Grin and bear it? Give. Me. Strength.

There are few things that annoy me quite as much as online banking with HSBC and their stupid keypad and ridiculous amount of security questions. (That’s probably another blog post for another day) But self-proclaimed childcare gurus? They are way up there. In fact, just the very title makes my teeth itch.

The divorced and childless ‘parenting expert’ that is Gina Ford has proclaimed that new mothers shouldn’t say no to sex, even if they are not ready. What the what?! I should learn not to read this crap I really really should but I just can’t help myself. Her latest gem being that we should be ready to rekindle the passion within four to six weeks of popping out a sproglet. This of course from a woman who has never popped out a sproglet.

This whole thing gives me The Rage like you wouldn’t believe.

First up, I should be quite clear in saying that I am not a believer in the whole baby manual thing full stop. For starters, I always think that the fact that a baby can’t read is quite a stumbling block. How are they supposed to know what they should and shouldn’t do and at what time if they can’t read? Plus, I prefer my babies to be, well, babies. I don’t want to train them like a well behaved dog. In my experience, that’s not quite how babies work. Newborn babies aren’t very good at clock watching either I find so I struggle to see how they can possibly fit within such a rigid routine without knowing what time it is. But yet people seem to buy these books by the droves. Some claim to have great success with them. Me? I would never consider them. Nobody knows my baby better than me. But hey, horses for courses and all that. No two babies are ever the same and what works for one, won’t necessarily work for another. I know that having had four of my own. Anyway, I digress.

This latest gem from Gina Ford suggests that we hop back in the saddle within weeks of giving birth as men can often feel emotionally closed off. It’s suggested that you should ‘grin and bear it’ even if you don’t feel ready. I’m sorry but aren’t new mothers under enough pressure? Having spent the last nine months carrying then giving birth to a baby and having to come to terms with the physical and emotional changes that all of this brings, can we not leave it to her to decide just when the time is right? Don’t get me wrong, I know for some women things in the bedroom do get straight back on track. Lucky them I say! Hell, I had a friend who found out that she was pregnant again at her six week post natal check up. But just the very suggestion that there should be a ‘guideline’ for such a hugely personal step is quite simply mind boggling to me.

Personally, I was never physically ready this early on let alone emotionally. Besides which, I think it is sadly misguided to think that the only way to make your partner feel emotionally included is to have sex with him. Whilst in my mind sex is a huge (and let’s face it, bloody marvellous) part of a loving relationship, I’m sorry but right after giving birth, it is not the be all and end all. You just can’t put a time limit on some things and this is most definitely one of them. And of course, any caring partner will understand this. There are so many other ways to feel emotionally close without having sex that you don’t necessarily want, surely? I couldn’t honestly think of anything worse than having sex before you felt physically or indeed emotionally ready for that side of your relationship to return. Why is it that from the very second a woman becomes pregnant, all of a sudden her body somehow becomes open to public discussion? Can’t she decide for herself when she is ready? And don’t get me started on the whole ‘grin and bear it’ aspect. Oh. My. Godfathers. What kind of man would want to have sex with his partner who was grinning and bearing it anyway?

I must admit that the cynic in me believes that sometimes such controversial advice is doled out for controversy’s sake. I really shouldn’t let it wind me up quite as much as it does. But I can’t help myself. This time I just think that even by Gina Ford’s standards, she has gone too far. I can’t help but think of some poor new mother who turns to one of these bloody books for help and ends up being giving this most ridiculous advise under the guise of being from some sort of ‘expert’. Give. Me. Strength.

Rant over. For now. Or at least until the next guilt-inducing book hits the shelves.

35 thoughts on “Grin and bear it? Give. Me. Strength.

  1. (Just)Above Average Mum says:

    Well said.

    I know her methods may work for some, but they’re not for me. I understand the ‘grin and bear it’ was a quote taken from the book from one of the mum’s she interviewed, but by her including this in her book she is basically saying this is ok. Gina Ford has never been through the actual act of childbirth, so she just has no idea what things are like down ‘there’ whether you had a straight forward delivery or 3rd degree tears.

    I’m sure her savvy pr released these quotes to get us talking and boy have they succeeded! But of course I doubt we’ll actually ever hear from the ‘expert’ herself as she doesn’t appear to take criticism lightly without the threats of legal action.



  2. Carly says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, let me share a story with you & you can see if you are as shocked as I was:

    My friend (F) had a baby in December, horrific birth and she really suffered afterwards. By April her husband had left her for another woman, she was distraught. I was there for her and helped as much as I could. By July I thought it was time for a bit of a girls night out so I invited her out with me and another friend, after a few drinks the chat, as it inevitably does, turned to sex. F said that she hadn’t had sex all year & couldn’t imagine ever wanting it again. When F had gone home I was telling my other friend that I was worried about her and that I was so furious with ex hubby for doing that to her. Do you know what my other friend said?!? ‘Yea, I feel bad too, but when she’s telling us she hasn’t had sex all year (so in the 14 weeks between traumatic birth & hub leaving) you can kind of understand it.’ She then went on to say that after having her baby she had let her husband ‘get on with it’ after about 8 weeks.

    Needless to say, the night ended there. I was FURIOUS that this could be seen as a valid reason for him leaving and that another woman could voice this opinion so unashamedly.

    Phew – rant over! I just had to share.



  3. Helen at Casa Costello says:

    Im still gasping at your friend finding out she was pregnant at her 6 week check – would send me over the edge.

