Q. We’ve recently had a baby and I have no desire for sex. We used to have an active sex life but now, sex is the last thing on my mind! I don’t want my husband to feel neglected but I really don’t want to have sex right now. What should I do?
A. This is a common occurrence for many couples. Your body is going through significant changes during the postpartum stage. Your lack of sex drive is a primal response to motherhood. Your body knows that you just birthed a baby and wants the baby to survive. Therefore, your sex drive is purposely low so that you can focus on your baby through attention, nurturance, touch, breastfeeding (if you are doing so), skin to skin contact. Biologically, your body is still working to normalize and restore your hormonal balance. While birthing a baby can be a beautiful experience, it is also traumatic to a woman’s body. By trauma, I don’t mean a negative event, but an event that is outside of the norm for what your body experiences on a day to day basis. Your body needs to heal from this event. Emotionally, you may experience a full range of feelings (sadness, love, anger, joy, peace, confusion, anxiety, depression) in regard to your baby and adjusting to being a mom.
The standard medical practice advises waiting at least six weeks after birth to have sex but most women report needing at least four months before considering sex, primarily due to exhaustion and adjustment to motherhood. It’s important to check in with your husband to see how he feels. Let him know that you want to feel sexual and you are working on that. It might be helpful to let him know what he can do to help you get your spark back (but that initially, he should not expect too much from you). That can range from letting you sleep in, take a stress-free shower, bringing you flowers… whatever might work for you. Be patient with yourself, it will come back.