Hot sex after baby is possible—here’s how

The thing to remember is that sex after kids will be different. And that is OK.

Hot sex after baby is possible—here’s how

I debated calling this essay “How to have sex with your husband after he’s seen you in maternity Spanx,” but due to my love/hate relationship with maternity Spanx, I cut it. Because if we’re being honest, as most of us reminisce about those glorious, confusing, messy, sometimes downright painful nine months of pregnancy, we also remember the times with our partners when unspeakable lines were crossed.

I remember the first time it happened for us. Long story short, I needed to be trimmed down there. I couldn’t reach down there. My husband could. Enough said. Then, at six months pregnant, he helped squeeze me into those aforementioned maternity Spanx. And of course, the pièce de résistance—the miracle of childbirth, which my husband saw in its entirety and will never, ever forget.

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Now, cut to the present—where I am perpetually covered in tiny crumb handprints, I count dry shampoo as one of my best friends, and mascara is considered a luxury for fancy ladies. Where the hell does feeling sexy come into play? And speaking of play—is anyone having sex in this world?

I’m here to tell you sex after baby is totally and utterly possible.

I’m also here to say that for most couples, it takes work, preparation and self-discipline. Romantic, I know. The thing to remember is that sex after kids will be different. And that is OK. Just like your body, your relationships, and your priorities, things shift when you have a baby. Accepting your new sex life is the first step.

Every couple and circumstance is different. I can write only from what I know. For my husband and I, it took about 10 weeks after the arrival of our daughter for sex to even be an option. My healing time took a little longer than the average six-week timeframe. But once I was given the go ahead, it took another few more weeks to actually work up to the act. Physically, I still felt pretty beat up. Feeling sexy was the farthest thing from my mind. But because my husband and I both agree that sex is a very important aspect of our relationship, I sucked it up and dove in.

You could call our first time utilitarian. Honestly, I just wanted to see if everything still worked. It did, but barely. I had moments of panic after that. Is this how it was going to be from now on? Was it ever going to feel “normal” down there? Would I ever feel sexy again??

Our daughter turns one year old soon and I can now confidently answer those questions—No. Yes. And YES! ?

It took work.

We had some difficult but necessary conversations. We also had to look inside ourselves for some deep (sometimes exhausting) introspection. And we had to be open and honest about everything.

It was critical that he knew my lack of a sex drive had nothing to do with him but could be blamed on a myriad of other factors—whacked out hormones, constant breastfeeding, a saggy tummy, stretch marks, exhaustion.

The list goes on. On his side, he was patient, understanding and patient some more. Not feeling pressure from him was vital in me finally becoming comfortable again—a sex timeline on my own terms.

It took preparation.

Not partaking in spur of the moment sexcapades can definitely squelch the excitement a bit. But most new parents’ lives are no longer conducive to a kitchen quickie. It takes setting aside time to make things happen. If you know that both of you will be too tired to move by the time dinner is done, the kid is bathed and soundly asleep, try for a morning bout instead. Date nights, even if they happen just once a month, are so important for couples. I tell my husband we have to go on a date at least once a month so that I can remember how funny and cute he is.

It sounds a little absurd, but I swear every time we cut out a little free time for just the two of us, I am reminded again of why I fell in love with him in the first place.

For us, this emotional reconnection encourages physical connection.

It took self-discipline.

My self-discipline was all about my inner thoughts. I had to retrain my line of thinking. I had to tell myself, that yes, I was still sexy. And yes, my husband still finds me attractive. And yes, he still wants to do sexy, adult things to me. He was great at affirming these thoughts for me but it wasn’t until I believed it myself that our sex life was reignited. Once I accepted my new body, my new role in the world, and my newfound strengths, I felt sexy. Like, really sexy. And that opened the door for a new phase in our sex life.

One I’m calling the “adult parent” sex phase.

We are having real adult parent sex. And it’s hot. ???

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My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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