5 Ideas for Couples Struggling to Connect After a New Baby

Recently I received an email from a woman that had taken an Awaken Love class. Though she has embraced God’s design for sex, the arrival of another baby has left her struggling to connect with her husband.

I just had a baby about two months ago. During pregnancy and now with an infant and toddler our intimate life has been a struggle. I’m really having a hard time getting in the mood. I have a baby nursing all day long and still have some residual healing that needs to take place post birth. My husband is getting sexually frustrated and I’m sort of at a loss. It feels like I serve the kids all day long and then don’t have it in me to serve him by being there sexually. I feel like my body is just a milk machine. Do you have any advice? Is it okay to be less intimate during this life phase? I just mentally struggle with feeling like I’m ‘faking it’ with him because I do not feel sexual or turned on, no matter how hard I try 🙁 Any advice would be wonderful!

Seasons of life filled with exhaustion present extra challenges. But I am so glad this young mom asked for advice. Instead of letting the lack of sex drive a wedge in her marriage, working together they can embrace the opportunity to redefine intimacy. No easy answers exist for the exhaustion that babies, nursing and raising kids create. So let me just offer a few ideas for couples to ponder and maybe try….

Remove the Pressure

Take the pressure off and try to just connect physically. Tell your husband how hard the thought of sex is, but you know that connecting physically is important. Ask him if once you get the kids down, to crank up the heat, and just get in bed with you with no expectations or pressure. Wives need to relax and warm up to their husband’s touch again. Their husband needs to be touched too, regardless of whether you have sex. I would suggest that you do this at least weekly or a couple of times a week.

Give Your Body Time to Heal

If intercourse is still painful and your body needs time to heal, then take the time and do not force things. The two of you can share manual or oral stimulation together until intercourse can be a positive experience for both of you.

Take Care of Yourself

You need to take care of yourself and your husband needs to help. Even if you are nursing, he can care for the baby and toddler at least for an hour or two. Get out of the house, or take a bath and just relax. The more that your husband cares for the kids by himself, the more he will understand why you are so tired. The more he takes care of you, the more capacity you have to engage with him.

Avoid Lust

Your husband must carefully guard his eyes from lust – especially when you are unavailable. Lust can happen with his eyes, his thoughts, or even through the lyrics of songs. Avoiding lust will help him see you as a person and not just as the sexy wife that he loves to have sex with.

Ways to Release Tension

You could have a conversation about him taking things into his own hands once in a while. Be careful and discerning about whether this is a good idea. But better to talk about it then to just ignore it.

When we had 4 little girls, my husband did not even want me to feel guilty about being unavailable. Once in a while in the shower, he would think about me, and release some tension, so that he could be a gentler, kinder husband. Other men will masturbate next to their wife so that she can share in the experience if she wants to.

Better to be open with your husband, then to ignore the situation. If you decide masturbation is a helpful option, he must think only about you. Ask him to share with you every time so that nothing is hidden. Pray together and ask for discernment on whether masturbation will create intimacy in your marriage or division.

Final Thoughts

Though raising a family can create challenges in marriage, I encourage you to embrace it as an opportunity to create intimacy. Open up your definition of sex and connection. Learn how to talk to each other about hard things. Create a new realization for each other’s strengths and challenges. And learn how to love each other in a new way.

Comments 9

  1. Wow! Thank you so much. My husband and I are expecting our first baby in 2 weeks! While we are both a mixture of nervous and excited we have limited understanding as to how much she will really change our lives. Since I’ve been pregnant I’ve struggled with a very low sex drive. I’ve never had a high one to begin with, but my poor husband is settling for sex once a week. While I’ve enjoyed climaxing (he makes it a priority if I want him to), it’s very hard for me to even get worked up for it. I even spoke to my OB about this. She promised me that sometime after delivery my libido would return. I do have hopes for that. But reading this short blog has given me some hope and to know that it’s okay. But I’m open to any other words of advice. Both my husband and I are 38 years old. I know he is already struggling some with sexual frustration, but we do what we can to keep each other satisfied.

