Sure, we expect to put sex on hold for a while just before and after the birth, but most of us naively assume that things will eventually return more or less to normal. Unfortunately for many couples it doesn’t work out like that. Although it’s true, as Snellen points out, that while no one ever died from lack of sex, sometimes it can make a relationship feel a little bit under the weather.
As the author points out, while no one ever died from lack of sex, sometimes it can make a relationship feel a little bit under the weather.
Dr Martien Snellen is a psychiatrist with an extensive practice in relationship counselling. In this new edition of his immensely well received book (originally released as Sex & Intimacy after Childbirth) he explores the factors that can affect your sex life when you have a new baby. From changes in body image to serious health issues like postnatal depression; from divergent levels of interest to just not being able to find the time. Most importantly, he offers practical suggestions to help get the spark back – for both of you.
This book is a godsend for any new, or newish, parent who thinks their other relationship could do with a little attention too.
Yes, this book should seem a little familiar as Snellen previously published it as Sex & Intimacy after Childbirth: rediscovering desire in your relationship in 2005. The cover is different, but the content is the same.
Sex is a subject that is easy to worry about but hard to talk about, and we do worry whether it’s ever going to get back to normal. This book should bring enormous reassurance. The whole message is to be patient and kind to each other and to understand that life isn’t the same all the time, it’s a journey. Snellen shows how through a shared vision and small, consistent stages of intimacy building, you can get back to where you used to be. And while life changes, embrace the experience (as well as your partner). It is perhaps not so much the doing, as the thinking that needs to adapt, after all, it’s not a race.
The book is divided into two parts; ‘What pulls new parents apart’ and ‘What they can do to get back together’. You actually feel better after reading it and there are plenty of easy-to-read amusing vignettes.
After considering the physical changes brought by childbirth and their effect on libido, Snellen moves on to the effects of lack of sleep – and here everyone would agree with him – new parents definitely need more sleep!
Social commentator Susan Maushart has described ‘the best foreplay as being eight consecutive hours of sleep.’ If you can’t manage this, then read this book instead. Have patience, think happy thoughts and remember you’ve just produced a wonderful little baby.
Text Publishing Company (2005)
Reviewed by Helen Jeffcoat, Coordinator of the ABA Book Review Working Group