Tag Archive | having a baby

When Can We Have Sex Again? – Rediscovering Sex After Pregnancy

Rediscovering Sex after PregnancyA common question I’m asked after a couple has just had a child is: “When can we have sex again?” The short answer is: “When it feels right”. Sadly it is most often he who is ready before she is so when it doesn’t happen as he expects then this can lead to feelings of frustration and even alienation from the new mum and her baby.

Low or absent sexual desire is a very common experience after pregnancy; a reduction in sexual interest and activity, compared with pre-pregnancy levels, is really the norm during the first few months.

Studies have found that more than half of women resume intercourse at six weeks after delivery; By 24 weeks more than 80% of women were ready to be sexual again. The majority of the women even reported being able to come to orgasm by 12 weeks. And most studies indicate a gradual return to pre-pregnancy levels of sexual desire, enjoyment, and coital frequency within a year.

The return to making love is strongly influenced by the mother’s experience before pregnancy, her physiology, and her emotional and psychological make-up as well as by the culture she has been raised in.

The physical impact of giving birth is generally complete somewhere between four and six weeks. Research has shown that this differs little between those who have given birth vaginally as opposed to those who have had a cesarean birth. However the mother may still be weary for some time especially if the baby is not feeding well or is restless and taking time to settle down to a good sleep routine.

And then there is the emotional impact which may take longer to recover from. Here also every woman makes progress in her own time and in her own way.

Emotional disturbance very often takes the form of post natal depression, sometimes affectionately called, “post natal blues”. This can be as mild as feeling restless or as serious as contemplating harming the child or the mother herself.

Good old-fashioned Mother Nature is probably the greatest villain here.

While ensuring that the mother’s milk supply stays high, breastfeeding can negatively affect sexual desire whilst also guarding against a future pregnancy too soon. The reason is that estrogen levels decline during breastfeeding, which, sadly, also means that sexual interest also declines.

Vaginal lubrication also decreases which can lead to pain with intercourse which is also a way of ensuring that you don’t get into mischief while your new baby still needs so much of your attention.
The baby also makes sure that the mother’s attention is totally on her or him to ensure that this child has the best chance of surviving without having to compete with anyone else. This includes the father who, so far as this child is concerned, has fulfilled his part of the bargain.

So what does all this mean for the couple?

Firstly it means that as well as dealing with a new baby and all that entails it also means that you now have to patiently focus your energies on this child until you are not required 24/7 anymore.

In the meanwhile you can start to take any moment this child allows you to do some nice things for each other that are not necessarily going to lead to intercourse. Bathe together, massage each other, have a sleep in, if your baby will let you, and rest when your baby is asleep rather than trying to use this time to catch up on chores. Also take time out, as it is offered by friends and family, to go out and share a meal together or go to the movies.

Other forms of sexual expression, such as touching, kissing, and mutual pleasuring techniques, besides just being nice to do, can also help to re-establish physical closeness with your partner. So take your time getting to know each other again.

Whatever else you do go slowly!!

Then when the time is right, begin to reintroduce more sexually based activities into your schedule. The use of water-based vaginal lubricants can help reduce discomfort during intercourse. Vaginal moisturizer also can relieve vaginal dryness and pain.

And don’t be in too much of a hurry to get to intercourse. Masturbate each other or with each other until you are both sufficiently aroused to take it to the next step.

And don’t forget to use some form of contraception. Breastfeeding is not a guarantee against falling pregnant. And I should know as that is how I conceived my fourth child seven months after delivering my third and whilst still breast-feeding and feeling absolutely exhausted chasing after two other pre-schoolers.

Finally, take heart. Enjoyment of sexual intercourse will return, even if it is gradual, after childbirth. Give it time and enjoy the little bundle of joy you have created from your love for each other.

So until next time – Relate with Love

Relationship Remedy Signature jpeg

Advertisements

I’m Pregnant and I Don’t Feel I Love Him Anymore

I’m Pregnant and I Don’t Feel I Love Him Anymore

There’s another question that goes often comes with this one and that is about the satisfaction many women feel in having given birth. It’s like the child now fulfills all her love and sexual needs some even saying that the very act of holding a child in their arms and/or breast-feeding the child gives them immense sexual pleasure so much so that some women even report the experience of an orgasm every time they feed their child.

So the first thing to know here is that what you are feeling is absolutely normal. Your body is surging with hormones as it adjusts to being pregnant and as it begins to prepare you, emotionally and physically, for the birth of your child and placing the care of another human being in your hands.

