After a brief search on Google, I realize I’m not the only woman to lose any and all desire for intimacy after having a baby. My husband however is not as sympathetic. Our first child is now 7 months old and has slept in our bed since coming home from the hospital, so that puts a kink in our bedroom life should any desire actually strike me. My father and older brother also share our home, so that takes out sneaking to another room while baby is napping. I’m at a loss as to what to do. My husband is becoming more depressed (and the cold winter months aren’t helping either). Every time I think, “Well maybe we can sneak down to the basement and lock the door while baby’s sleeping…” when that time rolls around, I’m still not in the mood and I have laundry/dishes/other things to do. How have other new parents overcame this problem? I know we do because families have more than one child!
What you’re going through is totally normal, but it sounds like you have some extra challenges - having to sneak around a baby is pretty easy, but two male relatives… that complicates things. It seems like your best opportunity to reconnect is alone in your bedroom, but if your baby is always in your bed, then that’s obviously not going to happen.
Do you have a crib in another room you can use temporarily? Even a pack and play in your room? Post baby, you have to consciously clear away space in your life for your marriage to have a place to thrive.
I’m totally sympathetic to your lack of desire - who has time for sex when you can possibly take a nap?! But your life will be a LOT easier if your husband is happy, and I find that a lot of men equate physical affection with love. He’s probably already feeling a little jealous of all the attention your new little person gets, which is very understandable. It’s a tough adjustment for everyone. But it does get easier over time.
Be forgiving with yourself - it’s not unusual for your sex life to be screwed for the first year with all the changes to your body, your home, your life - but be kind to your husband. If you really can’t muster the energy to fool around, at least work in some kisses, hugs, and kind words every day. Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with feigning interest or lowering expectations. I got through the first year with my marriage intact by being really honest but as generous as I could: Listen, I’m so not in the mood and I am falling asleep in exactly 10 minutes. But I’ll give you a beej if you want.
I have a two year old and a second on the way, so I’ve thought & read about this topic a lot! Two of my favorite pieces of advice:
- Your kids will need you less and less and eventually leave. If you want your spouse to be there when they’re gone, make your marriage a priority now.
- This one, from a scarymommy guide to surviving the toddler years, is good to repeat to yourself when you want to divorce your husband because he didn’t think to empty the dishwasher: You don’t hate your spouse, you just hate your life.
Good luck, it gets easier, and a little effort (and a lot of kind honesty) goes a long way!
Great advice, Lindsay! I would second that you should try having another place where you can move the baby after he falls asleep - if you don’t have a bassinet or a pack and play, just a soft area on the floor could work. Then you can bring him back to your bed the first time he wakes up. Maybe it will even help to transition him out of your bed when all of you are ready! There’s nothing wrong with making love with a baby in the room. I’ve done it a lot of times and they’re completely oblivious.
This isn’t an everyday solution, but maybe to help you get back into intimacy, you could leave your baby with your relatives for the evening and go to a hotel? Not for the whole night, but for a few hours. You just tell them you’re going out for dinner and movie, obviously.
One thing I’ve read and confirmed in my own experience is that women have less and less interest in sex when it’s been a long time since they’ve had sex, and they have more interest when they have sex frequently. It may be that sex seems unappealing now, but that once you get back into it, you’ll realize that you do like it again, after all. Even if you don’t have much interest, you should still make a point of offering lovemaking to your husband every 7-10 days at a minimum. You don’t want him to feel like you don’t care about him anymore, or that you are no longer a wife, just a mother.
On the other hand, if he’s really depressed, don’t blame yourself or think that sex will solve his problems. It might be bigger relationship problems, like if he never gets any time with you because of the baby and the relatives, or it might be something going on at work, or adjusting to fatherhood. Maybe he has Seasonal Affective Disorder and needs Vitamin D supplements or time with a sun lamp. You should try to have a good conversation with him about how he’s feeling and what you could do to help, and send him to a doctor if he’s truly depressed.