Here we are at 8 months later, and we still are struggling to have sex in a normal or enjoyable way. I feel totally in love with my husband, but have very little to no sexual desire. That’s the short version, but I’d like to give some background of how we got to this point.
I had a 17-hour labor and gave birth with no pain medication at home. I pushed for 3+ hours, and it was more excruciating pain than I ever could have imagined. What was worse was that in order to bring my asynclitic baby girl down, I had to purposefully push along with my body, which brought the pain from 10 to 20, and so I had to intentionally inflict the pain on myself. I felt as if I had been handed a knife and had to drive it into myself, and that if I stabbed myself enough times the pain would eventually stop.
To summarize my recovery: I have to be blunt because it’s the only way to describe this. My vagina was inside out and swollen outward to about the size of a grapefruit. The skin had come away from the flesh and had to be tacked down. I was mangled. This swelling went down over the course of about 5 days, and after that I started to turn right-side-in. The stitches inside healed and felt better after 4 weeks or so.
In addition to that, my tailbone was injured. I couldn’t sit, even on a soft seat, for 3 weeks, and even then I had to take some of my weight on my feet. Up until 5-6 weeks, I could sit for short periods of time leaning to one side, but would be in pain when I stood up.
As I write this, I find myself crying. At the time I thought that this is just what recovery from birth was for everyone. As we go on 8 months where I can hardly take PIV, I’ve found myself realizing that I still feel this pain and fear associated with that part of my body, and that this can’t be right or normal.
As you can imagine, we did not have sex at 6 weeks. Weeks turned into months and we tried a handful of times to have sex, but it was painful. I stopped keeping track of time, but my husband was quietly suffering. As he craved getting our sex life back, I only thought about it enough to dread it. Then I would feel horribly guilty and throw myself into working on daughter’s sleep schedule (so we’d have more evening time together) or introducing solids (decrease drive-killing breastfeeding hormones) or exercise and diet (feel better about my body) but none of it took away my total dread of sex.
That made me realize that the lingering problem was in my own body and mind and couldn’t be solved with merely practical measures. I also saw how it was affecting my husband emotionally. I would say that was the lowest point.
What we’ve done that has seemed to bring improvement since then:
- We talk about it a lot and strive to think of the other’s perspective
I push myself to communicate what does & doesn’t work. For me it’s been like getting married all over again. It’s hard to get past the nerves to tell him what things I used to enjoy that I now don’t, and vice versa, express things that are new that I find myself enjoying / helping me relax.
HJ when I can’t handle full blown sex. When we were in the toughest season this was even hard for me to bring myself to do, which i felt / feel terrible about. I felt so averse to anything sexual that I dreaded even giving him a HJ. Lately it has been easier as I try to treat it as an expression of love for him.
When I miss him during the day, I try to think about his body and how good he looks. I try to make sure to hug him when he gets home and hold his hand or snuggle when we’re seated side by side. I try to just build up that affection and physical touch.
- experiencing any desire or urge for sex or for an O
not having Os very often (i’ve been able to a handful of times since the birth, through clothes.)
When we’re in the middle of making out or some foreplay, I can very suddenly lose focus and completely lose all the excitement I was feeling. Sometimes if I concentrate really hard I can get the feeling back. Other times I just want to curl into a ball and disappear. Before having my daughter it was the opposite, if things were building toward sex it was hard to stop. Now, it’s hard to keep going until we get there.
full insertion is not totally comfortable. if we can do it, it’s difficult to move too much afterward.
Ladies, after giving birth, how did/do you get back to feeling sexual again?
What else can I do to bring my drive back?
How do I get past my memories of the painful birth and recovery?