My mailbox is full of baby pictures—the baby who loves train journeys, the baby who just got a new wardrobe from Fabindia, the baby who almost never made it but then miraculously came home on New Year’s day, the baby who lives in Vancouver and sings the sweetest version of Jana Gana Mana you’ve ever heard (that’s a Youtube video, actually) and the baby who won’t get out of his Superman costume. My screensaver is three girls in a swimming pool—identical twins who are exact opposites and a just-adopted sweetheart in her first bikini. It’s quite obvious I love other people’s babies. Or should I say, other people’s baby photographs.
It’s not that I don’t like children. Ask my nieces—the two that live here won’t stop chattering every time we meet. It’s a joy to go on long walks with them, hear what happened in sculpture class, invent a secret club and play detective games, break it to them that Barbie is the ultimate loser and they need to get over her. Quickly.
But then they’re older than three.
Small babies scare me. I don’t have any, but I’ve seen the transformation often enough. Overnight you turn into a person who doesn’t mind smelling of thrown up milk, diaper rash worries replace all those fears about global warming, you can’t remember the last movie you saw and sex, yes, that becomes a soft-focus, Gautam Rajadhyaksha style memory. Something you actually enjoyed (and indulged in regularly) in your life before B-A-B-Y.
After a full day of cleaning up bodily fluids, it is not surprising that sex is not top of anyone’s mind. Parenthood changes everything. The first bit of good news is that you’re not alone. The second bit of good news is that they’re actually doing global research to figure out the extent of the problem. One study found that two-thirds of couples experience a significant decline in marital satisfaction—less frequent sex, more conflict, more emotional distance—after the first baby arrives. Read the full story on Page 12.
And remember, with a little effort, it’s easy to fix, too. These days, there are many books that promise to help. The authors of Babyproofing your Marriage (we bought our copy at Landmark bookstore) have even come up with the Five-Minute Fix. Alas, this is a family newspaper so I can’t spell it out, but it’s a simple sexual activity that takes five minutes, it doesn’t require you to get undressed (or talk) and it’s guaranteed to keep your husband thinking you’re a goddess. Don’t forget to read the rest of the issue.
(Write to firstname.lastname@example.org)