Is There Sex After Children? Hell Yes!

Firstly I’d better point out that I’m not a councilor, all opinions voiced here are mine yada yada and also just because it works for me doesn’t make it work for everyone.  I personally often wonder why society is so Victorian about sex, after all, if humans didn’t procreate you wouldn’t be reading this would you? So that accepted, this post is about BEING SEXY not lesson in dynamics 😉 but if you have a problem with this please use the little x in the red box up there on the right.

Still here? Fine. Glad to see you xx

This week I visited Karin’s Blog Cafe Bebe and watched her vlog on sex after children, whilst this is a family blog and even though practically all my family and friends breeze through here at some point I felt compelled to answer her question “What do you do to keep things hot and sexy?”

My man and I may have some issues, who doesn’t! But a lack of sex life is not one of them, although until recently it probably was…

My issues…

Overtired?  You know that time when you spent months, in my case years plotting your chart, working the dates, seeing your temperature spike and calling the sperm provider to come home and fertilise the egg holder? How Sexy Was That? Total turn off to be honest but for a lot of us it’s how it was… is even. And then what happened? Your body changed so much in such a small time frame, physical change, chemical change, alien invasion.  I was never physically sick but I felt sick from 9 weeks to 30 weeks with both children and sleep? Sorry, what is sleep?  Explain that concept to me again because after four years of the kids waking up at all hours I still don’t sleep properly a year on.  #Insomniac

Exhaustion is a real libido killer, don’t be too hard on yourself if you are feeling so tired you can’t think, honestly until last year the last thing on my mind when I went to bed was getting sexy, it was more “I wonder how long I will get to sleep tonight?”

Self Esteem? On my wedding day I was 12 and a half stone, still a little overweight perhaps, curvy yes. Two children later I bloomed to 15 stone, like so many women I was unhappy with this, it didn’t feel right for me, I felt trapped inside my body. I’m still overweight (apparently) and not entirely happy but loosing 2 stone has helped with my view of me, I’m much happier enjoying wearing nicer clothes, I have more energy and I feel sexier… Please rest assured I did this for nobody but myself, I still have a few issues with my self esteem but I’m getting there…

Who are we together?

We were a very active couple. We met skydiving, we loved skiing, mountain biking, walking. We would spend our weekends under canvas dragging our all too willing border collie all over the country, it was a lifestyle we enjoyed together and I’m afraid it got sidelined…

Having kids… major roll changes, for me, for us… who’d have thought it! I have a hate of labels but they do apply, I’ve always been somebodies something, Daughter, Girlfriend, Fiancee, Wife… For a very short time in my 20’s the “Daughter” label became less important and the Girlfriend one disappeared and I became just “Me” Independent, strong minded, flirty with a strong self awareness including a sexual identity, once Fiancee and Wife happened somehow my self awareness became less important and by the time the label ‘Mother’ was attached I had no time to consider me, I was the center of someones universe in a totally dependent on me kind of way… Huge.

I remember once in my 20’s scoffing at a woman on the TV “Needing to Escape to find Myself” I remember thinking, honestly, what a strange thing to say! Now I can relate to that on so many levels it scares me.

And so, when I’m so lost in being ‘Mummy’ what happened to ‘Daddy’? He felt inadequate, my OH was never very sure how to handle/deal with babies, he says he was able to “choose not to” try and help due to this inadequacy, thankfully at 5 and 3 he is brilliant with them.. but all that baby stuff fell to me. Feeling sexy now – No Sir!

So how have we made/keep things hot and sexy?

It’s really hard to sit here writing about this and put them into some kind of order, they all kind of merge, so you will have to forgive me if I jump around a little, mine is not an orderly mind 😉

Time…. I have to say it, as much as I wish it wasn’t true, since my son turned two and has been more independent in play and feeding himself, life is coming back into “LIFE”. When I knew I was pregnant with no.2 I eased back from interactive time with my daughter, encouraged her to entertain herself, use her imagination, feel she was contributing to the family by helping and as my son has got older I’ve done the same with him.  The unexpected added benefit of this is at weekends Daddy and I can lounge in bed while they play downstairs together on a Sunday Morning and they do get very caught up in their games….

