New parents and exhaustion
by Bre Woligroski
My husband and I had our first baby about two months ago. Baby is healthy, but we have a struggle. We find it hard to do private things together. We really want to, but we feel so busy and tired! What can we do?
Dear Tired Parents,
Congratulations on your new baby! This is an exciting and exhausting time. Babies come with many new life changes, especially your first child.
Many parents face the same challenge as you do. Our bodies feel the effects of a growing family. This can feel like stress, exhaustion, lack of sleep, sadness or other things. It sounds like you and your husband make it a priority to stay close together and invest in your relationship, which is a big strength and is important.
It sounds like you two are exhausted. There are a few things I can suggest. When you spend private time together, do what feels good to your bodies and don’t put pressure on yourselves. Cuddling and handholding are meaningful things to do, and this type of closeness feels good during times of stress. Express your care to each other in ways that feel natural and easy and within what you are able to do in that moment. For example, taking naps together can be meaningful private time.
When you are able, make time when you and your husband can be together while your baby is in the care of a friend or family member. This is important so that you two can connect with and focus on each other. Most important, talk to each other and be honest about your feelings and struggles about sex, and about your new lives together. The more you communicate, the closer a team you will become.
Sex might feel different after birth. Some people experience vaginal dryness; a solution would be to use a lubricant during sex (if you are using condoms, be sure the lubricant is water-based). Some people also experience leaking breasts during sex. To help with this, you can wear a bra during sex with leak pads in it. Also, if you breastfeed your baby right before sex, the chance of leaking is smaller.
Sometimes it might feel painful after birth to have sex due to a tear; this tear can take two to three weeks to heal. This is a good time to express care in different ways to each other. There are many different ways to have sex that don’t involve touching the vaginal area. As you give that area time to heal, you can explore other parts of the body that feel good.
If you want more information, there is a good information page about this at peelregion.ca.
All the best to your growing family,
Ate Anna welcomes your questions and comments. Please write to: Ate Anna, Suite 200-226 Osborne St. N., Winnipeg, MB R3C 1V4 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us at www.serc.mb.ca for reliable information and links on the subject of sexuality.