Be patient with yourself

I Completely Lost My Libido Post-Kids

I felt like sex was something I was expected to do, but I wasn’t ready.

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When my first son was born almost nineteen years ago, I looked at the calendar one day and saw my husband had his six-week birthday starred, circled, and a giant smiley face written on the blank square. He was so excited about being able to have sex with me again, while I was just trying to get in the mood to smile, never mind have sex.

I tried to explain to him that when the doctor said, “Nothing in the vagina for six weeks,” that didn’t actually mean I’d be magically ready to have his penis inside of me again on that exact day. First, who comes up with that time frame, anyway? How about we have sex again when we feel like it and we are ready? However, I think I felt like a lot of women do after they give birth and their partner is on the verge of death from lack of sex: we should go ahead and please them.

And so I did try as best as I could to get in the mood, but I just wasn’t. Then, I kept hoping my low libido would pass and I’d feel like my old self again. That didn’t happen either.

I think what happened to me — and a lot of other women, from what I’ve heard — is that once the six-week mark passes, we’re kind of told we’re supposed to feel like we did before we got pregnant. We are supposed to get sexual again. Our bodies are expected to perform like they did before we gave birth. All of that is complete bullshit if you ask me. It takes nine months to grow a human. Shouldn’t it take at least nine months for us to start to feel like our old selves again — keyword being start?

Having your period while taking care of a baby is no joke. Trying to use the bathroom after being stitched up is difficult months after giving birth. Your hormones are not the same. Your body is not the same. And your moods? They aren’t even close to being the same. And that’s all without getting into the sheer stress of it all, and the fact you’re barely sleeping.

I was going through the motions after having a child because I felt that was what was expected of me. In doing that, I slowed my libido down even more, because instead of waiting until I was ready, instead of waiting until I was in the mood, I now felt like sex was something I was expected to do because, after six weeks, I was allowed to put something in my vagina. This expectation mostly came from me. But my husband also hadn’t had a baby and just didn’t understand why my body wasn’t ready. He just had no frame of reference.

It was hard to go from being a mom to feeling sexual. It felt strange to me to have sex when my baby was sleeping in the next room. And I was so anxious while having sex because I felt like if I didn’t do it, there was something wrong with me.

When I had two more kids, I was even more touched out than I was with my first. Not only were my kids crawling on me and nursing all the time, but my energy wasn’t the same. I wasn’t sleeping or eating as well, and my hormones were all over the place. There were days I wondered if I was ever going to feel sexual again. I tried it all: erotica, sexy underwear, porn. My doctor even suggested a testosterone cream, which supposedly worked wonders for some of her patients. I bought one but didn’t actually try it — because I didn’t actually want to have sex.

That was the day I realized not only did I not want to be sexual, but I also didn’t want to force myself to try and feel sexy. Why couldn’t I be patient with myself? Why did I have to be the way I was before I had kids when my husband and I would have sex at least once a week? Things were different; I was different. As soon as I took the pressure off myself and asked my partner to be patient with me, things started to change.

Yes, it took some time and no, it wasn’t easy. There were times my husband would get frustrated. I truly felt like having three kids in three years was all my body could take and it was telling me that it couldn’t handle anymore at that point so it decided to dry up my libido for a good eight years.

I know that’s a long time. It was gradual. Once all my kids were older and I didn’t have three toddlers, things got a bit better. Then, once they were all in school and I was able to have more time to myself, that helped too. But what really made the difference was when I stopped putting the pressure on myself to be pre-kid me in the sex department. That really took a lot of my angst away and I began to start to look forward to sex again instead of dreading it.

I like having sex and being sexual. I like that I now want to have sex and initiate it instead of dreading it. I am glad I have the energy to please another person and that I have the urge to be pleased.

If you feel like you have zero sex drive after having kids, be patient with yourself. We are all different — I had friends who were ready to have sex after having a baby a lot sooner than I was. They didn’t seem to skip a beat when it came to their sex life. The most important thing to remember is you aren’t going to gain a thing by comparing yourself to someone else.

If you’re struggling because you have a low libido right now, please be gentle with yourself and tell your partner what you need. You grew another human being and you are caring for them on top of caring for yourself and being a partner. It’s more than okay to take your time and listen to what your body is telling you. I promise you, your libido will come back.