Several other things happened to change the post baby blues. I lost that 2 stone I hated and my self esteem improved, energy levels increased, my reading brain returned – I read my way through the Twilight saga in four weeks and then moved on to rereading other books I’d enjoyed and some new ones, I’ve always enjoyed adult themed literature (along side my huge love for comic fantasy) and reading about relationships, how people interact and come together, flirty, sexual tension with adventure and romantic notions is a strong influence on me! Another huge experience at the same time as the rediscovering reading for me was my birthday, I had a bit of a epiphany in hitting 40… The ‘naughty forties’ time to re-capture that independent feisty sexually aware 20 something I once was and reinvent her into a more mature feisty, sexually confident woman who feels she has nothing to prove to anyone anymore and can be ‘herself’ – Yeah, that and why the hell not? After all, you only live once.

Romance? No Romance? What is Romance? What does this mean to you? Candlelit dinners? Walks in the rain? We are all different. For me it’s being tactile, being held, feeling contact, being wanted… Quite simple things really. Tiny things that make your partner feel like you want to be close to them, like SLEEPING NAKED! Honestly, nothing says “I don’t want you” more than clothes in bed…

Sex is not about romance for me, I’ve lost the rose tinted glasses Hollywood paints for us, it’s a pre-cursor certainly, it helps with feeling sexy, romance is something a couple can work on all the time, not just with an ‘end goal’ in mind. Romantically speaking I do love the idea of getting myself ready for my ‘lover’ taking care of myself, I like him to make an effort too; but in reality for both of us this doesn’t happen for a whirlwind night of passion, it’s an “Ongoing project” I like to be aware of.  I get waxed, I go to a good hairdresser so I look reasonably acceptable, I try and wear nice clothes often, skirts and yes pretty (inexpensive) lingerie; nothing special just not ‘Bridgets’ all the time.. and these things I do for myself because it pleases me, makes me happy. YES! of course my husband likes his wife to look good and feel sexy but in my opinion that’s a happystance.

Don’t worry about being tired, be close, hold each other, be together when you can on whatever level you can manage, if that is just spooning at night so be it, who said sex had to be all swinging from the chandeliers anyway, adjust you athleticism to what you feel you can manage and UNDERSTAND that your partner needs to do that too… how do you do that? Well it’s all down to….

…Communication! This is the most important factor in our relationship, we talk, we listen to the verbal diatribe (and you think I drivel here!) about everything, no subject is taboo and when it comes to sex I do mean everything! Even investigating each others thoughts on things that don’t appeal to us, being opened minded about each others quirks and leaving no stone unturned. I’m lucky in this fact, it makes it easier to consider what Sex means to me and expand my horizons or just reaffirm an avenue we don’t wish to investigate. How you communicate is of course up to you, we hide ourselves away in the evenings in the hot tub and chew the cud, a rare escape to Minehead recently saw us covering subjects together that we had only hinted at before, frankly, intensely sometimes – TALK – no holds barred. And when you are not talking you can still be communication, non verbal communication is really important. Watch, explore – learn…

What do I like?

A friend of mine often says: ‘Men tell women they only think of sex every seven second so as not to scare them, because in reality it’s an awful lot more.’ Well, newsflash, a lot of women do too! Perhaps I’m just one of ‘those women’. I have blogged before in this post about my love of erotic photographs, I love reading erotica too, hell I even write it. I find it expands my mind thinking about the process of sex, choosing stories that appeal to me, pictures that interest me, most importantly working out what doesn’t appeal. This exploration of my mind, the use of words and the sight of an appealing picture is probably the single most key factor I associate with my increased libido since having children and I am sure my husband will agree, discovering what I like is what has bought sexy back into our lives.

So – a summary might be necessary.. 

Sleep naked

Talk

Listen

Touch

Explore

Is it legal? are you happy? do you like it? Do it…. Be open… Discuss.

Well there you go Karin…. I think I may have gone a bit mad…. 😉

Foot note – This is a family blog… Anything you think I’ve been vague about or you want some more detail on ask. I have email and Twitter has DM’s I don’t know all the answers but maybe if just chewing the cud would help, I’m up for that.

