Dear Mama,

You have a child. Or several. Maybe your baby was just born, or perhaps your kids are entering school age.

It’s a miracle that they were born at all, considering how little you have sex.

The thought of sex makes you have a tiny burst of desire before you cringe. All that touching. All that moving around. All that work. Putting something back into a vagina that recently popped a baby out.

No, thank you.

It’s gone on this way for awhile. Resentment creeps in when you think of sex. So does guilt. A lot of guilt.

And then there’s the fear. What if you don’t put out enough for your husband? Are you losing your connection? Will he leave you?

You expected that you’d be as devoted to your children as you are to your husband. You thought having kids would make you inexplicably, magically, head-over-heels connected with the person who was once the love of your life.

You didn’t know that it would make him repel you like oil on water.

It’s not that your husband has done anything wrong. You love him more than ever (can someone please remind him of that?), but the thought of getting intimate makes you recoil.

You can get over this feeling. About every full moon. (Who am I kidding? I have gone at least four months without getting down and dirty). And when you do, the memories start flooding back. You slowly lose yourself in it, you even enjoy it. You end the session snuggling in each other’s arms and wondering how you lost this kind of connection.

You don’t want to admit it, but sometimes you shed a tear.

Then that magic slowly peters out as the next four weeks go by.

The women in your mommy groups on Facebook say that they try to have sex once a week or more. You hear that you’re supposed to “fake it till you make it” or “use it so you don’t lose it.” But all that pressure makes you want to do it even less.

You know what? I’ve been there, too. So has every mom. Many are still in it. If they’re not, they may enter this stage again.

You’re totally normal. There’s nothing wrong with you, your libido, or your relationship.

This is a new season. You’ve never experienced it before. The love you have for your children is a new kind of love. The partnership you feel with your spouse is a new kind of love, too. It’s not better or worse than the love you had before. It’s just different. It’s going to take some learning about. It’s going to take some exploring. And that’s what you’re doing.

Your sex life isn’t your whole life. It doesn’t define your relationship. It’s just another aspect of it. It weighs in pretty equally with communication, vulnerability, and trust.

So why do we put so much pressure on the sex part instead of the communication, vulnerability, and trust parts? You don’t hear your friends say say, “I feel like I have to communicate with my husband at least once a week, or I’m afraid he will leave me.”

Maybe it’s because we compare ourselves to that one friend who has morning sex while her kids are banging on the bathroom door.

Maybe it’s because society pushes sex on us.

Maybe it’s because we’re too tired to work on the other aspects of our relationship, and sex seems like the easiest place to start.

The more pressure you put on yourself, the more the resentment and guilt will rise up. Instead of sex being about connection, it starts becoming a competition. You start logging the frequency instead of paying attention to the intimacy. You notice when it’s missing, but you don’t nurture it while it’s there.

Instead of working on communication, vulnerability, and trust with your partner, you tally up your bedroom habits.

Is sex the only thing that differentiates your marriage from a friendship? No. If sex was that important, what would be the point of getting married? Didn’t we all have more consistent sex before we were married, or is that just me?

The foundation of a committed, long-term relationship is more than just sex. It’s the communication, vulnerability, and trust that develops when you share a life with someone.

So next time you worry that you haven’t had sex in a while, remember that this is simply a different season. You’re focusing on another important aspect of your partnership that’s not more or less significant than your sex life. It’s just different.

This is another page in the book of your relationship story.