Sex, Libido, and the Baby
Pregnancy affects the body in a variety of ways. Decreased libido is often a problem for pregnant women (and therefore a problem for their husbands). Humans may have recreational sex, but the biological point of sex is to procreate. When pregnant and breastfeeding, your body knows it’s already in the process of doing just that and libido often drops. A quick look at the Parenting.com forums will demonstrate that this is a really common issue among couples with new babies. Even Detroit 1-8-7 recently had a bit on this. One of the main characters just had a baby. It’s been five months or so, and he still hasn’t had sex with his wife. His coworkers offer him all sorts of advice, from fancy dinners to porn videos to Kama Sutra. None of these are necessarily going to change the fact that his wife’s hormones are making her care less about sex at the moment.
As for myself, during pregnancy I not only had zero interest in sex, but the one time we tried it turned out to be extremely painful. When I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes I had to get a weekly ultrasound to check on the amniotic fluid levels. My ultrasound lady always checked my cervix at that time via a probe, and the damn procedure hurt like hell. One of the perks when I got my epidural during labor was that I wouldn’t have to feel the dilation exams. I was worried I’d never get back to normal, but when I braced myself for pain at my six-week postpartum I was amazed to find that I barely felt my doctor poking around at all.
Around Christmas we tried having sex (first time postpartum). We didn’t get very far. It was painful again. Nothing like the pain I had during pregnancy though. Maybe I just need to stretch out or something. It’s frustrating. I’m still breastfeeding full-time so I have zero interest in sex to begin with; adding potential pain on top of that does nothing to rekindle my interest. I’ve been taking care of my husband in other ways, but it’s just not the same.
Back when I was pregnant on the job I happened to meet a customer with two young children. When I asked how far apart she’d spaced her babies, she exclaimed “Don’t believe what they tell you about getting pregnant and breastfeeding! It does nothing!” Her first child was five months old when she became pregnant again, and she complained that it was “like having twins.” Breastfeeding usually does protect against pregnancy, but you have to be breastfeeding exclusively for it to really be effective. This woman got pregnant around the same time that you’d start offering solids, so it makes sense.
Originally I wanted to space my children out 2-3 years, just like my parents did. However, I started a little later than I’d hoped so now I feel like I have to pump them out before I get past my prime. Our plan is to start trying again when V is a year old. That should make them roughly two years apart. Even if we’re not really having sex right now, I wanted to get on the pill so we could leap back into it as soon as I was ready. I’m currently on the mini-pill. Regular pills can interfere with milk production, but the mini-pill contains only one of the hormones and a smaller dosage of it. I love it because it means no periods for a year! Still, one of the side-effects I get from the mini-pill is decreased libido. I always found it annoying that the pill decreases my desire to do the very thing that makes me want to take it in the first place. I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not to just stop taking it and so far I’ve stuck with it. I have forgotten to take it a few times. It’s on my nightstand so in theory I always remember to take if before bed. Because the mini-pill is mini, it needs to be taken like clockwork to be effective. The few times I’ve forgotten I’ve always remembered in the morning when I woke up. As we’re not having sex it’s not like it matters…yet.
Friday I forgot to take my pill, and I didn’t remember until Saturday night. I stood there, staring at my pack of pills, and finally decided “fuck it!” and went to bed without it. Last night I had an arousing dream. I can’t even remember the last time I had one of those. So I may end up staying off the pill. We’re about to start solids, so that’s a risk (provided we start having regular sex again), but it’s one I think I’m willing to take.