Seriously. If I know you, look away.
If you call and tell me that you've read this post, or quote something that I've written here, so help me I will scratch you from my Christmas card list and kick you in the shins next time we meet. After I take a train to your town.
For the rest of you, those people that exist inside my computer and whom I do not know, and likely will never meet, particularly those women that have small children, please read on.
I eluded to writing "this" post last month, after a visit with my doctor, but I haven't for a number of reasons. One of which would happen to be the fact that I've been really sick and unable to drink wine. But guess what?
I'm feeling better now!
And look what I'm sipping on!
But the true catalyst for this post, is that today, I received an e-mail from a friend that read:
"... about breastfeeding and Doing It, which I am calling Doing It because I want to avoid the spam filter, not because I don't like to say the word. Will you nod or shake head to this question: Is it normal to be basically DEAD BELOW THE WAIST? And also above it? I don't remember having this problem [before] and that's worrying me a little. I have no interest. NO INTEREST! I would be calling the doctor already, but you made that remark that seemed encouraging about how your doctor evidently said it's normal? Blink twice for "yes, normal," once for "um, no, call the doctor."
So here we go. After I just take one more ... little ...
A few months ago, I read an interesting article that indicated the average married couple will have sex three times a week. The article went on to say that if a couple is having sex less than 10 times a year, they are considered sexually starved.
Now, if we were to draw a parallel between the amount of food we ate, and say, the amount of sex we have, we would have had our last meal ... let's see, how old is Henry? ... 18-months ago.
October of 2006. The seventh, to be exact.
This would be the time that my husband threw his back out so badly that he couldn't walk and my mother had to fly in to help with the children. And every time mom asked "How do you think Charlie threw his back out?" I'd blush and say "Uh, moving furniture, I guess."
And I think she asked just because she liked to see me blush, because my mother reads my blog and she knew darn well why my husband was incapacitated. And then two weeks later, after my mother left to fly home, while my children were in the midst of rotavirus, I discovered that I was expecting Henry.
And there were some very good reasons why suddenly we stopped ... eating. And although there was a lot of smiling at our house, the smiley faces on our calendar disappeared.
We had three two-year-olds in the house that vomited for almost the entire month of October. And, I was feeling exhausted because I was pregnant. And then, whoa, very soon I was starting to get really big and swollen, and although there are some women who feel sexy with their belly sticking out, I'm not one of them.
And then, there's a new baby and surgery to recover from and sleepless nights and nursing and little people affixed to my body almost every moment of every day. And then, there's Comedy Central and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and my gosh, if I don't watch The Daily Show, how will I know what's going on in the world?
Is it not important for me to know what is happening on this planet in which I live?!
And then it's late and I'm tired and yes, maybe if I went to bed before 11:30 every night, I'd have the energy - but I don't, and I don't - and the reason I don't is because there are little children affixed to my body almost every moment of every day and milk streams that could put out an eye and quite honestly, that little bit of time at night is the only time I have to my self and if you know what's good for you, you will keep your hands to your self.
So, when I went to go see the doctor in February for something completely unrelated to ... eating ... I very tentatively asked if it was uh, normal that my appetite was uh, dead.
And the kind doctor, nodded his head and said "Yes. It is very normal. Because when you are breastfeeding, your estrogen level dips and estrogen is what controls your sex drive. So, once you stop breastfeeding, your estrogen level will return to it's normal level and all will be well in the land of bow chica bow wow."
That certainly helped to explain a lot. But, there were other factors at play. There's the whole mental trauma that I went through before I even became a mother. Somewhere between the shots and the exams and the charting and the surgeries and the emotional roller coaster and the hormonal craziness because of the drugs that I was pumping in to my body every other month, the whole act of "love making" became intercourse for the sole purpose of creating new life. The intimacy side of our marriage took a severe beating. It was knocked down and kicked and dragged through the mud and told "Yo, go make me a sandwich, beyotch."
And then there were the romantic exchanges that consisted of "Hurry the heck up, would you already!! We have to get to the doctor's office and traffic north on the 805 will be a nightmare. Focus!! STAY FOCUSED!!!"
I'm pretty sure that in his wildest dreams, that's what every man wants to hear.
So imagine my surprise, when after trying for almost 10 years to have a baby, and after the birth of our triplets when sex was the farthest thing from my mind, shazam, I become pregnant without a team of doctors in the room or any gentle words of ... encouragement.
Little kids lead to little sex.
And sometimes, a little sex can lead to (more) little kids.
Now, many women assume that you cannot get pregnant while you are breastfeeding. But here is a little known fact: Most women do not get pregnant while they are breastfeeding because most women who are breastfeeding are not having sex. Perhaps putting a temporary kibosh on the female libido is mother nature's way of insuring that women don't have babies too closely together.
Whatever the case, I have yet to meet a breastfeeding mother who is not bordering on complete celibacy. For that matter, I have yet to meet a mother with a baby less than a year old, who if given the choice, would rather pull her small toenail off then "do it".
This isn't something that very many women openly discuss. It's a personal thing. It's private. But I love to chat with new mothers that I meet, and usually after I ask them how their baby is sleeping, I'll smile and inquire, "So, how's your love life?"
And every single time I have ever asked this question, the women will give me a look of absolute disbelief and say "OH MY GOD. It is totally DEAD."
And I suspected that they would answer this, before I even asked, which is why I asked in the first place, because I am collecting data in case I ever go back to school for my PhD, my dissertation is going to be "The effect of children on the parental sex life."
It could be hormonal. Or maybe it's sleep deprivation. Or maybe it's the physical closeness that women have with their baby (ies) everyday that renders them not willing - or able - to maintain a physical closeness with their spouse at the end of a long day. The women are physically tapped out. But for the men in these situations? The poor buggers are deprived and starved. Not just sexually, but emotionally. And seriously? That's not a good thing. Because after a certain period of time, a marriage will suffer.
So if you find yourself in this situation, what can you do about it?
Well... I'm no Doctor Ruth, but two weeks ago, people around the globe turned off their lights for an hour to recognize Earth Hour. And what started off as an hour - wound up being more than an hour, for us. Once we turned off the television and the computer and the stereo and every single light in the house, and lit candles, we focused on each other more than we have since October of 2006.
It is so easy to get distracted by life. Especially when you have young children to care for and a house to clean and a dog to feed and bills to pay and e-mail to check one last time before you go to bed.
But if you find yourself in a similarly starved situation?
Turn off the power and light candles.
Eventually, you will find your libido.
Or, at least, something that looks kinda like it.