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No I don’t, but why don’t I?

Totally awesome blogger Yummy Mummy No1 asked us last week Enough is Enough?  Why can she not envisage never having another baby when she has 4 really lovely children? It has given me much food for thought since reading the post – here is the comment I left..

“I totally and sincerely do not want any more at all, 2 is enough for me, I’m no spring chicken and they keep me very busy! When I see a newborn I just wish I could go back in time and cuddle my two for a bit rather than have any more myself…”

So, alright, this is true, I’m what they refer to as a geriatric Mum (if anyone had tried to call me this they would have got short shrift) I do find keeping up with the laundry enormously exhausting let alone playing with the smalls and enjoying them but you would think on  seeing a tiny newborn part of me would go soggy and start longing, after all it IS how we are designed, this however does not happen, I do find myself longing for my little dots as babies to snuggle and feed but there is no desire to go though the invasion that is pregnancy and even less desire to go through birth again.

So what is wrong with me? Time travel back to 1995, one of the fellow managers in my office came in from maternity leave with her newborn twins, ahhhh, right – wrong, I was not interested at all, babies were aliens from another planet and they were fragile. “Don’t hand me that thing I will break it or it will puke down my suit!”

Fast forward a bit. 1997 I decided Mr.Perfectforme perhaps did not exist and started a relation ship with Mr.Downrightsexyandlovesmeloads with whom I soon fell in love and now call husband, still not much inclination..

A little further to 20o2, after spending much time, thought and effort preparing and achieving marriagedom in 2001, we had a belated fabulous honeymoon and came back to normality and all of a sudden, DINGDONG – time clock in activation – impregnate me now…

4 years, 2 doctors, some pills, an operation later and the beloved and much anticipated daughter arrives, 19 months later, mostly because my body still thought it could my son arrived  and I am blessed.

When my darling little man turned one my body did have a flutter of interest in reproducing and I said to it, “seriously body you are having a laugh! no way!” and pushed the thought away, it has never come back.

This would appear not to be normal, a lot of women never loose the desire to have another baby and if you look at this from a purely biological point of view that is the natural way of things, survival of the human race etc… So, why not me?

I always joked I had no hormones, this may be more literal then I knew of course, with an underactive thyroid and PCOS it’s a double whammy and so I suppose 2 years and 3 months on my body may have gone back to it’s pre operation “just muddling along” status of not producing the chemicals to make another baby desirable..

Some women of course don’t want children, hats off to them for knowing exactly what they don’t want in their lives, society does give them a hard time about this sometimes, as bringing up the children is such a huge, scary, responsibility laden thing to do I can understand that point of view.

I did want them, I wanted two, as they came, didn’t much care what colour just healthy and I’m pleased to say I got what I wished for.

I can’t really answer why I do not feel the need to have anymore babies, it’s all purely speculation and after having the “no darling, you will not be having a sister” chat with my daughter this week I did feel guilty that she would not enjoy the sisterhood that I have, it was not enough to make encourage me to rethink my viewpoint.   I said to her, “If Mummy did have another baby it might be a brother not a sister” and she looked truly horrified.

So I ask again, no I don’t, but why don’t I?

Things I would share with my Cousin…

My cousin is about to have her first baby at 41, it has got me thinking of my experience of being pregnant, having a baby and all that involves, so I thought I would share that experience with my blog, these are some random things I learned that were useful to me, they may not be applicable to anyone else, folk may disagree with me should they choose and they are certainly not scientific!
Take what is useful to you and leave the rest 🙂

Make the most of the bump, when it appears feel free to use it to make your life easier, let people hold doors open for you, give up seats for you, if they don’t ask them to!

You don’t HAVE to let people touch the bump, it’s your body the baby is in and if you don’t want people in your space make yourself clear, I had to back away from one person and ask them to stop, I had only met her once before, she was actually fine with my saying no.

You will be pregnant most of our summer, putting your wrists in cold water really helps with the heat.

Be aware of where the loos are…

People will forgive an obviously pregnant lady for parking in the mother and baby slots in the supermarket.

