AIBU to ask about your sex life post baby?

(48 Posts)
Needtoknowanonymously Wed 23-Nov-16 12:44:47

Name change to keep hidden!

I have an 18 Mo DD. She was 6 weeks premier and a reflux/policy baby, and her sleep was, and is, shocking - the longest stretch she's done since birth is 3 hrs, and I'm up usually every 2 hrs (good night) to 40 Mum (bad night) through the night. I've read and commented on some of the recent threads about sleep and that's not really what this is about, though obviously a major factor - for the record, we've tried and failed with sleep training and I'm still breastfeeding, a few times in the night and quite a lot during the day.
Birth was quite traumatic (when isn't it!) And I had 3rd degree tears, healed now though. DH was horrified by the whole thing. He works 12 hr shifts and has a long commute, usually works 10 days out of 14, so I do most of the childcare and housework. I was made redundant on mat leave so not at work yet. No near family help.
So here it is - we haven't had sex since DD was born. We're both exhausted and hardly see each other, I go to bed with DD at 7ish which is the only way I can function with the disturbed nights. I go between being too tired to care and being angry and resentful that a big part of our relationship has gone, terrified of what's going to happen to our marriage and not knowing how to change things. What I want to know is am I the only one going through something like this? AIBU about expectations post children - what is it really like for people? People have other babies, so once there is sex post children, but how do you find time/energy?! This sounds light-hearted but I'm actually bloody miserable and feel so stuck :-(

Needtoknowanonymously Wed 23-Nov-16 12:45:49

Premature not premier, auto phone correct

TheSparrowhawk Wed 23-Nov-16 12:52:06

Has he never done a night?

PeppaAteMySoul Wed 23-Nov-16 12:53:18

Oh OP I'm really sorry flowers.

Me and DP did go back to having sex quite soon after birth BUT I didn't tear and my DS was a fab sleeper early on. If I had experienced what you have I am sure it wouldn't be the same story. We are about to have DS2 and have both accepted our sex life might take a nosedive depending on the birth/ what kind of baby he is. I think a lot of having young children is about clinging on to each other and just getting through the storm. As your DD gets older her sleeping will probably improve and you will be less tired/ have more time to yourself. It's hard right now but all these things are just phases that will pass.
Have you spoken to your DH about your feelings? Just talking about it may help both of you.

mrstomriddle Wed 23-Nov-16 12:53:35

That all sounds so so incredibly difficult. I'm not surprised you're not having sex. The only way I can see this changing is if the sleep situation improves. But I don't know how you would do that given how bad the situation is. I know someone who is a 'sleep fairy' and it's their job to help families such as yourself. I don't know if that's something you'd be interested in.

Have you spoken about it together? Is there anyway you can get someone to look after DC so you can have some together time? I know that's not always possible, it isn't for us either.

mrstomriddle Wed 23-Nov-16 12:54:41

Oh and our sex life - pretty non existent at the minute, 3 DC under 4 and I've got PND.

user1471470316 Wed 23-Nov-16 12:58:17

I am an avid reader of MN, but have never posted - but read this and could have written this myself. I too, had/have a nearly two year old with dreadful reflux. For anyone who hasn't experienced it, they won't understand how debilitating it is and the huge impact it has on sleep. I know you said that this isn't a thread on sleep, but honestly, how many people truly are in the mood for sex when they are utterly exhausted? I hope you are having some support with the reflux... only once this is controlled and well managed, will you be able to implement sleep training. One coping mechanism for children with reflux is to feed a lot as it can ease pain. Try reading Alison Scott Wright on sleep training for reflux babies - and she also does Skype sessions to help you with a plan.

As to the sex...no sex is fine if both partners are happy, at like rabbits is fine if both partners are happy. Don't ask what you should be doing, ask each other what you both want at this particular stage of your relationship - if that's more sleep, rather than sex, then that's fine! If you are just barely coping getting through the day, then be kind to each other, reassure one another that you still love one another and find each other attractive. It's hard to think of a life beyond these (for some of us) extremely difficult months, but there is. In the meantime, talk to one another about how you feel about things... lots. Tell you love one another.. lots... be affectionate.. lots... just don't put yourselves under massive pressure to be swinging from the chandeliers.

