What no one tells you about sex after pregnancy

BY PENDA HONEYGHAN

Monday, April 30, 2018

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GETTING intimate with your partner again after giving birth may be the last thing on your mind, but it's a reality you will have to face sooner rather than later, as soon as the doctor gives you the all-clear. And even then you may feel squeamish about going there again, especially if you had a difficult pregnancy and birth, and fears of getting pregnant again as well as how you look and how you feel consumes you.

It's not a topic that many discuss — indeed many women would want to imagine that their partners will still find them attractive, that they'll still feel the same, and that their bodies won't betray them. But the fact is, pregnancy and childbirth alter both the physical and mental, and when it's time to get back into rhythm there are sometimes surprises, as the women below share.

Sharon, 34, sales assistant:

I found out that I experienced a lot of dryness after giving birth. Maybe it was because we were so excited and didn't spend enough time on foreplay, but we had to go back to foreplay, with added lubricant, when we tried again.

Michelle, 41, business owner:

You know how some women say they don't want to get pregnant because they are afraid that sex won't be as pleasurable once they've had a baby naturally and lose some elasticity? I am sure that it is nothing but a myth because things were pretty different in my case. It almost felt as though I had to get used to my husband all over again. He realised the change too, and we became more excited and had sex more frequently.

Annakay, 27, entertainment coordinator:

One thing that happened was that sex was very painful, even up to four months later. When I finally felt better, though, I still lied about it to my boyfriend so I could rest some more. I just didn't have the energy — dealing with the baby and trying to manage my life as well. It was a well-needed rest and my boyfriend and I worked on our intimacy, which was good for our relationship.

Vivian, 37, restaurant manager:

We were on life support, honestly. I had no desire and it made it very difficult for my partner after my last child. I had to force myself and put on a show and it didn't take much for my partner to realise what was happening. We struggled before I eventually started having urges — like a year later. But when that happened I had urges all the time and just couldn't be satisfied.

Angie, 31, hairstylist:

I was so embarrassed about my body after pregnancy that the only person I would allow to see me naked was my mother. I had a Caesarean section and so I was in need of assistance caring for myself for a few weeks. I realised that I also had no desire for sex and part of it was because I couldn't see why my husband would want to touch my huge, stretchmark-filled body. For the first time in my life, I felt ugly. When I finally gave in I made sure the lights were off. But he treated me with so much love that the experience made me realise even more how much he loved me. Over time he helped me to feel better about myself and I think our sexual connection and love, in general, grew stronger.

Patrice, 26, administrative assistant:

I did not want to be touched at all, and every time he would try, my skin would crawl. I remember whenever he did, I would just get up and tell him that I still needed time. I finally gave in once after about two and a half months. Surprisingly, it was good. I was scared to death that I would have lost some elasticity, and that it would be painful, but that didn't happen.

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