Whenever I bring this topic up while speaking to a group, there are always a few red faces and eyes darting to the floor. Frankly, that's what makes it such an important point to discuss. Many of us find it hard to express our sexual needs, desires, fears, and insecurities under the best of circumstances. When you add grief to the mix, it can get really dicey and be a topic we simply want to avoid.
If you are lucky enough to be comfortable talking about this stuff to your partner, you are lucky, and probably will not see what the big deal is. But, if you find this difficult, it can be a real source of problems that can result in adding to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
So -- when is the right time to resume sexual relations? When is the right time to start trying to have another baby? What if one of you wants to try again but the other just isn't sure they want to?
Unfortunately, there are no black and white answers to any of these questions. Like everything, it depends on your situation -- physical condition, emotional state of mind, relationship, and numerous other factors. Often times people will hear that you should wait a minimum of six months to a year before trying again. Depending on the circumstances and timing of your loss, that makes total sense, and any decision about the physical and emotional risks of another pregnancy should first be discussed with your doctor.
Sometimes the tougher question can be when to resume being intimate? Again, physical considerations are part of that decision, but most of the time this decision "simply" requires communication between you and your partner about your feelings.... Come to think of it, maybe THAT'S why I recall avoiding this topic with my wife.
Seriously, while we definitely felt close emotionally in our need to be held and comforted -- especially when trying to sleep through the night -- neither of us mentioned how we were feeling about sex. When it got to the point that I was feeling like I wanted to, I wondered how I would deal with the guilt of having a moment of pleasure? Those feelings were compounded because I then wondered if it would affect my performance, and that REALLY made me insecure! But, once we were able to talk about it and I realized that we each had our own set of emotions surrounding that moment, we were able to relax and things just happened naturally.
As for another pregnancy, after discussing our situation with our doctor, he felt comfortable supporting us in trying again. Because it had taken us over two years to get pregnant the first time, we decided that we should go for it sooner than later since we were in agreement about wanting more children, if possible. Surprisingly, Monica got pregnant right away, and three months after Kathleen's death, we were expecting another baby. We were very happy, of course, but we had not stopped to think what our timing in starting to try could potentially mean. Our next child was actually due on Kathleen's birthday, and the feelings of deja vu were tremendously stressful for me. I found myself working hard to not get excited because the bliss of pregnancy was gone and it simply became a time to survive. Even all these years later, I have some regrets about what I missed out on during that time in terms of being able to feel the anticipation and excitement of expecting a child.
Keep in mind this is only MY experience. I can definitely tell you that Monica did not feel the same way and her version of this story would be very different from what I just shared.
I guess that really is the point. Don't think that any story you hear suddenly means you know how you're going to feel. These decisions are unique to you and very important to your relationship. No desire or fear is wrong and there is no reason to judge harshly either yourself or your partner. While you may not have previously ever had the need to discuss your sex life with your mate because you were on the same page, know that may not be the case right now. It certainly doesn't mean your marriage is in trouble, but you both should realize the importance of being open and understanding of one another.
I hope others of you will share how you dealt with these decisions and offer any insights you have. The beauty of the blog is that if your face gets red, none of us will ever be the wiser.