Like the big white elephant in the room, it's there but no one wants to talk about. But today, we talked.
We talked about why, how, and why not, and how much, and how little with Andrea Nemerson, the writer of SF Bay Guardian's Sex Column. There were 7 of us - new moms that is and by the smiles and head nods and smirks and questions and me-too stories, I realized that this was indeed a worthy and important topic.
So we listened and shared and attended to our babies at the same time. And though we just touched on the tip of the iceberg, it was enough to send me on my way, feeling well, not alone.
And so my key take a-ways were this:
1. Most couples in the first year of parenthood experience an extreme change in their intimate relationship due to lack of sleep, exhaustion, changes in roles, changes in relationships, sleeping arrangements, pain, scheduling, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on and on.
2. It is NOT unusual to have a complete halt in your sexual relationship in the first year of parenthood.
3. That does not mean that your partner (usually the husband) is not not wanting it.
4. It is possible to be "overtouched" - meaning new moms are often in constant contact with their babies and their need to be physically touched or close to someone is fulfilled and that additional touch is the last thing they are wanting or needing.
5. Intimacy doesn't have to be sex - there are ALL kinds of ways to start to re-build your intimate relationship.
6. It will not be what it used to be, nothing ever is. But it could be better.
7. Talk, talk, talk about. And then keep talking about it. The conversations done in silence in your own head are the ones that start to breakdown your relationship.
8. Make time to be together without the baby, period. Do whatever it takes to make that happen. And when you do, don't talk about the baby.
9. Don't send dad to the couch or the spare bedroom. If he goes, follow or at least try.
10. Just do it.