If your relationship is strong enough, it will survive - I am testimony to that after having a poorly child, a major bereavement and unemployment all within 6 months. And no - there was pretty much no sex going on through that, let me tell you. Yes, we both miss that side of our relationship and yes, I have wondered how we can get back 'there'... but I know that I'm in it for the long haul and so is he and we'll figure it out together.

Wishing you all the best - and congratulations. 18 months of being up through the night, doing all the housework and childcare with no help. You are awesome. And so is your partner, for all the work he's doing too. Don't be too hard on yourselves.
x

RaaRaaTheLion Wed 23-Nov-16 12:59:27

Sex life is better than ever before but I'm also with DP who isn't DD'a arse of a father which has a lot to do with it.
DD is 2 on Saturday, was a traumatic forcep delivery with a lot of stitches ( too many, did me up too tight) and I didn't have sex for 8 months after she was born. We average 4/5 times a week, I think. DP works for the NHS and works 60 hour weeks and I work 40 hours a week.

FrankAndBeans Wed 23-Nov-16 13:00:38

I have 2 DD's under 4 and the youngest is 7 months. We still have sex at least four times a week, normally more. We started having sex a week or two PP but I didn't have any injuries.
You have to make time/space/energy. We have to be inventive with where as we co-sleep but it's do-able. The need to be close trumps tiredness normally. My youngest is EBF, and I'm up maybe five times in the night. I just have to fight through sometimes, I know it's easier said than done.

HmmHaa Wed 23-Nov-16 13:00:56

I would say it took a full year for me to have sex normally, without feeling different or careful. I had a straightforward birth with a full term baby, with internal stitches. We had tentative sex after the 6 week check (well, to be fair, if anyone called that actual sex I would be surprised!) just to get over the hurdle, if that makes sense. Then left it for a couple of months because, y'know, fuck that. grin

I had no libido whilst I breastfed, but enjoyed a bit of non penetrative stuff now and then, mainly for the closeness and the connection with our old life. I had PND (not very severe) and found adapting to the loss of our life as a couple v hard. This helped me feel like life would be normal again some day.

DD was (and for her age, still is) a terrible sleeper. It fucking ruins you, doesn't it? So sheer exhaustion got in the way of my libido as well. DH would have been business as usual, but let me get there in my own time.

So a year to feel the actual physical normality, but realistically 18months to having any kind of normal sex life. Even then, there is still a 'sex night' and the understanding that I am going to sleep straight after! Spontaneous, pre-baby sex is still MIA after 2 years, for the most part. But we have always been intimate to keep close.

Sorry, this is an essay! I just wanted to be honest because you can't talk about it in real life as openly, I am sure!

The rea saviour was a night away here and there. I took the support of people who would just have DD and put up with no sleep until we got back. It really, really helped to have a full night's sleep and then a morning together. Waking up in the same bed and just having a chat. If this is in any way an option, take it.

I think you are right to try to fix this. It's reconnection and protecting your marriage. Set aside an evening, beg a babysitter for even an hour, and talk to him.

Good luck x

sebashocked Wed 23-Nov-16 13:02:45

What sex life? (DS 2.5yrs)

peaceloveandbiscuits Wed 23-Nov-16 13:06:56

We didn't have enjoyable sex until DS was well over 1yo. I had birth trauma counselling because I was so traumatised I couldn't even look at or touch it myself, let alone anyone else. Also found when I was breastfeeding I was all touched-out by the time DS was asleep and just wanted to have my body to myself again.
It's completely natural not to feel ready for a long time. Don't worry about Mrs Jones down the road who was already pregnant by six weeks post-partum - she is the exception.
You will feel ready one day, and forcing it won't make you feel any better.

Crispyturtle Wed 23-Nov-16 13:14:36

OP I really feel for you. I had an emcs with our DD a year ago, she never had reflux but just the recovery from very painful surgery, breastfeeding which kills my sex drive, and the sheer exhaustion a baby brings with it meant me and DP have only just started having sex again in the last month. However, we did talk about it so we knew both were happy with the situation, and made an effort to kiss and touch to maintain some kind of physical intimacy. I don't think a break in sexual relations is a problem if the lines of communication are kept open, and things will get better one day.

