QUESTION: I am pregnant with my second child, which my husband and I are both thrilled about. The problem is that while it took us two years to conceive our first, this time it happened on our first try. My husband is disappointed - after many weary sexless nights when our first child was a bawling baby with colic - that he’s missed out on months of ‘baby-making’ sex. I am tired, my hormones are going haywire, my two-year-old is demanding and I can’t cope with my husband’s demands as well. What should I do?
ANSWER: I know exactly how you are feeling. When you fall pregnant with your second child and have a toddler, you tend to feel: job done, tick; now give me an armchair, Mary Poppins and some cake. It’s not the natural time to reach for slinky undies and your copy of The Joy Of Sex.
There are women who never feel lustier than when they are pregnant and tending infants, but many of us don’t fall into that category. I felt sick from week eight of both my pregnancies right up until the day each boy popped out. To say sex was the last thing on my mind is an understatement. Your letter makes me wonder how I would have coped had my husband been mustard-keen to hit the sack - but he was as exhausted as I was.
I can see how your husband’s desire feels like an imposition when you need to put your child first. Not only that, you’re weary, and your hormones dictate sleep rather than sex. However, you wouldn’t have written to me if you didn’t think it might be insensitive at best, and dangerous at worst, to ignore your husband’s advances.
By ‘dangerous’ I don’t mean that your spouse will seek comfort elsewhere. I am sure he’s not that shallow. But some fathers can feel ousted from their share of love.
They often interpret an unwillingness to have sex as a sign that they are last in the pecking order. They’ve all seen male friends who sleep in the spare bedroom because their wife has the baby in the bed and this scares the pants off them.
I would like to dismiss these fathers’ worries as baseless, but, if I look at my wider acquaintances, it’s true to say that the small-child years are when the fault-lines appear and sometimes the tensions over sex (or rather lack of it) tear apart the marriage.
I’m amazed by how many moms behave like ostriches over the issues. Maintaining good communication and some sort of love life is a very effective way of avoiding the worst ructions.
You need to tell your husband you commiserate with his dashed hopes. Understanding your partner’s point of view and making it clear you don’t find it outrageous is a step towards harmony.
Perhaps he could arrange some child cover (a willing grandparent?) so you could take a weekend away. And perhaps there are things, like gentle foreplay and massage that he can do to help put you in a more amenable mood.
Compromises and mutual kindness are what make relationships work.
The thing to remember is that while the small-child years seem interminable at the time and the problems appear insurmountable, they’re over in the blink of an eye.
There’s plenty of time thereafter for lots of non-baby-making sex. - Daily Mail