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Sex After Loss and TTC
By Hollie Brooks
When we lost our darling girl, Luna, at around six weeks into the pregnancy, our lives changed forever. Adam and I hadn’t been together long (no judgement here!) and when I gave birth to our daughter we were in different cities, communicating through text messages while I was being guided by medical professionals. Giving birth to Luna was a spiritual experience, I was at home when I realised I was having a miscarriage and I was desperate to spend those final moments with her as I knew her life was fading away; I had a warm bath with music playing gently in the hope she could feel the warmth of the bath and the warmth of her mummy. I realise she’d already passed away as she was making her way through my body and I had a complete miscarriage meaning there was no need for much medical intervention and everything went as smoothly as it could. I tried to give Luna the most beautiful birth possible in hideous circumstances. My body felt like it was just there to cater for her and her needs and, in those moments, I know I did her proud.
My body has been a bit of an anomaly to me for a while. Nearly five years ago I became disabled after a bout of meningitis and sepsis which nearly killed me. As a result, I ended up a wheelchair user. One thing they never teach you- whether you’re coming out of hospital unable to walk or after having lost a baby- is how and when to have sex again. When my disability happened, I had to figure everything out myself and masturbation played a huge part in loving my body again and realising what sensations I could still feel and what felt good. However, when it came to baby loss and that side of trauma, it was completely different.
When you lose a baby- no matter how far into the pregnancy- you’re going to experience some trauma to the vagina just like you would most births (and this is before I mention the emotional impact). Drawn together through the trauma, Adam and I spent the first weekend without our girl inside me visiting a local cathedral and lighting a candle and surviving on crying and chocolate fingers. You do what you have to do to get through. When you have a loss, your body will take a while to adjust to the fact you’re not pregnant anymore so I was being violently sick; on top of this I ended up with an extended infection caused by the miscarriage.
In total, it took Adam and I two and a half months before we had sex again and that’s my first piece of advice- as long as it’s medically safe to do so, there’s no right or wrong time to have sex again. For some it’s a key part of unfolding their emotions and bonding together, while for others your body just feels off limits. In all honestly, I don’t think there’s a right time to have sex again after a miscarriage, it will always feel emotional. I felt like Luna could see us and would be confused by what we were doing. It took Adam a long time to reassure me that Luna was protected in Heaven and showing our love for one another by having sex was perfectly OK- I wasn’t betraying our daughter.
We chose not to try and conceive again straight away, which meant using protection. I remember being asked in the hospital as I was being treated for the infection if we wanted to “have another baby” straight away and it’s such an impossible question to answer- your body and soul physically craves and grieves for the darling angel you’ve just lost but you’re terrified of it happening again. Make the decision about contraception wisely.
Sex after baby loss doesn’t have to be sexy. I cried several times at the start because it was just a huge deal reconnecting with my body and Adam’s. Over the course of about five months we got into the regular routine of having good sex again but it takes time. After a while I reignited my love for my collection of sex toys and we used them together, they allowed me to show myself I was allowed to experience pleasure just for the sake of it.
In December, we decided to actively try and conceive Luna’s sibling. A friend recently heard we were trying for a baby and remarked how exciting it was; let me tell you, trying to conceive isn’t always exciting. When you’re actively trying and choose to monitor your cycle and ovulation peaks, you can both very quickly feel the pressure to make sure you’re in the mood because you don’t want to miss out on the egg being in the right place at the right time.
While we haven’t been trying for long compared to a lot of people out there, we’ve learned a thing or two about sex while trying to conceive. My first piece of advice is to indulge in some sexy underwear- that’s on both parts. Wearing something sexy, with the sensual feel of material against your skin, can make you feel like an absolute goddess and not just a baby making machine. I don’t always dress up but it does make a difference when I do.
Secondly, when trying to conceive, it doesn’t have to be some holy love making experience with harps playing to be the perfect conception. In reality, you might both be knackered from work and a quick session is enough to satisfy you both and hopefully produce a baby. I used to worry about what music our child was being conceived to, before I realised how utterly ridiculous that was.
Finally, foreplay is still super important. You might want to get to the main act straight away if your focus is just on getting pregnant but remember this is about pleasure too and letting yourself relax as you go down on your partner and get lost in that moment means a happier and healthier pair of people all round. Use toys, try some tickle play if that’s your thing and never ignore the clit in all of this!
Whether you’ve lost a child and are considering having sex again or you’re actively trying for your first, sex should be a consensual and sensual act that doesn’t have to tick every box. Remember, what you see in films, on TV, in porn and on social media isn’t real- you are you, you are unique and there is no right or wrong way to do anything when it comes to sex.