Those strange flutters might not be indigestion, for me the best experience of being pregnant was the little kicks inside me, little miss always started a dance routine as soon as I stopped moving, at bedtimes I used to get back up and stand and sway for a while, she also liked listening to music – Il Divo was a favourite – once she was born too, then she would lie on my shoulder with me swaying and drift off to sleep – so lovely!

Midwives are wonderful people, they are knowledgeable and supportive, if one of their tests comes back less than perfect they will send you to the consultant, this is not necessarily because things are wrong and you shouldn’t panic, I was sent to hospital twice with Alex due to small amounts of protein in my wee, when I was re-tested at hospital there was none present but if in doubt check it out, phone them for any niggle that is why they are there.

Do check out the hospital / midwife center prebirth, they normally do “tours” that way you can get a feel for the facilities and know what you need to provide yourself.

Do write a birth plan, both of mine were carefully thought out and then went out of the window straight away but it was a useful exercise. Little Miss was an emergency c’sec and we were delayed doing skin to skin until I came around (Daddy did his best bless him) but they knew I wanted to do it – it was in my birth plan!

Once you get the baby home you will be in demand socially, leave the coffee, tea and sugar next to the kettle somewhere easy to find in the kitchen, when people visit tell them to help themselves and make you one too, better still, get them to bring a casserole. We had an arrangement with some friends of ours that when visiting after a new baby was born they bought dinner with them, as we did to them when their daughter came along, it worked really well.

Give yourself at least a week before people who are not grandparents or siblings can visit, Daddy’s best friend turned up right in the middle of my baby blues (3 days after delivery) and a midwife visit, so not only was I blubbering I was showing another woman my breasts!
Get your partner to be your security guard, decide between you when you want to start seeing people and be firm about it – this is a magical time for you but not an easy one, turn people away or book them in later, our first Saturday with Little Miss was like Piccadilly circus people were arriving as others left, it resulted in exhaustion for me and a totally cranky baby!

If you can get newborn poo off with just cotton wool and water, you are a better woman than me, it’s like tar!

Baby girls often have a little “period” when they are working Mummies hormones out of their body, I was totally freaked out finding blood in her nappy and phoned the hospital straight away, apparently its quite usual, don’t panic.

One packet of wet wipes will not last a month or even a week, a friend of mine once commented that on preparing for her newborn she only bought one packet because it seemed so big it would last for ages, within the first week she sent her partner on an emergency buying spree for more…

Don’t buy a huge amount of newborn nappies, Little Man was only in new baby nappies for about a week, he was then too big and had to have size 1’s, he didn’t last long in those either.
Sudocreme is a great product for comfy bums but for real nappy rash that won’t budge I’d recommend Metanium – it the bees knees!
Anti bacterial hand gel is ideal for on the move nappy changing, Detol wipes are also good for the nappy bag if you are planning to use cafe highchairs – just sayin’
Pampers are excellent overnight protection. My two both had/have a routine for pooing in the morning once they are up and moving so I put on a cheaper nappy just to catch that early morning one, then back to pampers.

Yes, breast is defiantly best but if you are unable, don’t want to don’t let anyone tell you that you are wrong, you will do your best and love your baby, that’s all anyone can ever ask of you.

If you are breastfeeding, it is your right in my opinion to feed your baby when he/she is hungry, where ever you are, if someone doesn’t like it they can stick their head under a blanket. I personally don’t enjoy getting my boobs out in public unless I’m on a beach somewhere hot, however, you will soon get used to what items of clothing allow you to comfortably achieve feeding almost anywhere discretely, when I was feeding little man I could hold him in one arm feeding him whilst doing something else with my other arm – practice makes perfect.

Shopping center breastfeeding booths are terrible, The outlet village in Swindon was not too bad and John Lewis at the mall has an okish one otherwise they are small and dim with plastic chairs or a bench seat. The one at centre parc’s Longleat is sheer heaven, I could have stayed in there all day!

