Claire and Bronwyn birthed their first child nine months ago, and have lived to tell the tale. Perhaps unsurprisingly, your body, mind and relationships go through all sorts of changes after welcoming a baby to the world. Claire shares with us her experiences of sex, sexuality and sensuality after childbirth.
How did you feel physically after giving birth?
It took what felt like a long time to be physically healed. I was lucky not to have had any haemorrhaging or infections postpartum, but I just felt very sore and I guess unsexual. I had a vaginal delivery, so we were advised not to have, really, any sort of sex for about a month after the fact. That was pretty easy for me as to be honest, sex was the last thing on my mind. Bronwyn, I think, suffered a bit during this time - albeit very politely and quietly [laughs].
How did you feel emotionally after giving birth?
I definitely didn’t leap into bed the moment our doctor gave us the green light to have sex. really wasn’t feeling like sex for months. The whole experience is very overwhelming. The sexual intimacy in our relationship came back incredibly gradually, starting from just cuddling and caressing, and working up over months to touching each other and actually having sex to climax. It was almost like dating again [laughs]. Bron understood - I mean, she witnessed the birth and saw how physically traumatic it was for my body. I think she was unsurprised that I needed to take time to heal.
Did the types of sex (if any) that you were having change after giving birth?
It took a while for us to get back on the horse. Only when the bleeding and discharge stopped, and we got the all clear from the postpartum appointment... that’s when we started having sex again, and extremely gently at first. I didn’t feel like being penetrated by anything - even a finger - for probably four or five months, so we kept it very ‘exterior’ for the most part for a long time.
Any tips for soon-to-be parents about sex after childbirth?
Yeah actually, I have two. One is, be ready to talk to your partner. Even more than you already do. Like, about everything. Your body is sore and changes, your hormones are going wild, you get sensitive, and needy...sometimes I’m sure Bron felt like she was caring for two babies. I don’t know how you can survive something like that if you don’t have a direct and honest line of communication.
The second was a surprising discovery for me as I hadn’t really used it - or needed to use it before, but I discovered the magic of lube. If you’re about to have a baby, trust me, buy some lube. Even though we weren’t really having penetrative sex, I was really self conscious of how dry I was. It was just different, and actually making me kind of sad and lowering my sex drive. Lube was a game changer. And while we don’t “need” to anymore, we still use it.