Listen to “162: Perinatal Mental Health & Sex – Emma Shandy Anway” on Spreaker.
Perinatal Mental Health and Sex
Emma explains what perinatal mental health is and includes thinking about pregnant, becoming pregnant and the intersection of this with your sex life. When sex becomes about having a baby, Emma points out that it can become difficult to connect with your partner. Redefining sex is the focus of her conversations with couples.
You’re Expecting; Now What?
Once pregnant, other issues creep up in terms of body and hormone changes that may affect your sex life. Emma suggests connecting with your partner by answering the question ‘what is sex to you?’ In the case of not falling pregnant, Emma finds that couples may disagree or resent each other on the way forward which can lead to them becoming disconnected and thus affecting their sex lives. In the case of actually having a child, being flexible is key to a successful sex life and keeping communication open, is part of that in a big way.
How to Handle Problems
Emma discusses statistics of traumatic events around pregnancy and divorce but mentions that there is also a big impact on couples sex lives. Sitting down with your partner and redefining sex so that you and your partner can consciously work on your sex life together is crucial to its survival. She also recommends joining a support group. This can normalize the experience for you and highlight that it can be overcome.
Links and Resources
Emma is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#119249) in Davis, California under the supervision of Karina Parker Knight LMFT (#48111).
Emma is a sex and perinatal therapist as well as a couples and individual therapist that uses emotion-focused therapy (EFT) with influences from attachment and family system theories.
She was drawn to and became interested in sex therapy in graduate school when she had the opportunity to work under Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers, and felt passionate about deepening her expertise in the field of sexual intimacy and sexual identities. After taking courses through the Northwest Institute on Intimacy (NWIOI) she is now a Certified Integrated Intimacy Professional.
She did not enter the world of perinatal mental health until she experienced my own late-term pregnancy loss which opened her up to the lack of help available to women and couples struggling with this type of trauma.