How We Got Our Sex Life Back After Kids
Of all the things I was most surprised to find about motherhood, the way my sex life with my husband changed after having a baby was hands down the most shocking. And when I bring this topic up around other moms, many give a head nod and agree. Why did nobody prepare us for this?
Not only did I not foresee how difficult it would be to find the time or energy to have sex, but I also had ZERO idea that the hormones associated with postpartum and breastfeeding could affect my libido like they did! It wasn’t until I was a few months postpartum with our first child and I still had almost no desire for sex that I began doing research into the topic and discovered just how common this problem was.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t will myself to want intimacy with my husband, and by six months postpartum, this had created a series of issues between him and I. While he continually felt dissatisfied and rejected, I felt guilty and helpless, and although I prayed nearly every day for God to give me more desire for my husband, it felt like nothing was changing. Meanwhile, we could tell that our marriage was growing weaker, as well as the love and romance between us.
To tell you the truth, I was scared.
I was scared that I would never enjoy sex again. I was scared that I was being a bad wife. I was scared that I was going to have to force myself to have sex for the remainder of our lives or else my marriage would just crumble to pieces.
In my desperation, I decided to meet with a female mentor who I respected and admired and I ended up confessing to her what was going on in hopes she could offer some wisdom. Her response was some of the best marriage advice I have ever received. She said to me that she has found in her own marriage that anytime she didn’t have a desire for intimacy but she made it a priority anyway, her desire almost always followed — because God desires oneness for husbands and wives, too, and he honors our commitment to pursue it.
At the time, I wasn’t sure if I believed her.
Up until this point, I was mostly just having sex out of obligation (meaning whenever I got tired of my husband bringing it up). I had gotten used to hiding behind excuses: Too tired. Too messy. Not enough time. I don’t feel sexy. Because I often wasn’t in the mood, I loved finding ways to avoid having sex. But hearing what my mentor was saying made me think. Is it possible that making sex a bigger priority, regardless of my mood or how I was feeling, could really be the answer to my lack of desire?
I decided to take her wisdom seriously and begin applying it to my life, first by starting with confronting those excuses I had been so used to using, and what I found was surprising. Not only was I enjoying it more over time, but I was even more willing to initiate sex even when my husband wasn’t expecting it!
And that’s when I uncovered the biggest truth of all.
It will always be tempting to make excuses for why you can’t have sex, but it’s worth it to find the reasons you can.
I came to realize that even if I had the best reasons in the world for why we shouldn’t or can’t have sex, there were always other options. For every excuse I had, there was an opportunity to think creatively and come up with solutions — solutions that would make us both happy and make intimacy a priority once again.
One excuse I used frequently was that I was too tired and we didn’t have time, especially when my husband was working night shifts. And to a degree, both of these things were true! After caring for a demanding, dependent baby all day, I was exhausted by the time evening rolled around, and my husband was always going into work just an hour or two after the baby went to sleep.
But what I really should have said was that I was too tired and we didn’t have enough time to have sex at night. Because the truth is, we didn’t have to only try to have sex in the evening. And once I wrapped my head around this, things in our house began to change. We started utilizing our daughter’s nap times on the weekend and having sex first thing in the morning after my husband got home from work. And it worked for us! Because not only was it realistic for the season we were in, in which our time was very limited, but it was also appealing to the both of us, which meant sex was happening way more often. Win-win!
Seeing how we were able to reach a solution regarding the timing of sex inspired me to brainstorm ways to solve my other problems too. If I didn’t feel sexy enough to have sex, I bought myself new sexy underwear and flattering sleepwear. If I wasn’t enjoying the positions we were using, I asked if we could try new ones. If I knew I wouldn’t want to have sex after getting clean in the shower, I made sure we had sex before (or IN) the shower! Once I decided I was willing to do whatever it takes to make oneness a priority (instead of treating it like a drag), our frequency of intimacy increased, as did my desire. Just as my mentor predicted, we reaped rewards from my obedience.
If you are struggling in your sex life, I want you to know that you are not alone. Especially after having a baby, sex can be a difficult thing to navigate — even if you’ve been married with a healthy sex life for years!
What I most want you to take away from my story is that there is hope and that the hurdles when you are facing when it comes to being intimate with your spouse can be overcome and that it is important to actively seek to overcome those things.
Is there grace for the new mom who just had a baby and really doesn’t feel ready to get back at it in the bedroom? Of course!
Ephesians 5:28 says to husbands that they ought to love their wives as their own bodies, and just like a man probably wouldn’t push himself physically after experiencing a serious ordeal with his body, a man should love his wife in respecting that she may need time after having a baby to recuperate both physically and emotionally before jumping right back into the swing of things.
But at the same time, there is wisdom in 1 Corinthians 7:4-5: “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
There is an enemy who would love to get between us and our spouses, and one of the first courses of action I believe we all ought to be taking when we are experiencing distance or tension with our spouse is taking a look at what’s going on in our sex lives and how we can pursue intimacy and oneness once again.
We are told in John 10:10 that "the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy,” and this is certainly true for our marriages today. All the more reason to take seriously Scripture’s commands for husbands and wives to be ONE. If there is something standing in the way of us being one with our spouses, it needs to be addressed so that our marriages are protected from the enemy’s schemes and also honoring God’s intentions.
My sex life in my marriage is far from perfect, but I am happy to say that it’s far better than it was back then. Even after the birth of our second child, we have continued to pursue one another and make intimacy a priority, and to my surprise, my sex drive is still very much alive! This time around it hasn’t gone anywhere and I am so incredibly thankful.
One thing that has helped my husband and I maintain our connection and intimacy is that we make sure we are in communication with one another about our hopes and expectations regarding sex. These conversations ensure that we are on the same page and are hearing each other’s hearts. It’s what keeps our sex lives healthy and at the forefront of our marriage.