To new mother’s everywhere. To the weary, and tired. To the breast milk, and formula stained.
I want to remind you of this: when you are overwhelmed, when the touch of your partner feels foreign, and you find yourself looking down at a body you no longer know; you are not alone. You birth your baby, and then you birth a new self. Your partner, they too, are now new again. You all emerge, crystallized in time by this momentous event, and thrust back into the world, expected to continue on as you were. And when the six week mark comes, your midwife, or doctor will smile with the good news, “you can have sex again,” they’ll say. But, most of the time no one will ask how you actually feel about it. Our system isn’t built that way. No one will say, “look this might take time, time to enjoy it all again, time to trust what feels good, and that’s okay, but, also, just know you deserve it, and you’ll find your new groove.” Truth is, new mothers need space to learn, and relearn, what they need as lovers once again.
In the aftermath of our birthing experiences, we navigate change like ships at sea. The tides are sometimes high and heavy, and other times they are full of light, calm, and reassuring. But, when it comes time to begin finding pleasure again with a partner, we often leave that to the wayside. The sheer magnitude that birthing human life instills upon us becomes a slow, and unfurling process, so how, amidst all this change, can you reclaim a sense of direction when it comes to sex?
Alas, we must start somewhere. For if there is a will, then there is undoubtedly a way. You start from where you’re at. Maybe the baby is six weeks old (maybe earlier!) or maybe your baby is now three years old, and the flame has diminished, the years of picking up toys, spreading butter on toast, and paying bills has left you without the simplest scent of desire you had. Whatever the details, the time frame, the changes, adjustments, and the fear, if there is the desire, you will take this advice: plan. Pick a day that you both look forward to. It might only be five minutes. It might be two hours. However long, or short, it will be just what you need.
I’ll be honest, when I first thought of planning sex, I was more turned off, than on. The idea that we had to pick a day, instead of spontaneity leading the way seemed trite. But, the hard truth is that spontaneity in parenthood is not always going to lead the way. Can it? Of course, and sometimes it does! But, in order to make sure we actually had time to connect physically, instead of just waiting for it to happen, we picked a day to call all our own.
So, we grabbed life by the horns (or ass?) and gave it a name: Sex on Sunday’s. This day of the week is a reminder that has us coming up for air, a declaration that we deserve the connection, despite busy modern life as parents. So, no matter what time of day, or what is happening, it’s always sex on Sunday’s. And there is anticipation in the air, and excitement, that we made a promise, and we will stick to it. A game if you will. Between just the two of us. We stopped making excuses, and we reclaimed pleasure, and joy. Sneaking off between making dinner, or playing with kids recreated magic that was dormant. Putting on a show for the five year old, and meeting in the bathroom, well, it’s a cheap thrill, and it’s our’s. It’s a priority no one can take from us.
And so, to you my friends, can you make this commitment to your sexual self? To your postpartum body, so worthy of goodness, and grace. What can you reclaim that you have lost with a lover? What do you desire? We have birthed, yes, and it was messy, and hard, and we are forever changed. But, we are also creatures that deserve to be seen, our bodies explored, and our skin touched in gratitude. So, pick a day, create your own story of reclaiming your sexual self in postpartum, and dive into the endlesses ocean of pleasure, and motherhood. For these are not mutually exclusive, they are all encompassing of you: a wildly wondrous being, the one we call woman.
Words by Kimberly Zuleger
Muse. Cecilie Lassen