This also means that your instincts are on full alert. You may even find yourself becoming anxious not only about the baby and its well-being but also about your own well-being. Suddenly you don’t want to take the risks you might have once taken on the belief that if something happens to you what then becomes of your baby?

There are lots of hypotheses about why this happens but maybe after all it is just a quirky act of nature to ensure that this helpless child is taken care of to ensure its survival even though often the one who misses out most here is the woman’s partner, the father of the child who can feel abandoned or unwanted now that the child is born. As far as nature is concerned the father has done his bit. It’s now up to the mother to incubate this child and bring the pregnancy to full term.

Maybe this is as basic as you can get as this is truly about survival of the species.

So in accepting that the feelings you have are absolutely normal there are a few things you can and maybe even should do.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, if you find that your love is diminishing for your husband, or you even feel no love for him at all, you should not make any hasty decisions. Instead given that it is most likely just the hormones that are making you feel so give yourself some time to think rationally before making any long-term decision that might impact negatively on all of you.

At the very least, wait until after your baby has been and then even for the postnatal stage to end. In the meanwhile enjoy what you and your partner have created together and share every aspect of this pregnancy together. Visit your doctor together, attend prenatal classes together and make all plans re setting up the baby’s room and other decisions that will need to be made re the child’s ongoing care after the birth together.

Mothers are often defined as the gatekeepers to their child.

This means it’s most often up to you to ensure you include the father in the pregnancy. Often, and especially so for first time dads, they can feel overwhelmed by the experience and very unsure of what to do. They therefore sometimes need a guiding hand to let them know that you are still the same person, only different. This means that it is also normal to continue all the pre pregnancy activities especially in your sexual relationship. Sometimes, dads and even moms feel scared about this as they are concerned that they might hurt the child. This is not so though if you are concerned speak to your doctor to relieve any fears you have.

So for now enjoy this beautiful time together and drop those thoughts of lost love. There will be time in the future to decide if this really is the case or just Mother Nature doing its job after all.

So until next time – Relate with Love

Relationship Remedy Signature jpeg

Knowing When the Time Is Right to Marry

Throughout the day the happy couple

 

When I was young, many years ago now, the dream of most young women was to finish school acquire some training of some sort and get a job. In those days it was somewhat limited to secretarial, shop assistant, teaching, air hostessing, or nursing.

Following that was the challenge of finding someone “really nice”, getting married, “settling down” and having kids. There really wasn’t a whole lot to think about and even more choices were taken from you as once you were married or pregnant most women had to leave their employment. There was no such thing as maternity leave or holding your position for you until your return.

The otherwise natural flow of life was then hugely interrupted by the introduction of the contraceptive pill in the 1960’s. The claim was that couples were now able to make their own decisions about becoming pregnant and starting their family.  Then there was a further development in the 1970’s that made it legal for women to have an unwanted pregnancy terminated creating even more choices for couples to make about beginning a family. And then all the other political advances in women’s rights that have elevated women to take positions of seniority have created even more choices in how we live our lives.

And now, so many years later, I believe the decisions that couples have to make, may in actual fact, whilst claiming to liberate them, actually be inhibiting them.

When is the time right?

I’m not saying that we should go back to the old times. What I am saying is that for some couples the number of choices now available to them may actually slow them into indecision.

I’ve had this conversation with several of my own adult children all of whom are in happy relationships and two of whom are married with children. The conversations we have about the time being right for anything happening in their lives, as it is for many who have sent questions into me, tends to revert back to where they are in their career, financially, or in their relationship and concerns they hold about the future of their relationship given the high incidence of relationship breakdown.

I hear so many people experiencing distress over these decisions and the want to have everything perfect or at least as they would wish it to be, before they venture into the next phase of their lives.

But, as I remind my clients so often, life is not an end point. It will never be perfect. The time will never be exactly right. Life is a journey and can only be lived that way.

And as my husband reminds me;  the most memorable holidays we’ve had are the ones that were not perfect, where we’d find ourselves in the most amazing of places meeting the most incredible people and having the most bazaar experiences. These are the stories that we like to tell over and over again.

In our naivety of half a century ago we simply made do. We lived in “shoeboxes” furnished with mismatched pieces we could scavenge from family and friends. We passed around babies clothes from one to another as our children grew and spent time on the weekends making whatever fun we could to entertain ourselves and our children.

So here’s the answer to choosing or knowing when is the right time; to live together, to marry, to have children or whatever other decision you are struggling with right now. The answer is there is; no right time. As I have said to my own children – if it feels right just do it and let the future take care of itself. It will anyway!

