I had great sex the other day. The kids were at school and I sent my husband a text to see if he wanted to come home from work for a “lunch meeting” with me. Surprising no one, he did want that lunch meeting and he knew exactly what would be on that meeting’s agenda.

This is the beauty of this new stage of our lives.

In a season where I sometimes wonder what my new role is and if anybody needs me, it has become clear that my husband still does.

As my kids become more independent, we become even more interdependent in healthy and beautiful ways.

After my husband walked out the door that afternoon, I couldn’t help but think about the version of myself from years ago. The new mom with a baby that didn’t sleep through the night and a body that seemed unfamiliar and awkward. I remember getting the go-ahead from the OB that I was healed enough for sex and I genuinely wanted to laugh. I couldn’t quite imagine that I’d ever be that healed again.

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During the years of having newborns, toddlers, and preschoolers, life is not terribly conducive to great sex.

Sometimes having a child attached to your hip all day will mean you nearly flinch when your husband tries to caress you. Not sleeping through the night for months on end will mean anytime you flop into bed, your eyes will be closed about 35 seconds later and anybody who tries to get in the way of that will feel your wrath. It’s hard to want to be intimate with someone when there’s a baby sleeping in the bassinet just a few feet away.

Magazine covers glorify how quickly celebrity moms get back to their “pre baby” weight. We feel the collective social pressure to continue on with life as though our entire identity, hormones, body shape, and sleep schedule hasn’t just changed dramatically.

We’re supposed to be sensuous and successful new moms having it all—the beautiful baby, the perfectly decorated home, the thriving career, and the fulfilling marriage (complete with mind-blowing sex). We think everybody else is somehow managing to live this life; why can’t we figure out how to put all those pieces together?

I just wish I could go back to that version of myself and give her a hug. She was tired. SO. VERY. TIRED. And she thought maybe this was just what motherhood was like. Maybe she’d never be able to have the sex she wanted again. Maybe it would always feel exhausting or like an obligation.

I just want to tell her that it gets better. So much better.

If you can find ways to connect with your husband during those sleep-deprived years, do it. Prioritize this marriage that will still be standing after your children have left. Hold hands. Fall asleep on the couch watching your favorite shows together. Get a babysitter occasionally. Write love notes. But don’t beat yourself up if sometimes sex has to take a backseat.

This is a season. Although it feels like the new normal for the rest of your life, it will be over before you know it. A day will come when you wake up feeling rested and refreshed with the shocking realization that NOBODY WOKE YOU UP IN THE NIGHT. You may go a full week before it hits you that you didn’t carry anyone up and down the stairs. Kids will learn how to make their own breakfast and will soon be out the door to school on their own.

Your life will change and all of a sudden, you may find you’re ready to have the best sex of your life.

It won’t be the best sex because your body has magically returned to its youthful shape or your pre-pregnancy weight. It won’t be because you’ve learned some new moves. It will be because you appreciate it differently. And you appreciate your husband differently.

Those years when you had to try to find a way to sneak in sex between the time you put the baby to bed and the time the preschooler would wake up from a nightmare will make you appreciate the nights when everybody is self-sufficient. The days you go without anybody crying for you to hold them will make you long for your husband to express his desire for your body. The man who does the dishes and cleans up from dinner while you’re running kids to soccer practice will become the sexiest man you can remember, no matter the way his body has changed with the years.

So give yourself grace, new moms. If sex is infrequent or a struggle, it’s OK. It may not always be this way.

Don’t lose touch with this man you love, literally or figuratively. Stay connected, but know that better days may be coming. Keep investing in your sex life now, but know that if it isn’t what you dreamed it would be or what it used to be, it may be because it’s developing into something new. Something amazing. Something better than it’s ever been. Something you’ll someday call your husband home for a midday meeting about.

Marriage takes work. Thankfully, there’s an app that can help! Lasting— the nation’s #1 relationship counseling app — provides accessible sessions designed to help you build a healthy marriage. Download and take Lasting’s free Relationship Health Assessment.

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