Guest Blog By: Expressive Arts Sex Coaches Michele & Rick
The baby has finally arrived, your dream has come true! For many couples, the postpartum bliss is clearly present. The deep and profound love you experience for your newborn and your partner is a love you’ve never known before. Everyone around you shares in the joy and love your baby has brought you. Everything should be perfect, right? RIGHT?
Well, time and again postpartum couples report to us that with the new addition to their family, things are not as joyful in the relationship as society assumes. As the days grow into weeks and months, sleep deprivation takes over. With exhaustion, cranky babies, juggling work and parenthood, the coupleship begins to suffer. Many times, something in the relationship goes amiss- the intimate connection between the parents. Why is that?
One reason we are aware is that there are many classes to prepare couples for the birth experience, classes for mom and baby, lactation support, but virtually nothing for the evolving coupleship that occurs after birth. This article addresses the often unseen and unacknowledged challenge to the health and well-being of you parents.
See if you can relate to any of these statements, actual quotes from our clients.
From the mother:
I don’t know who I am as a woman after the birth.
I’m trying to figure it out who I am as a sexual being.
My partner sees me as the same woman I was before the birth, but I am very different.
My body has completely changed, I am getting to know and accept my new body.
I don’t feel sexy with the changes of my body.
I am fine not having sex, I am so happy being a mom, breast feeding, being touched by my baby. I’m getting my emotional and touch needs met through the baby.
I’m afraid of having sex, it might hurt. I’m not sure I’m ready.
We can’t find time alone, when the baby always wants to nurse and I’m so tired.
My bonding needs are being met through nursing.
I want a different kind of sex from before but I don’t know what it is.
I’m exhausted all the time.
I’m already giving so much attention to the baby, I have nothing for my partner.
I feel abandoned by my partner.
From the father:
I feel cut out, I’m not as much a part of the closeness of mom and baby as I would like to be.
I’m jealous of their closeness.
I want sex like we had before.
What happened to my wife, where did she go?
I’m not getting enough attention, touch, or sex.
I feel guilty for being needy and wanting sex. I feel selfish asking.
I feel guilty about using porn to get my needs met.
I’m afraid I’m not as attracted to her new body, it’s changed a lot.
I’m angry and frustrated that I’m not getting my needs met.
When we try to talk about our intimate life, it becomes a blame game.
I feel abandoned by my partner.
I’m afraid we don’t have the relationship skills to navigate this new reality.
If you or your partner relate to any of these statements, it’s likely that the vibrancy and deep connection of your relationship is at risk. But don’t despair; as with all risks, this is an opportunity to create an even deeper intimacy.
What can you do as a couple to meet this challenge? One remedy is to consciously nurture the “third entity,” your partnership. We define the “third entity” as the unique connection two partners have created between themselves. Like all entities, this “third entity” must be acknowledged, fed, and nurtured to thrive. Before the pregnancy, the focus was on each other and it was easy to nurture this third entity. As a result, the relationship flourished.
What few couples realize is how the third entity can suffer after the birth of a child. This is exemplified by the sad and pain filled statements above. The natural and powerful need to focus attention on the newborn does not preclude giving attention to your coupleship! If not, the vibrancy and deep connection of your relationship at risk. So, what can you do to address this dynamic?
What we recommend is to regularly express appreciation for your partner- not for what they do, but for who they are. For example, I appreciate your generous heart and how often you step in to support me. Or, I appreciate the kindness you show me by cooking for us.
Set up regular cuddle time focusing on sensuality with no expectations beyond that.
For more ideas and information on how to nurture your “third entity,” intimacy, and sexuality, please contact us at https://michelelyons.com/couples-coaching/ or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/quantumleapcouplescoaching/