I came home from the hospital a mum; having a baby will do that. My focus shifted from trying to get some sleep to trying to get any sleep, and the bags under my eyes were so big, I couldn't find sunglasses large enough to cover them. This was my life for the first three months. When I finally took off my sunglasses to view our calendar, I was surprised to learn that it was time for my son's three-month check-up. I was also reminded of another milestone: my husband and I were going on three months without sex. I was shocked. Even more shocking was the fact that I didn't want to remind him.
My birth had not gone as planned, and I'd had a very aggressive C-section. My recovery was taking longer than the suggested six weeks. At eight weeks, walking up steps was still a challenge, and bending my body into pretzel-like yoga poses was but a fantasy. This slow recovery (plus being a new mum) was hindering any type of romantic thoughts I might have had toward my very sexy husband. (My husband did not make me add that adjective "sexy.")
I knew that being parents would shift our priorities, but I thought we would be the one couple in the history of couples able to balance it all: sleep, baby, and romance. We could do it all! We would gaze longingly into one another's eyes while changing our newborn's diapers. I was, of course, a bit off on this expectation. Taking care of my baby (and sleep) became my new priority. My husband's needs shifted to the bottom of my laundry list, along with things like laundry.
When we first brought our son home, my husband was not interested in me in a sexual way. Both of us were exhausted and focused on surviving the first weeks at home with a colicky newborn. Once we found our groove, though, I'm guessing there was a time when my husband wanted to get his groove on, but he never mentioned it. Either baby spit is the new sex repellent, or he saw how tired and in pain I still was.
My body was different. And that's when the nervousness gripped me. Would it be the same?
When I realized how much time had actually passed from our last sexual encounter, I was surprised — mostly that my husband hadn't mentioned anything. But of course he hadn't. He wasn't going to pressure me in any way after all my body had gone through. I silently thanked him for the space to heal on my time. After the gratitude settled, the next emotion to hit me was fear. I wasn't sure my body was ready. There were moments when I'd bent down to pick up my son and my insides still ached from the surgery. I certainly didn't want something that was filled with pleasure to be filled with pain. My body was different. And that's when the nervousness gripped me. Would it be the same?
I mulled over these emotions and decided I wanted to at least try. I took off my sunglasses and told my husband I was ready. I missed him. Admittedly, it was a lot awkward at first — there was one point we even started laughing. Even though my body was different and our time together felt new, we were able to find our way. I was relieved to discover that our connection was still there. We were still the same people who had fallen in love before having a baby. Becoming parents has changed our relationship, but in ways I didn't foresee. We may have been off to a slow start, but now we are closer than ever. There may come another point where more time slips by than we would like, but that's just parenting. I know now that we will always find each other. I just have to remember to stay awake.