection (just in case) after all the years we had trouble conceiving and sustaining pregnancies has always felt like some kind of sick joke to me. Then there is the whole connection I make between the act of sex and trying to get pregnant for so many years (like it is some kind of conquest). Also, when there is a loss there is so much wrapped up in post-loss sex too (no matter how far along in our pregnancies we were when our babies died).

    Obviously this topic struck a chord with me, but I know the focus is not our ALI Community’s experience, but more so that of those who experience more “normal” conceptions, pregnancies and births.

    I hope this was helpful. Can’t wait to read your piece and hear how your photo books turn out! 🙂

  7. Oh Shutterfly how I love and hate thee both at the same time. I gave up with the new photobook creating and went back and edited the old (classic) ones with new pictures and layouts. I didn’t have the time or patience to mess with the new program. But it does look really cool. I am going to get started on next year’s ones as soon as the holidays are over.

    I may be in the minority but we have no sex life. Zero, zip, nada. We conceived the boys in Feb 2009 and have had sex once since then. Nav deployed for 4 months shortly after the positive test and returned to a very pregnant with twins wife. He wasn’t interested in sex for the remainder of the pregnancy. I was but the logistics just weren’t feasible. And then twin newborns really sucked the interest right out of me. They were cosleeping. I was pumping. Sex was never on my mind. The one and only time was when they were ~19 months old, about a 27 month hiatus. It was not good but most of that was emotional. Nervousness. Worried about them waking up, which they did. And we haven’t tried again since.

    I have a huge libido problem so I know that’s a factor. I need to go for my well woman exam soon and need to see what can be done for me. But neither one of us really initiates physical intimacy. It’s never been a big part of our marriage/relationship. I’m honestly at a loss as to how to rekindle the flames so to speak.

  8. Oh man, my baby is 10 months old and we’ve had sex maybe 4 times. I have no desire and it is excrutiatingly painful. Have been to the doc and I don’t have a real problem, though the lack of lube from breastfeeding probably doesn’t help. My biggest tip is ASTROGLIDE (NOT KY). I was so terrified the first time (7 weeks PP) that where I was stitched up would rip. One way to get around that fear is to go slow – start with putting one finger in, then two, before trying the real deal (not necessarily in the same night!).

  9. wanted to add something to my comment – my childbirth was extremely painful, and I think that added (adds?) to my fear about sex after childbirth. not sure what the solution for that is, other than time (passing) and tenderness!

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