Laiste Wed 23-Nov-16 13:16:48

I know you said the sleep issue is not what the thread is about OP, but it's hard to ignore that the root of the sex issue is clearly your DDs sleep pattern. Is she getting any treatment for the reflux? Is it still going on? Would weaning off the breast make night waking less attractive for her and encourage her to go through? It sounds like something has to change to break this pattern. Have you had a good heart to heart with DH about it all lately?

To stick with the actual question - i have 4 DCs and have never gone more than 6 weeks after the birth before resuming sex. DC1 i tore and had stitches but i healed within the 6 weeks and resumed then. DC2 and DC3 - no stitches - waited till the 5/6 week point because i thought i should. DC4 we were back at it at 2 weeks blush Gently of course! Sleep patterns of all DCs were different. I guess i have a high sex drive and find sex relaxing so even in the worst of times it was never less than twice a week. Not always in bed and not always at night.

Claireshh Wed 23-Nov-16 13:25:05

I had zero libido until I stopped breast feeding.

A friends little girl had dreadful silent reflux. I know how difficult it was. The previous poster that posted details for a sleep trainer for reflux babies sounds brilliant. It has to be worth a go. Sleep deprivation is utterly horrific.

This stage will pass I promise. The baby stage is lovely in some ways but the saddest thing is you are too knackered to enjoy it (in my experience anyway!)x

Name1234change Wed 23-Nov-16 13:27:21

That sounds really tough.
DS is 7.5 months and a fairly average sleeper (usually wakes twice, sometimes 3 times) so I'm tired but an ok sort of tired.
I also had a 3rd degree tear, though mine was only just a 3rd degree tear and is healing well. We've tried to have sex a few times and it's just been too painful, and we've managed to have sex a couple of times but it's still been fairly painful.
I don't really fancy it at all tbh, hopefully my libido will come back when I stop breastfeeding.

DH hasn't been pressuring me but it's more that I feel that it'll never be enjoyable again if we don't practise/let my nether regions get used to it again

ShyTallSun Wed 23-Nov-16 13:38:53

You're not alone. DS2 is almost 19 months, a SHOCKING sleeper and I spend most nights sharing a bed with him whilst DH sleeps snores in the marital bed. We haven't had sex but have the odd teenage grope! We're both OK with it as we know the kids will grow up eventually and we'll get 'us' back.

As PPs have said...as long as you're both OK with the situation, that's really all that matters.

Needtoknowanonymously Wed 23-Nov-16 19:57:34

Thank you all so much for posting. I would say you don't know how much it means to have some one listen and understand, but clearly you do and that's why you've taken the time to reply. Thank you.
I could never talk to anyone about this in RL and just writing it down has helped me step back and think more clearly. You are all so right about the sleep, need to do something. User1471... Thanks v much for that name, will definitely look into her - just when I was feeling I'd read the whole internet to no avail I clearly hadn't as not heard of her! DD is on medication, but I may need to go back to gp and HV (not much help beyond 'some just don't sleep well' but I should persevere). She has a good bedtime routine and falls asleep by herself so she can self settle, it's just she wakes so often and needs me to get her back off.
I also need to talk to DH. He has never done a night - but it's hard with him working and difficult as sometimes she just won't settle without a feed. He's also had a really shit few months as mil has had a terminal cancer diagnosis, which is why there's not much family support, my dps are 300 miles away and in-laws need a lot of support themselves. We haven't had much opportunity to talk about anything for a while, if I'm honest I miss that as much as the intimacy. But as you all show its not easy for anyone but you do manage to keep relationships going.
Anyway, I'm waffling - thanks for saying it is hard, most days I feel like a rubbish copy of my old self (I'd say shadow but still carrying the baby weight), useless and not even able to get my own daughter to sleep, but you're right, it is hard and I'm trying my best. Thanks for noticing that.