    • Wow, Adrienne! First of all, congrats on your new baby! What a blessing. Yes, sex and time will change dramatically after baby. Depending on hormones and balance of the hormones you may find yourself not in the mood for sex for a while. But, I definitely agree with Ruth about the no pressure/expectations. Explain to him that sometimes you don’t feel like it, but know you need it too, sometimes it takes more warming up. Also, I’m so sad to hear that your husband expects you to orgasm because he is. That is so hard. Maybe you can express that you want to be with him physically, but have no expectations for where it will go. Explain that you are open to not orgasming if it’s not what happens, and let him know that you are OK with him not too (not sure how this would be, but if that’s where he wants to take it, etc). I think a husband’s view of sex is tied up in respect, and when we are not sexually intimate then he may see it as you not respecting him. A huge hit for a man. Maybe allow him to release first, that way, if you don’t orgasm, he has (?) I know there have been so many encouraging posts about orgasm from Ruth, maybe you can read more/search more. But, I was definitely in your shoes and my husband and I really struggled around each time I was at the end of pregnancy and post partum with our first 3 children. We finally figured it out (and I think he really understood where I was coming from and matured in a lot of ways too) on our 4th baby! Not to say it’s easier, just different. But, prayers to you dear. I agree with maybe messing around manually next to each other (especially at this time of late pregnancy?).

  2. Ruth,

    If I could humbly add my thoughts into this discussion.

    Thank you for addressing this issue! I agree with your counsel and would only add this;

    One of the key focuses of your “Awaken Love” teaching (and rightfully so) is that sexual intimacy is designed by God for a wife just as much as a husband. We may approach sexual intimacy in different ways and react to different stimuli, but God designed it just as much for the wife as the husband. It is an unfortunate reality that many Christian wives (and husbands) have bought into the lie that women want emotional intimacy and men want sexual intimacy. God designed us for both.

    So, I would submit that the ultimate answer to the original question, “Is it OK to be less intimate during this life phase?” is that sexual intimacy is necessary for marriage, period. Of course, there are seasons of more or less, but it is a necessary component of a healthy marriage and we should be doing everything we can when we have issues which decrease our desire to get that desire back.

    Having said that, then it behooves a godly husband to serve his wife in helping with the children, so that she may take time to rest and restore her libido. He shouldn’t be taking care of the children just to receive sex in return, but that he may be a godly father, husband, and lover. She needs the sexual intimacy as much as he does and he needs to be (lovingly and patiently) serving her to help her get it back.

    When a wife sees her husband stepping up and sacrificing, even after a busy day at work, then it will not only help her rest, but also endear her to her husband and help her desire for sex.

    You mention considering masturbation for the husband, which I think is a wise suggestion, but also consider the same for her as she is taking her bath and relaxing as her husband takes care of the children. For a man, masturbation is “releasing”, but for a woman, masturbation may actually create desire for more sex. There are also other means she may use to help her libido, such as exercise, herbs, and rest.

    Thanks again for all you are doing!

    • mm

      Thank you for your input. I agree. Ultimately, God created sex for both husbands and wive and they need to work towards that goal. Sometimes taking off the pressure and connecting physically without expectations can be one of the quickest roads back. It can remind a wife that a husband loves her more than he loves sex. I think wives constantly battle the lie, does he really love me, or does he just want sex. When we are exhausted with young kids, we just need some help getting back on track.

      • Nutrition and rest are very important for proper hormonal function and injury repair. (or in this case, birth recovery). The Adrenal glands have much to do with all hormone production, including sex hormones. That said, the male and female glands work in concert with the Adrenals and these organs are some of the heaviest consumers of vitamin C and minerals. So, continuing to take PreNatal vitamins while nursing a baby is very important for both Mom and infant. Also a vitamin C supplement 500 to 1000 milligram doses. If a person is not taking a prenatal vitamin, a plant sourced daily vitamin is essential for good health along with a plant based mineral supplement. (daily vitamins usually don’t provide alot of minerals).

        Herbs for Libido: Ashwagandha, Schizandra berry, Chinese Date, Black Cohosh root, Chinese Angelica root, Damiana herb.

        Herbs should be used like a vitamin so always take the recommended dosages for the herbs.

        (From Richard’s wife: Certified Herbalist)

          • Maca root is a mild endocrine (general hormones) system tonic. Very nourishing if someone just needs a nudge of nutrition in the right direction. It will gently, over time, increase libido but does not work fast. If one wants faster results the other herbs previously mentioned work faster and more specificlly with libido.

            The tradition of the native peoples in the Andes mountains, where it comes from, use it cooked. So, best taken as a warm tea, an addition to soups or casseroles. It can cause stomach discomfort in some individuals if taken raw or in powder form.

            “Mrs. Richard”

  3. In most every marriage there will be times when we are not available for our husbands. I agree that masturbation can be a way for him to deal with sexual tension. At the same time I feel that we should defiantly be present with our husbands when they masturbate. This will help him to avoid lust by focusing on us. I feel that is does create intimacy too.
    Just my 2 cents…

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