Is There Sex After Motherhood?
By Susan Peach
If you're like many new moms, your sex life may have undergone some changes since the birth of your baby, especially if this is your first child. Sleepless nights, the added responsibilities, as well as hormonal adjustments can all contribute to a lack of sexual desire on the part of a new mom.
Many women also struggle with the apparent conflict between motherhood and sex. You may find it difficult to see yourself as a sexual being when you spend your days nursing the baby, changing dirty diapers, and planning how you're going to make it out of your housecoat before supper time!
It's wise to remember though, that while you may be preoccupied with baby care, your partner may be feeling left out of the new family relationship. And if you don't make an effort to spend time alone with your partner, he can feel even more left out. As a new mom you definitely have needs, but so does your partner. If you are to maintain a healthy relationship, you both need to work at letting each other know what you need, and be willing to work together to make sure each of you gets it.
But what do you do when more sex tops his list of needs but it's fallen off the bottom of your list altogether? One of the most important things you can do is realize that you may actually need to put some effort into reactivating your sex drive. What with raging hormones, a body that you may hardly recognize, and the constant preoccupation with all things baby, you may need to make a conscious decision to take action on the issue. Literally.
Believe it or not, getting active"as in exercise"is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and for your sex life as a new mom. Regular, moderate exercise has many other benefits of course, but it's interesting that all of these benefits can contribute in some way to improving your desire for, and your enjoyment of, the more intimate side of your relationship.
It's pretty safe to say that motherhood usually adds stress to a woman's life, and it's well known that most women just don't feel sexy when they're stressed. In fact, being in a constant state of stress can definitely lead to lowered sex drive for women. So it's important to your relationship that you learn to manage your stress level. The good news is that exercise is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to do that. Something as simple as a daily walk can improve your outlook in general, and help you feel more relaxed in the bedroom too.
Exercising moderately and regularly will also give you more energy. When you move your body and use your muscles, you build up strength and stamina that will help you keep up with the rest of your busy life. And if you're exercising regularly this should include your sex life too! That's because research shows that people who exercise generally have more sex than inactive people, and their enjoyment is greater too.
Finally, you will feel better about yourself when you exercise. Not only will you be taking the time to do something special just for you, you'll also be getting back in shape in the process. And there's no better boost to a new mom's self esteem than the day she can fit back into her pre-pregnancy clothes! As well, while you're out exercising your body is busy releasing endorphins into your system. These are the body's natural "feel good chemicals and they have an amazing ability to improve your mood (or maybe even put you in one!).
When it comes to exercise, the main thing is to choose an activity you enjoy. Whether it's a relaxing swim while a neighbour's teen minds the baby at poolside, a rousing game of tennis with baby snoozing on the shady sidelines (and well protected from any wayward balls of course!), or a brisk walk with another new mom, there are lots of creative ways to get or stay active with baby.
As a dance teacher, of course my favourite activity is dancing with baby. Not only is it good exercise and a de-stresser for mom, dancing will often put baby to sleep as well. In fact, any exercise that involves your baby (ie dancing together, mom and baby fitness classes, walking with baby) earns you bonus points... if you do the math on this you'll discover that one stress-free mom who has been exercising regularly, plus one sleeping baby, equals a great opportunity for mom to get reacquainted with her sex life!
About The Author
Susan Peach has over 20 years experience as a dance and fitnes instructor and is a mother of two teenagers. She is also the creator of Mambo Moms, a Latin dance based exercise DVD that helps new moms exercise and get back in shape while dancing with their babies. Find out more at www.mambomoms.com.