Sex After Birth
Welcome to the first post in our Life After Birth series! To continue receiving posts like these, sign up for our newsletter here.
Let’s begin here: Why aren’t we talking about sex after babies more often in our circles? Why aren’t our providers offering up tips? No, extra lube is not truly advice. It’s skipping over all of the other necessary information.
As a team of doulas, we believe that it is very not okay to ignore and/or gloss over one of the most important parts of our human experience. Sex is, in most cases, how your baby came to be. So, why aren’t we having bigger, deeper, wider conversations about it in postpartum?
Intimacy and/or sex after both vaginal and cesarean birth can be complicated spaces. In this article, we offer you the wisdom of embodying your sexual and sensual body post-birth from a doula perspective. We aren’t therapists or pelvic floor PT’s. We are, simply, women in a profession that by nature has a lot of body talk within it. If body talk is triggering for you, we lovingly suggest contacting a counselor or mental health provider so that you can dig into that more deeply. (You’re worth it!) But, as a love note, talk of intimacy post-birth can be a little bit triggering for all mothers and birthing people – because it’s a new territory after you’ve given birth… and not just physically.
Our #1 Tip Before You Get Intimate Again
Our #1 tip for you as you consider intimacy again, whether or not penetration is involved, is to re-educate yourself on what feels good to your body. Why? Because all touch is not “good touch” for all bodies.
We think that line is worth repeating:
All touch is not “good touch” for all bodies.
So, let’s take a moment to explore what good touch feels like for you…
An Exercise in Safe Touch
- Take a moment to be alone if you can. Perhaps time a bath so that you can explore your body uninterrupted.
- Breathe. This part is important. We spend so much time in our minds; for this, you want to be back in your body.
- After a few minutes of breathing, ask yourself: Do I need firm touch or gentle? Test the waters by hugging yourself. Put your hand on your inner thigh, your chest or breast, if it’s comfortable. Consider touching the external parts of your body that you might want touched by a partner. Do you notice any pain, numbness, tenderness, anxiety?
- Check in. Are you breathing? If not, pause and breathe again before you resume the exercise.
- What feelings are coming up? Can you name them? What do you want to share with a partner from this experience?
- Take a few minutes to center yourself before returning to the world. You can take that bath you prepared for (or are presently in) or you can take a moment to “shake it out” resetting the nervous system by shaking like a wet dog shakes when they get out of the tub.
- If you have additional time, journal about this by hand. If not, add a few notes to your phones notepad. You’ll want to return to this conversation with your partner at a later date. For example, at dinner or in the morning over coffee. Conversations like this are best had before intimacy begins, so that you can begin on a positive, thoughtful note.
When You’re Not Okay
If intimacy and/or sex feels disconnected from your experience right now – please know it’s not just you. It’s many in our birthing and postpartum community. Except, no one is talking about it. So, we thought we would. For the sake of you, your relationships and the whole world! Sex matters.
On this note, we believe that at every postpartum visit there must be true conversation around this incredibly sacred life space. For example, all postpartum bodies need access to pelvic floor therapy – standard care in most European countries and proven to reduce issues like pelvic organ prolapse, ongoing constipation, and bladder leakage. Also, you might need to talk to someone in the mental wellness space. Birth can bring up a lot of things for a lot of people, including past trauma (little t and big T). Again, sometimes we need support – and this is quite normal.
As always, we’re here with you through the good, the hard, and everything in between. Feel free to reach out if you would like to know our preferred providers for pelvic health and wellness, intimacy, the nervous system and body-mind connection. From acupuncturists, herbalists, chiropractic care, PT’s and mental health therapists – you’ve got options.
And, if you have a suggestion of your own please feel free to drop it below! We’re better together, always.
Your Cherry Blossom Doulas
Hi! I’m Alyssa Leon. I lead Cherry Blossom Doula Services, LLC – an inclusive birth + postpartum doula team in Arizona; and mentor doulas in Arizona and beyond.