There are many big "firsts" the come after your baby is born, but there is one that, while it will greatly affect your life, won't make it into the baby book: the first time you and your spouse resume full relations. Anyone who has never had a baby (read: men) may wonder why this sex is such a big deal—after all, you made the baby, it's not like you're new to this. But you just pushed a very large (albeit adorable!) papaya out of the very place he's trying to put his eggplant. Don't worry, you're not broken. The female body is amazingly adaptive and soon enough, you'll be back to normal funtimes.
In the meantime, your husband probably has the six-week postpartum check-up (the one that normally clears you to go back to sex) circled in red on the calendar, while you may have added a mental question mark to the day. Know this: It's totally OK to wait longer if you're not feeling up to it yet. It's also totally OK to not wait six weeks if everything is feeling great and your doctor says you're good to go. (Just make sure you use protection—it's not unheard of for a woman to show up at her six-week check-up already pregnant again.) But if you've decided that you're ready and willing to go there, there are a few things you can expect that first time.
1. Somebody will get squirted on.
And I mean that in the least sexy way possible. (Or maybe it's incredibly sexy? You do you!) If you're breastfeeding, your breasts are a veritable human sprinkler system, activated by the slightest touch or even the thought of your baby. Even if you aren't breastfeeding, chances are your milk is still in the process of drying up. Sadly, boobs, like uteruses, do not come with an on/off switch!
2. The baby will cry.
Babies have a finely tuned sex meter (or perhaps just a nobody's-paying-attention-to-me meter) and will vociferously protest that you are having fun without them. This will actually continue long past the infant stage. I think all kids are born with the instinct to try and prevent ever being dethroned by a new sibling. Feel free to ignore them. They'll be fine for the 20 (or five) minutes it takes!
3. You might cry (from pain).
Some ladies bounce back with amazing quickness post-delivery; many will have some residual scar tissue, joint or back pain, hemorrhoids, tender areas, or other injuries that make that first time after pregnancy kind of like the first time ever—which, if you recall, probably wasn't your best sex. It gets better! (And if it doesn't or if it's excruciatingly painful, call your doc!)
4. You might cry (from emotion).
Everything that goes up must come down, and that includes your hormones! You're a mom now and that's a big, beautiful deal—and the enormity of that may hit you right when you're with your beloved. Happy tears, sad tears, who-knows-why-I'm-crying tears, they're all normal!
5. You will feel guilty.
New-mom guilt is a hurricane force to be reckoned with. You may feel that anything that takes you away from your baby, even for a few minutes, is bad. But you may also feel guilty about your relationship and worry you're neglecting your partner. That's one of the true miracles of motherhood—how much opposing guilt you can feel at one time! You have my official permission to let all of that go. Trust me, neither your man nor your babe wants you to feel bad about them.
6. Weird things might slip out.
You may be in it to win it one moment and creating your mental grocery list the next. It can be hard to get your head in the sex game (ahem) for many women, regardless of your uterus status. But add in a baby and all the new details you have to keep track of, and it can feel damn near impossible to focus 100 percent on sex. You may be shouting "more" and not even realize you've tacked on "diapers!" until you see your partner's surprise.
7. You will feel overjoyed to be something that's not "mom" for a minute.
Having sex, or just feeling sexy, can be a real relief! You get to feel like yourself again and reconnect with your partner in such a familiar way. Plus, you get to see how much he still adores you and is attracted to you. Which is a nice departure from how you felt 20 minutes ago, covered in spit-up.
8. You will crave postcoital sandwiches.
Remember how your spouse always enjoyed a little post-nookie cookie while you rolled over and went to bed? You might want to join him now, thanks to the extra demands on your body from breastfeeding, taking around-the-clock care of a needy infant, and/or recovering from the two-day labor process.
9. You will need a clean-up crew.
Courtesy of residual blood, breast milk, old baby spit-up, and other bodily fluids, you may need an extra towel or two.
10. Your baby may or may not be present.
Can't bear the thought of shutting your infant out of your room? Newborns are oblivious! Don't worry, they can't be scarred by something they won't even remember. It's your comfort that's paramount this first time back in the sack, so do whatever you have to do to feel happy and safe.
11. There may or may not be actual sex.
Depending on how you define "real" sex, your first time having sex may be something other than the literal P-in-V variety. Because of how childbirth went for you, your body might not be up for vaginal sex yet. NBD—you have lots of fun options. Try not to get hung up on logistics; anything that ends with two satisfied people is a win.
This article originally appeared on Redbookmag.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.