There are certain aspects of new motherhood that are so familiar, everyone can recite them: the lack of sleep, lots of crying, and never-ending laundry. Then there are the things that don't get talked about as much as they should: how hard breastfeeding can be, the postpartum hormonal roller coaster, and how long it can take to feel like yourself again — emotionally, mentally, and sexually.
There is no universal timeline for that last one, but, for Ashley Graham, who gave birth to her son Isaac in January, she's already there sexually. The model, who has been documenting her journey as a new mom — through the good and the real — recently shared her perspective on keeping an active sex life after a baby.
Jumping back into sex wasn't an issue for Ashley because she did so while embracing the changes her body went through.
"A lot of women have asked me, 'Were you afraid to have sex again?'" she told People, which is a very valid question and feeling — no matter how body positive you are.
Ashley's answer is "not at all." "The reason I wasn't was because I know my vagina was made to have a baby and to push it out," she explained.
"Everything's still in there, it all feels the same," she said, adding, "The furniture is just probably rearranged."
As amazing as it is to see Ashley's sex-positive attitude after a baby, it's worth noting that postpartum sex doesn't immediately "feel the same" for all women — once your doctor has cleared you to start again, usually at the six-week postpartum visit.
When it doesn't immediately feel good, pelvic floor therapy — and, if needed, a Kegel trainer (Elvie makes a solid one) — can be the most wonderful thing in the world to help you get back to your full spectrum of pleasure.
As for how to make time to do that, Ashley has some advice: "When you have a newborn, they usually sleep for a couple of hours, so we'll put him in the bassinet on the other side of the room and get it going."
It also helps to somehow carve out time for yourselves once a week, which she's been managing to do during the pandemic with childcare assistance: "We'll take a walk, go to dinner, take a drive," she said. "That has been something that's been really great, because 24/7 it's about Isaac and we're both working parents now, so we need that extra time for ourselves that we used to have all the time."
If you're a new mom who isn't fortunate enough to have any help during this time — I see you and feel you, as one of them — you can always designate one night a week to be a date night after baby's tucked in.
Shoutout to Ashley for always keeping it real about new mom life.