Where’s the Sex? by Heather Bowles
I have found myself continuously struck this week by the rapid passage of time. I count all kinds of things: how long until Tabitha starts preschool, when I can expect her to speak her first words, how old I’ll be when she graduates high school, or gets her driver’s license. Almost everything revolves around her, and I’ve almost forgotten what life was like 4 months ago, when it was just two of us instead of three.
The one thing I have not forgotten, the thing that cannot revolve around her: our sex life? Is virtually nonexistent. Since our daughter’s arrival, we’ve done the deed exactly once. Moreover, it was not the uplifting experience that usually causes me to hear a distant choir of angels at the end. In fact, it was far more lackluster than I expected even after being warned by friends and the online postpartum articles I read.
So what’s my malfunction? First and foremost, I can’t focus. The one time it happened, I spent it expecting to hear the baby cry. I was more concerned with muffling the noise so she wouldn’t wake up than anything else, and I felt keyed up the entire time for it. And of course, there’s that small matter of the fact that I never sleep longer than two, maybe two and a half hours at a stretch. I imagine if sex happened more often I might fall asleep in the middle, and by God, I’m NOT planning to insult my spouse that way. I’m still exclusively pumping all of Tabitha’s nutritional needs out the front of me, so every three hours, whether I’m ready or not, I have to hook into that horrible machine that is decidedly unsexy, and reminds me of exactly where I did, and do, fail as a mother every day. Can you tell it’s squeezing my self esteem with as much mercy as it does my breasts?
Speaking of my breasts… suddenly, we aren’t allowed to treat them as sexual objects anymore. That part of my body was the one thing that made me the most attractive to my partner. Now the skin is sore and inflamed, and I’ve had to mark them completely off limits for fear of stimulating a Niagara Falls size deluge all over our pricey memory foam mattress. That fact alone puts a huge damper on foreplay.
My husband is a gentle, attentive man, and the love is certainly still there. We hug and kiss often and share our feelings easily. We have both referred to each other as our best friends for a very long time, and even in the stress of new parenthood, I cannot imagine that could change so rapidly or even change at all without my notice. I just hope he feels the same way when this stage of our life is over, because I miss being his girl.