It’s so common. Having a baby. Everyone’s doing it. Well… Not everyone. You get my drift. Women we love to list. Buy books. Plan. Got to get it all done and together. We go shopping. We prep. We nest. And our husbands/boyfriends/partners? Often… Just tail along.
We can handle it all, can’t we ladies? And we do… We do it all… Just short of assembling that crib. Yeah, we totally need some help for that! (At least I did.) However, after the baby comes, there is breastfeeding and coddling and swaddling and all that stuff we know how to do.
Dad just… Watches. The baby on his boobs. His wife, his perky wife, wandering around in Mom-bie mode. And while everything is OK with dad for a few days…maybe a week or two… Dad is going to start to feel like he’s been replaced. Men don’t like to admit it. Men don’t like to talk about their feelings. But birth is very difficult for them. Not on the “dad part” most of the really dig having a mini-me. The wives turning into mom’s part.
Some imagery –
We push a watermelon out of our nostril. Get it sewn “in a loose meat sandwich style” back together… (totally terrifying for us, by the way!). Have you ever tried to blow your nose with stitches in it? It’s… SCARY. And then our husbands want to stick their fingers… in our nose. Because they… “need to.” Never mind the mess your face is in. Or the fact that we can barely touch own faces or wipe our own nose… Someone else wants to have their hands all up in their too. This fight over a woman’s body is rude.
What’s rude is men should KNOW this is coming. Somehow, nobody prepares them. Nobody thinks sex is a big enough deal to include. Until it’s gone. Men act like it’s some drastic thing that shocked the system, but… they should have known it was coming as soon as they got the words “I’m pregnant.” Yet… Nothing.
My husband was more kind to me and abstinent when I had cancer than when the children were born. This… This is horrible for the sexes. This is horrible behavior we are passing on, generations now. Babies have been being born this way for over a hundred years! Yet, in most cases, men start to feel disconnected from their wives even though get up and go to work and come home the same. They are hurting.
A lot of them end up missing the physical intimacy that was in place before the baby was born. Even if it was only once a week. This causes a huge rift that can be very difficult to repair later and then when women who are finally coming back to life, from the exhaustion of new motherhood notice …something. The women pull away. That something is usually porn. The invisible mistress.
Men turn to porn for sexual fulfillment and gratification during post-pregnancy months when women are so focused on the new infant that they don’t have “time for them.” The truth is just because they are men and “can handle themselves,” they don’t want to. That’s why they married you! By the time women “have time again” men are in a routine already. Why break a routine where you can be selfish and rely only on yourself? Men – ‘You know you will never let you down.’
So, they stop caring about their partner. Women just stop asking. Why compete with someone who’s checked out? This can lead to divorce. A lot of time, without either party even recognizing why. The severe disconnect. When having a baby and making your lists, it’s very important to look at your After-Baby Checklist and say, “how are we going to divide up some of these chores and responsibilities?” “how are we making time for each other?” “what are your needs and expectations Exactly?”
Women can’t have sex for Six Weeks after birth. This should be in one of the first conversations with men after announcing the pregnancy. This should Never be a surprise to them. EVER. It should be an expectation. It’s many, many, many times, one of the biggest miscommunicated things in pregnancy. “SURPRISE! You just had a baby, you’re a dad! Now, no sex for 6 weeks.” Inviting sex into the conversation shouldn’t be so scary. I don’t know why we all avoid it. We should be changing the conversation about after baby arrives to include more dad and mom time together, creating new different types of intimacy.
Dad should be able to ask, within reason, for physical connections so he doesn’t feel left out. This isn’t the case in many relationships. Dads are told to “man up” & “don’t whine” when they are dropped a huge bomb. Men don’t warn other men this will happen. Dads aren’t warned by their fathers that there will be a “sex hiatus”. Why? Men don’t discuss intimate details like that with each other. Not to mention, as the one who your man is having sex with, you have a duty, an obligation to bring it into the conversation as the one who is “in the know.”
If you want your partner to be able to come to you later, you have to say, “this is happening, I’m not pushing you away and here is why”. US women should start this conversation. A “Sex Plan” conversation. Let’s change the After-Birth Plan to How Do We Keep Intimacy Between Us While Caring for a New Person Too Plan? Simple.
Maybe… Including dad takes the night shift so you won’t be so tired. Including showers together so he can see your breasts without a baby attached even if you hate the rest of your body. Maybe include him giving you a massage so you guys can really Feel each other without a baby in between once a week. Maybe… You give him a hand job so he’s not thinking about turning to porn. Schedule it. Dad can look forward to it. He can wait for you, instead of sneaking off to be with a screen. Eating a meal together, facing each other. No phones. (you would be surprised how many people eat in front of a TV instead of simply turning towards each other can foster caring.) Maybe… Something that’s none of these things.
Do you have something that’s just for the two of you that I failed to mention? Maybe simply talk to your partner about what they want and need. Make it your own. What’s important is that you start the conversation. Keep it ongoing. Stick to it. You only fail your relationship when you stop trying. It’s so easy to focus on the baby after they arrive. Trust me, I have a whole kid collection of my own. Maybe if I had focused a little bit more on my husband, it wouldn’t have taken us so long to get it right.