Hanging on to a half way decent sex life after having a baby, is no easy task. Many women are not just exhausted, they simply don't feel like a bit of slap and tickle. But with a little planning and sensitivity, the earth can move again. Honest!
You're waiting for reassurance, aren't you? You're expecting to be told yes, it all happens just like it did before - the earth moves, bodies unite in blissful passion, tender emotions rekindle&
Dream on. Actually, any dreaming at all would be nice, wouldn't it? Just enough sleep to allow you to drop into a nice escapist dream would be a glorious plus. Sleep deprivation is a major turn-off to sex. You hit the pillow in a frenzy of eagerness to slot in two or three hours sleep before the next feed.
Your hunk climbs in next to you and slides a hopeful hand across to your side of the bed and what do you do? Either push him away with an exasperated moan or stop him in his tracks with a determined snore.
So, you see, you are not alone in this apparent sexual desert. Indeed, I decided to do a little research on the subject. I strolled around the playgrounds of a couple of nearby schools and started asking mums the question: 'Is there sex after kids?'.
I got a lot of blank looks. Then, as the women started to click to what I was asking, I got a lot of amazed giggles.
'No!' they chorused - not just no, like 'no, nice of you to ask, but I'm not the person to help', but 'no' in a sassy 14-year-old movie star way, as in 'no, how dumb are you to even dream that could be a possibility?!'.
Things were looking grim. I was faced with a research finding that indicated a future similar to the Republic of China's one-child-only way of life. But what do researchers know?
I suddenly started to realise that all these apparently celibate mums had two or even three rugrats biting their ankles. I pointed this out to them. They shook their heads disbelievingly. 'Yes,' they said. 'I've noticed him/her too. I think it was an Immaculate Conception.'
Getting back to sex after kids comes slowly for many couples. Some can't wait, of course - well, rock on to them! But for lots of women there are all sorts of physical, emotional and practical turn-offs.
As in tiredness; feeling that your body belongs to your baby, especially if you're breastfeeding; worries that you may be a bit stretched and cavernous after the baby's exit and somehow not as satisfying to your partner.
As in - well, cripes, anything can make you burst into tears! And no one understands the pressure you're under! And how can you dare take your mind off everything else for sex when there's a vulnerable little bundle of life depending on you so totally?
As in being disturbed by that familiar cry just as you're getting into your first flutter of sexual arousal. Just listening out for it tends to take your mind off the job.
So where's the practical advice? You didn't click on just for a dose of gritty cyber cynicism, did you? OK, here are the three magic rules for sex after kids:
Forget all that romantic do-it-when-the-mood-takes-you stuff. Make a decision as to when and tell him.
Obviously you'll use a bit of sensitivity here, but most partners are so delighted at the prospect that they'll gladly respond to any invitation even if it sounds like a military bulletin. Now you have a plan and a commitment to it.
Feed the baby, put it to sleep and close the door firmly. If necessary, put on music to block out any cries - after all, we're not talking pre-nuptial marathon sessions any more.
Things may have changed in some ways, and you might need to talk to your partner about your feelings.
If you want to take it slower, tell him. If you want to hold off full intercourse at first, tell him that too - and suggest some other ways to reassert that essential physical bond.
Because it is essential: life and love do and must go on, preferably together.
Just remember that hundreds of thousands of women have done it - had sex, had babies, had more sex, had more babies - for hundreds of thousands of years.
And remember that you used to enjoy it. And you will.
By Delia Rothnie-Jones. Delia has been a journalist for 12 years, specialising in travel, advertising and children's issues and ideas. She's written for publications both overseas (British Elle, the UK Independent, Johannesburg Star, Hong Kong Tatler) and in Australia, and has taught a number of writing workshops in both Johannesburg and Sydney. She has two children and lives in Sydney.