Just as soon as the first flush of parental excitement has faded, the new baby is sleeping more than twenty minutes at a time, and you’re able to sit down without an inflatable ring, the question of sex rears its er… head.
“Oh darling…” your husband whispers, as he slips into bed beside you, a hopeful hand ferreting beneath your brushed cotton jammies, fingers struggling to locate the furrow where your Spanx pants end and your nursing bra begins. “Harry’s six weeks old today”.
This will be the only time your husband knows for certain how old your children are, so make the most of it. Just as you have always known exactly how many weeks pregnant you are, whilst your husband pontificates that you are “about half-way now”, so you will always know the precise age of your offspring, in days, weeks, months and eventually years. Your spouse, however, has latched onto just one date. One phrase has leapt out at him from the scores of pregnancy manuals littering the house. Just a solitary sentence out of the entire NCT antenatal course has filtered into his consciousness and quite possibly into his Blackberry as an Outlook reminder;
“it is advisable to wait until the six week check with your GP before having sex”.
An innocuous instruction prompting a dismissive snort the first time I read it. You actually think I’m considering having SEX again? Somehow, when men read this same sentence, the words get thrown up in the air and jumbled up, and when they fall back down again they read;
“you can have sex again when your baby is six weeks old”.
Which just isn’t the same thing at all.
I honestly don’t know how it happens, but a chat with my mummy friends over a glass of vino has revealed that each of us has had to fend off an amorous partner on the stroke of six weeks. With an over-enthusiastic labrador as a bed-fellow, there are a variety of pysiological stalling techniques at your disposal, from spurting milk ducts to unmentionable goings on down below, designed to deter even the most ardent admirer from delving too deep.
P-Day for me was around 10 weeks after having the twins when I finally decided I had to get it over with, if only to stop my frustrated husband from using so much hot water when he disappeared into the shower every morning. We are on a meter, after all. I was so busy gritting my teeth and wondering if the cross-stitch would hold, that I forgot about contraception until the crucial moment, interrupting Husband’s “Yes, yes, yes!” with a howl of “Noooooooooooo” as I wriggled out of harm’s way before our new-found fertility became responsible for another batch of babies.
It is with nostalgia that I look back on the pre-baby sex of my early married days; the spontanity, the raw desire, the ability to orgasm without leaking wee… Forget working full-time, or running a business, there is nothing that epitomises multi-tasking more than a post-natal woman having sex. Holding in your stomach for an hour (well okay, fifteen minutes) whilst simultaneously tightening your pelvic floor in an attempt to redress the fact that you now have a vagina like Dumbledore’s sleeve, is a feat not to be sneezed at.
Last night I was caught up in the moment and allowed Husband to flip me over and take me from behind against the kitchen table. (No, I don’t know what came over me either, but Eastenders had finished and my wireless connection was on the blink. The scrubbed pine has had a good going over from Mr Muscle. Which makes two of us). I glanced down at my erst-while slender torso, where my spaniel-ear bosoms swung enthusiastically yet pathetically, like marbles in knee-high socks, incapable even of masking the corrogated curtain of stomach skin draped behind in elegant folds. In an attempt to distract myself I looked around to find something to focus on. Is that marmite on the wall? I didn’t even think we had any marmite. Oh God, I hope it’s marmite…
This morning I have a new resolution. A determination to reclaim my lost sexiness and embrace this strange new body I didn’t order, but nevertheless find myself zipped into. It has to be possible; the world is full of weird and wonderfully shaped women who have active sex lives and are presumably confident in their skins. Most of them have appeared alongside Jeremy Kyle. I have no wish to feature on reality shame-TV, however I am embracing both their wobbly bits and my own and vow to never again suck in my stomach, puff out my chest, or insist I enjoy the missionary position simply to avoid the forces of gravity. I will continue with the pelvic floors though; the Harry Potter effect can’t be ovecome by magic alone.