Intimacy in the postpartum: Keeping it alive

dsc_6316resizeA lot of the barriers to keeping intimacy alive in pregnancy exist in the early postpartum, with a few more potential obstacles.  There will be leaking from many places, there may be discomfort, and likely exhaustion.  It might be easy to lose yourself in all of that, but finding new ways to celebrate you and your connection with your partner is possible.

What is New?

There are so many changes to your body in the time just after birth.  Some of these changes are fleeting and require a little patience, and some become your new normal for what seems like forever.  Remember that through all of these different and new times, communication is key to maintaining a healthy relationship and family. Some of the changes you’ll experience go unseen and you may need to talk about them with your partner for better understanding and support.

Your Body

Regardless of what kind of birth you had, your body needs time to heal.  There may be stitches in awkward places, and definitely a tired body, that will need some rest in the first week for a quicker healing time.  Your breasts will swell and start producing milk.  You will have some bleeding, much like a heavy period for a the first 3 days or so and then the bleeding will taper off but remain for about 4 to 6 weeks.  It will get much lighter and be more like spotting in the later weeks though.

When is it safe to have intercourse?

The answer to this question will very much depend on you.  The type of birth you had.  How the healing is going.  Most importantly though, you need to FEEL ready.  Emotionally, spiritually and physically.  Only you can say when you are ready.  Keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner.  Communication is key.

Intimacy in the postpartum

There are many routes to intimacy other than intercourse.  Talk together to see how you can be intimate.  It might be cuddling, kissing, flirting, dancing, holding hands, a deep look in each other’s eyes, massage, etc.  It is important to continue to find ways to connect as a couple.  To connect as lovers.

Family Life

The two of you are the foundation of the family.  It is crucial that you continue to build on and repair the foundation.  Communication and intimacy in the postpartum are some great ways to make sure that you two stay strongly connected.  Adding a new baby to the mix does shake things up.  The dust will settle and a new way of life will prevail.  Making sure that you make your partnership central to your family is vital.  If your relationship is solid, parenting will be a million times easier.

It is important to keep trying to make intimacy central to your new family dynamics.  It can be very easy to get wrapped up in a busy life and to forget to add those touches of intimacy in your every day.  Keep checking-in with each other.  Keep the flames burning in your relationship every day by looking into each others eyes and appreciating each other.  Make sure your lips connect meaningfully together on a regular basis.  Laugh together, cry together, struggle together and triumph together.  You are a family.  The core of which is your relationship as a couple.  Cherish each other and celebrate what you have created together!

 

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Josée Nolet is a registered midwife with Generations Midwifery Care. Learn more about Josée here.