So until next time – Relate with Love

Relationship Remedy Signature  jpeg

What’s The Good Of Marrying?

To Marry Or Not To Marry

This week I received an email with a number of questions relating to the good of getting married. Here are my answers as they were asked in the email.

What are the procedures involved in getting married?

I guess the starting point to getting married is to get the permission of the intended first. If that person agrees then there may be a need to get parents permission.

While in most cultures this request is generally initiated by the man there are times when it might be initiated by the woman. One of these times might be the 29 February. This is the one day that only comes up every four years as, by the Gregorian calendar, it is a leap year. And guess what that happens next in 2016. So girls go for it.

Then once your proposal has been accepted then the opportunities are endless depending on whether you would be married by a minister of your church or by a celebrant.

One thing I always encourage couples who are preparing to marry is to do a marriage preparation course whether this is one conducted by a minister or a counsellor in the community. There is simply no better way to insure your marriage for long-term success.

Is it necessary to get married?

Well this is an interesting question and really is at the discretion of those who might be contemplating marriage to decide.

In some countries and cultures there could be a requirement that before two people can live together they must be married. In other cultures, such as our western culture, marriage is optional before living together.

The research indicates however that people who actually get married may have a stronger commitment to their partner to make the relationship succeed. In the same way those who choose to live together may be more ready to leave if the relationship begins to falter.

Is there any merit in marriage? If yes, what are they?

As I said above the merit in marriage is that it is a commitment made to another person in front of witnesses, which, by its very nature, has the psychological impact of being more compelling to work at this relationship through the good times and in bad, through sickness and in health.

The decision to marry requires the couple to really think about where they want their relationship to go. This also hopefully gets them thinking and questioning beyond today, and what they want right now, to considering the future even to the point of ’til death do them part.

But maybe the greatest value in marriage is that it allows couples to feel secure knowing that their partner willingly takes a vow to commit fully to them. And hopefully this also means that before just walking out when things get tough they firstly make every effort to find a way through the difficulty that is presenting itself.

Is it necessary to have children? If yes, for what reasons?

The simple answer? No it’s not necessary to have children. Some believe however that to have children is the reason for marrying and the ultimate reason for being.

My belief is that to have children, or not, is a decision for each couple to make as is appropriate to their own circumstances. Of course there are those couples who for a variety of reasons are unable to, or choose not to, have children. Their relationship is based on connections other than children which is also entirely appropriate.

What are the differences between a wedding and customary marriage?

This is a huge question and worthy of a book in itself. Every cultural group on the planet has its own way of celebrating the joining of two people in marriage through some kind of wedding ceremony.

And each of these ways will have its own customs and traditions. The wedding celebration simply defines the date of commencement of a marriage; one that hopefully will last a lifetime and will provide the couple with ongoing joy and happiness.

So until next time – Relate with Love

Relationship Remedy Signature  jpeg

Rediscovering Sex after Pregnancy

Rediscovering Sex after PregnancyA common question I’m asked after a couple has just had a child is: “When can we have sex again?” The short answer is: “When it feels right”. Sadly it is most often he who is ready before she is so when it doesn’t happen as he expects then this can lead to feelings of frustration and even alienation from the new mum and her baby.

Low or absent sexual desire is a very common experience after pregnancy; a reduction in sexual interest and activity, compared with pre-pregnancy levels, is really the norm during the first few months.

Studies have found that more than half of women resume intercourse at six weeks after delivery; By 24 weeks more than 80% of women were ready to be sexual again. The majority of the women even reported being able to come to orgasm by 12 weeks. And most studies indicate a gradual return to pre-pregnancy levels of sexual desire, enjoyment, and coital frequency within a year.

The return to making love is strongly influenced by the mother’s experience before pregnancy, her physiology, and her emotional and psychological make-up as well as by the culture she has been raised in.

The physical impact of giving birth is generally complete somewhere between four and six weeks. Research has shown that this differs little between those who have given birth vaginally as opposed to those who have had a cesarean birth. However the mother may still be weary for some time especially if the baby is not feeding well or is restless and taking time to settle down to a good sleep routine.

And then there is the emotional impact which may take longer to recover from. Here also every woman makes progress in her own time and in her own way.

Emotional disturbance very often takes the form of post natal depression, sometimes affectionately called, “post natal blues”. This can be as mild as feeling restless or as serious as contemplating harming the child or the mother herself.