Me624 Wed 23-Nov-16 20:29:09

I have an 8 month old DS, fairly traumatic delivery with episiotomy and forceps. We first attempted it at 10 weeks and as a pp said that was mainly to get over the mental barrier of doing it! For context, we hadn't had sex since I found out I was pregnant! I didn't often feel like it and DH found it weird, so it had been pretty much a year!

I would say we now average around once a month ish but we also fairly often (once a weekish?) do non-penetrative stuff. I'd really recommend this as a starting point! I am generally too exhausted to contemplate doing it properly, by the time I get into bed I just want to sleep and the thought of even another half an hour awake for dtd is too much. But a quick hand job etc doesn't take too long and keeps us intimate and connected.

CazY777 Wed 23-Nov-16 20:44:40

Be kind to yourself OP, it's bloody relentless hard work without any local family to help (we are in the same boat). I felt like a rubbish version of my old self too, but starting to feel a bit better now that my dd is nearly two and sleeps a bit better (still not great but she does sleep for longer stretches now). Our sex life is still pretty non-existent, but we do make time for a cuddle and a chat so maybe that's a good starting point. Hope things get better for you soon.

Loafingaround Wed 23-Nov-16 21:01:25

We had sex for first time since DD was born 6 months ago, last weekend. She's still waking several times at night. its so so hard to factor sex/intimacy in around broken sleep/crazy work routines/serious fatigue and the madness of kids!
Can't even start to understand how anyone could feel emotionally, mentally or physically able to have sex a few weeks after birth (reading this makes me shudder and really hope those weren't pressured into it by their DH) nor how anyone with kids under 3 years old could actually be having sex more than twice a week absolute tops??! Bizarre.

OP- could you visit your parents and ask them to have DD for a night while you two went off to a nearby hotel for a weekend break perhaps? Or just stayed with them for a while to give you some extra support with DD and get some time to sleep in the day while they looked after her?

FrankAndBeans Wed 23-Nov-16 21:24:40

Can't even start to understand how anyone could feel emotionally, mentally or physically able to have sex a few weeks after birth (reading this makes me shudder and really hope those weren't pressured into it by their DH) nor how anyone with kids under 3 years old could actually be having sex more than twice a week absolute tops??! Bizarre.

I find it bizarre you couldn't imagine that. I had sex at 13 days PP, I was most definitely not pressured into it, it was my idea and it was just like normal for both of us physically, emotionally and mentally. I find the idea of not being intimate bizarre. We're all different, I couldn't be in a relationship where I had sex less than twice a week!

RainbowBriteRules Wed 23-Nov-16 21:39:11

After DC1 sex was uncomfortable for months, slowly got better (had had episiotomy) but only once a week or so and I wasn't that bothered. Upped to twice a week when ttc. After DC2 sex a bit uncomfortable but less so, again once a week or so.

Sex drive came back with a vengeance (I have had threads on here!) when DC2 was about 3. I'm still not entirely sure why it has come back so strongly as it is stronger than ever. However, I suspect it's related to the fact I am less tired and finally get a few hours to myself per week. If I was up 20 times a night I wouldn't be having sex either. I also would be expecting some help with night wakings.

Nan0second Wed 23-Nov-16 21:46:13

Agree the lady above is v helpful re reflux and sleep training.
Jay Gordon also does gentle night weaning which may also be useful in conjunction. Can your partner take annual leave for a few days and help with this. It's tough to do alone.
My libido struggled whilst breast feeding and I can't be horny and knackered so it's tough here but we are getting there.

tazo5153 Wed 23-Nov-16 21:49:21

I feel for you so much! I have had 2 children and 2 totally different experiences! With my first while pregnant if I wasn't throwing up all I wanted to do was have sex, and within 3 weeks of birth I was 'back on the horse' so to speak.

The second time round I literally had to summon the strength once during my pregnancy as the guilt was killing me and I really couldn't face it after she was born for months.

The first time even though I bf I didn't feel any different but with my second my libido was gone, I found as I bf less it started to come back, as soon as my cycle returned I was feeling more amerous (although let's be honest after pushing a person out of your hooha the whole idea of letting someone near it gets less appealing anyway!)

You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you! X

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