I’m fed, I’m warm and comfy, I have a clean bottom and I’m burped… Key issues 🙂

My midwife said to me “if mummy sleeps the baby sleeps” whilst this is true because Mummy won’t be able to sleep whilst baby is crying it is not that easy to leave them to cry and some say it’s harmful for the baby. Try different things, Little Miss liked to be fed to sleep or rocked to sleep (people will tell you this is not a good habit) but once asleep she would be put down and got used to waking up in her cot. She could also be put down in her cot to sleep but she needed a dim glowing light and music. The Little Man will not even try and sleep if something is going on, he needs blackout and quiet. They are all so different, my sister used to drive her boys around for hours to get them to sleep, She hated driving in the dark – keep trying anything that you can think of and find what is right for your baby. Sometimes you will try everything and nothing works, so start at the top of the list again and keep going, eventually something works.

If you choose to use a dummy, leave a few in the cot because if one falls out they might find another before they wake you up.

Don’t worry about the housework, it will still be there tomorrow, get some rest when you can,

Get the giveaways – Bounty bags are treasure troves, Boots Baby club nappy bags are fab, Lloyds pharmacy also does a gift bag, I’m sure there are more.

Books, they say babies don’t come with a manual but actually there are several useful books around, we thought Haynes baby manual was hilarious but it was also pretty informative, What to Expect the First Year, by Arlene Eisenberg, was really useful to me.

Well, I seem to have gone on forever so I’m going to stop here, as I said before, take what you need and leave the rest…. Good luck and most of all enjoy, it goes too fast!

Things that go bump in the night

Rolling over in bed last night I woke up with a start when I met with someone on my left side that wasn’t a cat, (bad habit but Pippy often curls up in my left arm, she was my first baby) the beloved daughter had got into bed next to me while I was asleep, this is unusual for her, if she wakes in the night she normally will shake me until I wake, that’s if the fact she is moving about doesn’t trigger that “Mummyalert” I seem to have built in.

Looking at my clock it said 1.42am – groan, “what’s up” said I, “I can’t sleep” said she, right, back to bed for her, she got back in her own bed snuggled down with teddy and was asleep within a minute, bless.

It got me thinking about the sleep deprivation thing though, from about 4 months pregnant with her I had terrible trouble sleeping, I moved into the then spare room because I was competing with the husband for fog horn of the year, the running back and forth from the bathroom due to lack of bladder space, trying to get through the working day with so little sleep.  Pregnancy with my son had all that plus the most colourful and exciting dreams ( I miss those!).  It was all preparation for the marathon of breast on demand really wasn’t it…

My husband didn’t ever do night feeds, yep, I could have expressed like the best but firstly it would have been me shaking him awake for an hour to get up and do it – pointless exercise,  secondly, he drives for most of the 13 – 15 hours he’s at work every day and I do need him to come home in one piece so that was that, thirdly and on reflection only, I don’t think I would have wanted to miss all those small wee hours of the night snuggling my little bundle of joy, now they both seem so huge and you can never get it back, it didn’t last long enough.

Actually off topic for a second, I wish I could go back to when my daughter was a newborn, I was in such a frenzy of the unknown I was too scared to make the most of that time….. While the time machine is here, 1996 was a very fine year, can I take Rob Pattinson back with me?

My two generally sleep fine, the little miss likes her structured evening routine 7.15pm jimjammin, bed, story, 3 songs, cd player on, night light – she plays for a while up there sometimes and we do get the odd visit downstairs.  He is sooo different, he has always been a sensory deprivation baby, no music, no light, if there is any kind of “entertainment”  he won’t sleep, he has never slept in his buggy or car seat much for this reason.  He gets a bed time song and a cuddle, into bed and asleep.  Sometimes I here him cooing to his teddy, but not often.  Yes, mostly they do sleep though until at least 5am, but I don’t – which brings us back to the “mummyalert”

I once read about a mother who slept through a huge earthquake only to wake at the end of it because her baby started crying.  It’s so like that isn’t it.  As I said before, my husband is rather loud in the snoring department and sometimes he does wake me but mostly he doesn’t, Pippa cat is up and down like a yoyo at night, I think she is an undercover Secret Agent Cat because she keeps a watch out the windows at various times – I am not disturbed by this much, my son talking or whimpering in his sleep in the next room will wake me every time! Bing! Awake!

After her early morning ramble she slept through until 7.30, how pleasant, the husband got up at 5.30am a lie in for him and he was shouting “Mummy” at 7, all in all not a bad start to the day.