Good old-fashioned Mother Nature is probably the greatest villain here.

While ensuring that the mother’s milk supply stays high, breastfeeding can negatively affect sexual desire whilst also guarding against a future pregnancy too soon. The reason is that estrogen levels decline during breastfeeding, which, sadly, also means that sexual interest also declines.

Vaginal lubrication also decreases which can lead to pain with intercourse which is also a way of ensuring that you don’t get into mischief while your new baby still needs so much of your attention.

The baby also makes sure that the mother’s attention is totally on her or him to ensure that this child has the best chance of surviving without having to compete with anyone else. This includes the father who, so far as this child is concerned, has fulfilled his part of the bargain.

So what does all this mean for the couple?

Firstly it means that as well as dealing with a new baby and all that entails it also means that you now have to patiently focus your energies on this child until you are not required 24/7 anymore.

In the meanwhile you can start to take any moment this child allows you to do some nice things for each other that are not necessarily going to lead to intercourse. Bathe together, massage each other, have a sleep in, if your baby will let you, and rest when your baby is asleep rather than trying to use this time to catch up on chores. Also take time out, as it is offered by friends and family, to go out and share a meal together or go to the movies.

Other forms of sexual expression, such as touching, kissing, and mutual pleasuring techniques, besides just being nice to do, can also help to re-establish physical closeness with your partner. So take your time getting to know each other again.

Whatever else you do go slowly!!

Then when the time is right begin to reintroduce more sexually based activities into your schedule. The use of water-based vaginal lubricants can help reduce discomfort during intercourse. Vaginal moisturizers also can relieve vaginal dryness and pain.

And don’t be in too much of a hurry to get to intercourse. Masturbate each other or with each other until you are both sufficiently aroused to take it to the next step.

And don’t forget to use some form of contraception. Breastfeeding is not a guarantee against falling pregnant. And I should know as that is how I conceived my fourth child seven months after delivering my third and whilst still breast feeding and feeling absolutely exhausted chasing after two other pre-schoolers.

Finally, take heart. Enjoyment of sexual intercourse will return, even if it is gradual, after childbirth. Give it time and enjoy the little bundle of joy you have created from your love for each other.

So until next time – Relate with Love

Relationship Remedy Signature  jpeg

We’re Having A Baby!!

The wedding and the honeymoon have now become long distant memories as you, a newly formed couple, settle in to the reality of married life. And while adjusting to being part of a couple brings its own challenges nothing can adequately prepare you for what lies ahead as you contemplate expanding your newly created family further through the introduction of a child.

While the birth of your first child may be a glorious and blessed event that you both look forward to, the arrival of a new baby will inevitably put strains on your relationship.

The addition of a new element into the relationship that previously comprised just the two of you can be stressful.  As you learn to balance your time and ensure that both your partner and your child are receiving enough of your attention, there may be a period where the stress of making this adjustment causes a breakdown in communication.

While they don’t begrudge the attention that you lavish on the new baby it does take an adjustment period to deal with the fact that they no longer are the centre of your universe, or you there’s, with your undivided attention.

Also, typically the birth of a baby leads to a complete change of routine as well as sleep deprivation for you both.

While you may have previously been used to doing things as you please, you now realize that most activities must be planned around the baby’s schedule which is often unpredictable.  This new schedule, coupled with the lack of sleep that typically plagues new parents, can put a great deal of pressure on your relationship.

To avoid a total communication breakdown it is important for you both to realize that you need to allocate time to spend with the baby and also with each other.  You also need to realize that the sleep deprivation is affecting you both and take turns getting up with the baby.  This is even important for those of you where one of you is working at a paid job during the day.

Most importantly accept that everything you used to do may now not be possible. Your home may not be as tidy as it used to be. The dishes may not always get done immediately.

The lesson to learn here is this: Don’t be too tough on yourself. Make plenty of time for rest and recuperation and don’t forget that it’s still important to make some time for fun. This might be for each of you separately from each other as well as together.

And, above all, keep talking to each other. The only sure way for your partner to know what’s going on for you is that you communicate it to them. Remember that when you are both in stress overload you are not so able to be thinking so clearly of the needs of each other. So check in with each other as a matter of course, preferably daily or at least weekly to ensure you are aware of where each of you is at.

Make the time to really hear each other out for there will be good things to share and there may also be some difficult things to share.

These few simple steps can go a long way in reversing or preventing a communication breakdown and even be your guiding light to making your relationship even more than it was otherwise going to be.

So until next time – Relate with Love