When 7lbs of responsibility finds its way out of your womb, life as you knew it is officially over. For a long while there is no room in your life for leisurely lattes on the way to the office, trips to the gym, girls’ nights out or the chance to drive a two door car. And definitely no sex. How something so helpless and tiny can have such an enormous impact on a fully functioning adult is one of life’s great mysteries, but by the time your minimalist home has become a primary coloured plastic work of art, the realisation that nothing will ever be the same again should have begun to sink in. Though equal opportunities should mean that men are just as debilitated by a new arrival as women, it doesn’t really work that way. They do get sucked into the initial excitement of creating a legacy, but then their regular timetable resumes and off they go to work, the gym, boys’ nights out… You on the other hand are likely to be with your baby full time and will continue this intense relationship for the next ten years or so! In fact it is often only when your pride and joy starts smoking and answering back that many women remember to re-acquaint themselves with their child’s father.
This is a big mistake. As Darwin explained, your baby is designed to ensure its survival at anyone’s expense. It’s coos and smiles will flood you with a rush of hormones which effectively drug you into submission, but women who don’t tear themselves away from their children to invest in their relationship may find that they don’t have one to invest in. ‘Mumsiness’ can have a dreadful effect on adult relationships. It often creates a cosy team of two which can exclude Daddy and naturally, this can cause jealousy and friction. Broken nights increase irritability and magnify small disagreements. Who didn’t do what for whom fuels all kinds of nonsensical resentment, but there is precious little opportunity to kiss and make up. Coital rate drops by 50 per cent within the first year of marriage anyway, but add an episiotomy, stitches, bruising, hemorrhoids, C sections, breasts like inflated balloons, a stomach like a deflated balloon and your sex life is suddenly on life support.
As these parents posting on Mumsnet can confirm, babies are libido annihilators in disguise. It will often feel like they time their cries to crush the faintest stirring of arousal and as a result, only one woman in three has had intercourse two months after giving birth. The majority of couples get things back on a somewhat more irregular track within twelve to fifteen weeks, but lack of time and opportunity mean that sex is rarely the spontaneous experience it once was. That said, however erratic your love making becomes, it is essential that you and your partner try to maintain some kind of physical intimacy. You may feel that you don’t have the time or even the inclination, but if your partner equates having a baby with losing your affections, he may begin to resent both you and the baby. Sometimes women find it impossible to switch off if their baby is around at all. If this is the case it is worth finding a babysitter and checking into a local hotel for a night. Clean white sheets and a minibar do wonders for the libido, not to mention a nights sleep. Anyone who has tried this says it is worth every penny, but don’t forget to use contraception, or it could turn out to be a very expensive escape.