pregnancy and kids…what your friends forgot to tell you
As we gear up for our November 11th Date Your Mate event, Get Some InYour Marriage, with comedian Mark Gungor, I wanted to share the rest of Mr. Kerner’s oberservations on pregnancy and kids…and married sex.
3 Things They Don’t Tell Dads About Pregnancy
1. Your wife wants sex more than you do. As women get closer and closer to delivery, they tend to want more and more sex. This has a lot to do with increased blood flow to pelvic area, and it’s why the “big O” gets bigger and lasts exponentially longer. But for many guys, sex just gets, well, a little freakier. It doesn’t matter that we’ve heard a million times there’s no way we’re going to hurt the baby by doing it. And yes, to be totally honest, the changes to the female body may be “natural” and “beautiful,” but they’re not necessarily a turn-on.
Quick fix: Turn off the lights and share a sexy story. The mind is the biggest sex organ, and if you’re not looking at the bump, you’re less likely to worry about it.
2. Pregnancy lasts forever. From the time it takes to get pregnant, through all the trimesters, it’s like “Groundhog Day” — Every day you wake up and your wife is still pregnant, and just when you finally have the baby and the waiting is over — guess what, she’s pregnant again!
Quick fix: Enjoy it. Once the baby comes, your life will become grounded in routine. Stay in the habit of doing things as a couple and find ways to be spontaneous and unpredictable. Don’t start nesting yet—you’ll have plenty of time for that later!
3. Suddenly, you go from being center-stage to having a supporting role. There was a time not so long ago when your wife would pick out your shirt and not let you go out “wearing that tie.” Once she’s pregnant, you can walk out the door wearing only boxer shorts and she might not notice. Your baby becomes the star, the center of conversation, the person your wife thinks about 24/7. Her mommy-brain has kicked in and is in overdrive.
Quick fix: Get used to the idea of two becoming three, but also don’t lose the focus of the relationship. One of the roles guys play throughout pregnancy and children is to bring things back to the relationship. Ultimately, a happy family needs a happy couple at its center, and it’s OK to be a little selfish about your relationship and to remind your wife.
3 Things They Don’t Tell You About Having Kids
1. You really do end up choosing sleep over sex. The problem is that your days and nights are so full, and there are so many insidious distractions like e-mail and the Internet, that by the time you get into bed, you really just want to go to sleep. And very often, there’s a kid in your bed who’s afraid of monsters.
Quick fix: Having a healthy sex life is vital to having a healthy relationship. You have to make it a priority. I advise couples to make an effort to have sex at least once a week. And I try to live by that rule in my own relationship.
2. Your social life becomes one long, never-ending play date. Once you have kids, you really will lose touch with all of your old friends; you really will stop going out. You will never be able to kick back and relax again. You will make best friends with other parents, and all you’ll ever do is talk about kids. Terms like “playful parenting” will roll off the tip of your tongue.
Quick fix: In my case, my wife wanted a third kid and I was adamant about not having another. So we ended up adopting a puppy. And guess what? I have another new term in my vocabulary: “puppy playdate.”
3. You tell yourself you’re one big loving family, but your kids want to kill each other. I was an only child. Now I have two boys, and I can’t leave the room for 30 seconds without World War III breaking out! We just naturally assume that kids benefit from having siblings, but some of the happiest families I know are ones with only one child. Not that I don’t love both my boys, but my wife is always talking about how much our boys love each other, and I’m like, “Really?!” They seem more like Harry Potter and Voldemort, engaged in an epic battle to smite each other.
Quick fix: Take some time for yourself. Put on your iPod and walk around the block for 15 minutes. A few minutes of quiet time helps you manage the noise.
Need more tips for kid-proofing your sex life? Head over to Good in Bed, where I’ll be answering your questions about sex, marriage, and family all week.
Ian Kerner is a sex therapist and New York Times best-selling author of numerous books including “She Comes First” and “Love in the Time of Colic.” He is the founder of Good in Bed, and lives with his wife and two sons in New York City.