Let’s talk about sex, baby (sorry, I couldn’t help myself there). But, sex after pregnancy loss (not to mention body issues) are very real things that no one really likes to talk about. Maybe it’s because it’s a double taboo. But, I’m here to tell you that my sex life has never been better. Allow me to explain (and try to keep it as non-TMI as possible for the sake of any family members reading… you’ve been warned).
Prior to trying to have a baby, every time I had sex there would be a natural anxiety of “I hope I don’t get pregnant.” This is a very real thing women experience. The TV show “Girls” actually addressed this a couple episodes back (or maybe it was in the episode recap with Lena Dunham afterwards), but either way, if you’re in the baby-making age range, you can’t help but worry about getting pregnant every time you do the deed, even if you’re on birth control. From the time we first learn about sex, that possibility is in the back of your head.
Then something strange happens when you’re actually trying to make a baby. Sex becomes almost clinical. Sure, it’s still fun, but you’re filled with purpose and a different kind of anxiety: Are we going to succeed in getting the sperm to the egg? Am I ovulating? How long should I keep my legs up after sex (thanks “Big Lebowski” for this hot tip). Etc, etc. And if it takes more than one cycle (which it often does), sex can start to feel like a chore. There’s charts and graphs you have to fill out to make sure you’re in your fertile window and that can be anything but sexy. Plus, as a woman, most of the time you don’t care about your own pleasure (or I didn’t) because that wouldn’t make a difference in my mission to make a baby. And since there are only certain times you can conceive each month, you better be willing to get between the sheets, no matter how late you or your spouse is working. Ovulation doesn’t care if you’re tired or have a headache, ladies.
Forget about sex during the first trimester. You feel sick and/or tired all the time. Your body is changing in ways that make you feel more like a science experiment than a human. And there’s real worries (albeit unfounded) about harming the baby growing inside you. So, let’s skip ahead.
After my procedure, I was on “pelvic rest” for six weeks. That meant no sex, no baths, no working out, no fun. It was horrible. And let me tell you, when you’re going through the emotional fallout of losing a baby, all you want to do is have some sort of release. Sex and baths are my go-to. I’m sorry for anyone who encountered me during this time — I was a real grouch.
After three weeks (I’m physically a fast-healer, I guess), we got the go-ahead to continue our normal activities. I was thrilled that I could take baths and work out again; less thrilled about the sex. And it’s not that I don't enjoy sex, but after going through a traumatic experience and retaining fifteen pounds of baby weight without a baby (and let me tell you… that can really screw with a girl), sex felt scary. And sad.
In time, though, something happened that no one prepared me for: sex actually became even better than before! It’s true! And I think it’s for a couple of reasons. First of all, during pregnancy you become more in tune with your body than ever before. Every cramp, every ache, every hormone-swing, I was fully aware. And becoming more in tune with your body makes you more in tune with what feels good. You see where I’m going here, right? The other component I wasn’t prepared for was for the first time in my sexual life, I wasn’t worried about getting pregnant and I wasn’t actively trying to have a baby. I could simply enjoy sex. That was very freeing. Sidenote: men, is this how you feel constantly?! Lucky ducks.
I’m happy to report that once I got over my body image issues (ok, I’ll be honest… I’m still not quite over them no matter how many times my husband and girl friends tell me I look good, but I’m trying), but once my body image issues and the trauma got a little easier to cope with, my sex life has never been better. That’s something I never thought I’d be able to say. That’s something no one ever prepared me for. And that’s something I’m so immensely grateful for after everything. I think my husband is too.