No sex please, we’re new mums, says Emma Bartley - who has a three-month-old baby and a weirdly well-organised sock drawer
There’s a certain irony to writing a column called Doing It All about not doing it. But when Saira Khan revealed on Loose Women that she’d lost all desire for sex with her husband since giving birth, I understood.
I’m not saying I’m in that situation myself! As regular readers will know, I’m a very private person * cough * * cough *. But I’ve got this friend, we’ll call her “Gemma Hartley”, who had her second baby a few months ago, is still writing regularly for a leading UK website, and does not have a cleaner or nanny or personal trainer or EVEN ONE SECOND TO HERSELF TO GO TO THE TOILET SO BACK AWAY WITH YOUR SEX DEMANDS, PLEASE.
Sorry for the outburst. I feel very empathetic towards Gemma because we’re so close. Here’s why she feels about as sexy as a bucket of dirty nappies.
1. The ever-simmering cauldron of resentment
Things Gemma and her husband have rowed about today: what the toddler is having for breakfast, what to do this weekend, whose turn it is to do nursery pickup, who spends what from the joint account, who puts what into the joint account, where the baby should have its nap, the missing cupboard door. Things Gemma and her husband have agreed upon today: they do not like each other enough to have sex.
2. The baby sleeping in the bedroom
“I”m close! I’m close! I’m close! I’m -“
You try coming back from that.
3. The boobs
It is said that exclusive breastfeeding is up to 98% effective as a contraceptive. For many couples, this rises to 100% as you both pretend that the parachute-like nursing bra is fine, swerve awkwardly around each other trying to ignore fact that the boobs exist, and finally give up when the stupid things start projectile-squirting milk everywhere anyway.
4. The utter lack of sleep
The average new mother thinks about sleep every seven seconds. Good luck trying to get her to hook up with you once she’s gone to bed at night.
5. The utter lack of time
If you can’t get the whole way through a cup of tea while it’s still hot, what are the chances you’ll make it to orgasm?
6. The obsessive nesting
The other day, Gemma was organising her sock drawer when her husband came in and got amorous. She knew she should choose sex over socks. But there was only 15 minutes to go until the baby woke from its nap, and they weren’t going to pair themselves.
7. The spare tyre
When you’re still half a stone over your pre-pregnancy weight and catch yourself looking at your Somalian neighbour thinking, “`i wonder if you have to be Muslim to wear an abaya?”, you probably don’t have a whole lot of confidence about getting naked with somebody. According to my friend *reflexively squeezes spare tyre*.
8. The drudgery
How sexy does anyone feel when they spend their days dealing with a never-ending supply of snot, drool, puke and worse? Just typing that sentence, I feel like I can never have sex again.
9. The downstairs issues
There’s nothing like having a child’s head pass through your nether regions to turn you off the idea of ever having anything in there again. One friend of mine found that she’d actually closed up a few months after birth, in an impressive display of mind over matter.
10. The sad lack of booze
There is an answer to all this, of course: import-strength gin, and plenty of it. But with the possibility of getting your baby drunk on a night-time feed - or even just waking with a hangover to start your day at 5.45am… no sensible mother is going to get ruined.
Follow Emma on Twitter @Barters