A mother gets anxious when her husband tries to initiate sex, even though she's attracted to him and has no physical limitations. It seems the trauma from giving birth has affected her desire to be with her husband, despite her attraction to him.
throwawaymarriage8 asked Reddit how she can overcome her anxiety.
I feel like many of you are going to tell me I have post partum depression, but I assure you I don't. My life is great really. I have two kids, the baby has been pretty easy as far as babies go. They are drama free kids. My marriage is practically perfect, we never argue or fight. He's a great father and is super helpful. No emotional abuse or anything. He's an all around nice guy and everybody just thinks he's great. I'm attracted to him physically, he's in good shape, has good hygiene? I honestly can't think of anything to complain about, he's practically perfect. He gave me a foot rub tonight, and all I could think the whole time was that I hoped he wasn't trying to have sex with me. I don't know why, but I just don't want to have sex with him. After having a baby and everything in front of him everything is different. I get almost anxious when I think he might be trying to initiate something. I've been cleared by the doctor to have sex, I'm just not even into it. He's so great and perfect so I should be into it, but I'm just not. I feel so gross.
I want to want to do it, if that makes sense. The thought of it causes me anxiety and I don't know why.
TLDR: don't want to have sex with perfect husband. Don't know why.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Start fresh, start slow.Giphy
I listened to a great Dan savage podcast that tackled this issue.
His advice was to take sex off the table completely, but take time to reconnect with each other as sexual adults. Massage each other, naked cuddling, whatever foreplay you're both into. The idea is that you're given the opportunity to rediscover yourself as a sexual being without feeling that something is "expected" of you by the end of it. If p.i.v sex isn't there as the necessary end result you are free to relax and get turned on naturally, which might take a few sessions.
This can come in tandem with date nights, having time to yourself to do the type of date night "rituals" like getting ready and making yourself look and feel like a desirable woman as opposed to being in "mom mode". I really wish I knew the link to the episode for you. Your husband sounds really sweet and understanding, so hopefully when you talk about this he'll be on board (after the session he can always go take care of himself, or you can both try mutual masturbation as a way to feel intimate and sexual without you having to "psych yourself up" to intercourse before you're really comfortable with it).
Hopefully, this will lead to you just being able to lose yourself in the moment - as opposed to when he gave you that foot massage and you couldn't really just take the time to enjoy his touch and affection. Instead your mind was skipping forward to what you thought might be coming next, so you couldn't really just bask in the intimacy of that moment between a husband and wife.
Just give yourself time, and let him know how you feel. There's nothing to feel gross or guilty about. You just had a baby, and even though you were cleared for sex, that doesn't mean you are ready for it. Be patient with yourself.
Just want to stress that this is insanely normal for new moms. If you google sex after baby, all articles will mention this.
Also talk to your SO so he knows what is going on with you and can, hopefully, be respectful.
Hormones need time to rebalance.Giphy
You just had a baby. Your hormones are all over the place, you're still healing even if the doctor says you're cleared, and even if your second is a good baby, you're still probably sleep deprived and exhausted from taking care of two children, one of which is a newborn. If you're breastfeeding it can kill your libido too. Like completely nuke from orbit, not lessen it slightly. Just let yourself heal and try to be intimate in other ways.
Work through it as a team.Giphy
It's perfectly natural to not want to get right back into sex. Our species wouldn't survive very long if, after we made one helpless newborn, we went out and made another new baby right after. We're biologically programmed to want a sex hiatus right after birth to focus our resources on the new baby.
That being said, communicate this with your husband. It sounds like your fear of having to turn him down for sex is making you anxious. This might develop into resentment down the road. Nip that in the bud and tackle this problem as a team.
It hasn't been that long since birth - you're tired.Giphy
You said the baby is a pretty calm baby, but its still a baby. Your sleep is interrupted. Your hormones are screaming at you to protect this baby and not have another one, because that would take resources away from your newborn. It's not a very sexy time haha. It's been 8 weeks, you just got medically cleared for sex. Its gonna take some time to have the mental bit of sex come back.
For some, this period lasts a year.Giphy
Trust me - nothing is wrong with you. My last 2 pregnancies I did not want to have sex for the entire 1st year post partum. My libido fell through the cracks. I made sure to talk to my husband about it and explained how it just wasn't something I wanted to do or was interested in and he was fine. In fact I am pregnant with my 3rd and on the 3rd month of pregnancy my libido died (per usual) and all is normal and well here. My husband is extremely supportive and understanding.
Just talk to your husband and let him know. It's 100% NORMAL.
Some suggested reading.Giphy
I post this everywhere, but "Come As You Are" by Emily Nagoski. It's a book about sexual desire with fun worksheets! And it's really helpful in understanding why things like this happen. Go read it with your husband.
You are probably touched out from having the baby. I felt the same way.
Give yourself some time, but also be mindful of your husband's needs as well. My husband got a lot of maintenance sex that I wasn't wholly into, but I chose that, because like you say, I wanted to want to have sex with him.