    And Gina Ford is a cow x


  4. Corinne says:

    I completely agree with all you’ve said in this post, it should be when you are both ready the sex starts and is enjoyed. Surely forcing it is no fun for anyone.


  5. Karen (kbmanc) says:

    I couldn’t have put it better myself! I’ve had 4 children too and none of them have been the same or followed the same routines but we’ve worked through it and found ways that suited my individual babies.
    As for the sex thing! Intimacy yes, closeness yes, couple time yes! Its all very important at any stage of a relationship, for both partners but for a new mum to feel pressure to stick to the guidelines set down by this woman is just unthinkable.
    Not to mention the actual physical after effects of having a baby. That doesn’t always clear up 4-6 weeks later, eeeeww!!!! What man would want to….!?
    The amount of exclamation marks I’ve used in this comment just goes to show what a rage its given me too 🙂


  6. Natalie B says:

    Great post. I was never one to follow the text books either. They always felt so restrictive and to be honest they tended to stress me out more than a baby who wouldn’t sleep. Lots of my family and friends swear by Gina Ford and the like, but like you it just leaves me feeling cold. I’d rather tend to my babies needs using my instincts and their behaviour to get me by. Yes it’s tough at times, but they don’t stay small forever. My two girls are in perfect routines, without me ever looking at a text book once, and my eight month old son is not far off.

    As for me having sex less than six weeks after giving birth. Three little words……




  7. Honest Mum says:

    Anything didatic (which seems to be Gina Ford’s style) when it comes to kids/relationships etc riles me too. Every child is an individual as you say and so is every woman/mother. I had an emergency C section and was still grappling walking well and trying to drive my car at 6 weeks let alone thinking about the bedroom department. Sheesh! x


    • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy says:

      I never had a C section so I can only begin to imagine just how hard the recovery must be. The fact that you were still grappling to walk when Gina Ford reckons we should be swinging from the chandeliers says it all really! She hasn’t got a clue!


  8. Alexandra says:

    I cant stand these so called experts. My son will be 18 this year. So i cant really remember when i finally did have sex again. I know it wasnt for a while as i had stiches. People who havent had kids shouldnt comment on things they know nothing about. The so called experts on one parent familes rile me. My dad left us when i was 12,and my sisters and i grew up fine.The worst thing i ever did was smoke. My son is part of a lone parent family. He doesnt drink,smoke or take drugs.
    I know where he is at all times. His friends that have two parents do all the things i mentioned.
    Sorry rant over.


  9. susankmann says:

    I agree, that woman is mental. She has never had any children of her own and has no idea what it is like to be a mother. After giving birth, the last thing you want is sex. There are other way to be close to your husband without sex, eg. cuddling and that’s what she should be saying no grin and bear it. That is just awful, why should we. God, I hated reading this article, it made me so angry. grrrrr…. Stomps off to find my voodoo Gina Forbes doll.


  10. Louise M. says:

    Quite simply YES to all of this!!!!! Gina Ford and similar so-called ‘experts’ make my blood boil!!!!!


  11. Emma (weeemmielou on twitter) says:

    I cant even begin to put into words how ridiculous that is! totally agree with every word u said! aftr a traumatic labour/pnd etc it was honestly about 10 months aftr birthbefore i attempted sex again cos i just did not feel up to it emotionally!
    whilst pregnant i wanted to buy some books to be prepared and stupidly bought one of gina ford’s just cos it was a best seller so thought it must be good. after havin a quick flick through it at home i never read itcos just think her views r ridiculous! i do not believe in bein strict to get babies in a routine as all babiesr different and need to learn their way through their parents own style. all this ‘the baby must fit around ur life’ makes me sick!


    • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy says:

      No I agree, the rigid routine thing is really not for me either. The thought of feeding a baby because the clock tells you so is just alien to me. And if I’m being completely honest I think a lot of her methods are borderline neglect. Leaving a baby to cry? No way. But this latest nonsense – really *is* complete nonsense. There is no contentment to be found in having sex if you don’t feel physically or emotionally ready for it. End of.


  12. Shortwife says:

    Your blog made me have a similar rant on my own – hope you don’t mind but I’ve put a link in to yours too. I’m 8 weeks from having my first baby and despite me actually wanting to have sex right now, I am so heavy that I am just too damn uncomfortable. Husb is marvellous and wouldn’t dream of trying to coerce me, in fact he feels bad that I think he wants to do and feel bad that i don’t/can’t! I know he won’t be one of the compaining ones when the time comes after the birth and i’m so lucky to be in that position. But it makes me so mad that someone who has never had children starts making these wild sweeping declarations. Anyone who is the slightest bit insecure and emotional (ie: most women post-birth!) could end up hurting themselves emotionally and physically because they think they should. Surely sisters should be sticking up for each other ? Guidance is fine, suggestions are fine, but telling us our menfolk will be unhappy and neglected and it’s all our fault is really not helpful.


    • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy says:

      I think that’s the thing. Having a baby turns your life upside down and it is so important that you don’t lose sight of your relationship but it shouldn’t be all about sex. I really don’t like the suggestion either that sex is something that we just put up with to keep our menfolk happy! I mean seriously, what year is it again?!
      Oh and thanks for linking up. Shall take a peek 🙂


  13. From fun to mum says:

    you know what? It infuriated me too, but I thought she was after publicity and controversy so I specifically chose to delete that bulls**t from my brain. That woman is just pure evil!


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