The Collins English dictionary definition of “intimacy between two people is a very close personal relationship between them.”

Before we became parents, intimacy was probably much more tactile, sexual and dare I say, exciting! The definition, and therefore expectation of intimacy for our relationship was aligned much more closely to the second part of the dictionary definition “people sometimes use intimacy to refer to sex or a sexual relationship.”

What we didn’t realise was that feeling of ‘togetherness’ and ‘closeness’ that felt so natural, was because we had equal levels of emotional and sexual intimacy. We had time to be completely at ease with one another, enjoy long lazy mornings, laugh, relax and be joyful.

Intimacy is vital for relationship satisfaction, but it does exist in a myriad of everyday moments – not just the bedroom. When you’re pregnant and have a baby, the way that you both want to express and receive intimate moments changes. While prioritising time together strengthens your feeling of connection, closeness, and alignment, it’s important to respect how intimacy might feel different. Maybe in the short term. Maybe in the long term. Your relationship is still the beating heart of the family, but it might feel different now.

Do you know the myriad of ways you feel intimacy in your relationship?

Have you talked about what the important intimate moments are for both of you?

Do you understand how they connect?

If we remember that intimacy is “a very close personal relationship”, we feel and build it through the

  1. Physical ways we show affection. This might be simple forms of touch, like a hug or hand hold.
  2. Ways we express our emotions. How much you share your deepest needs, thoughts and feelings.
  3. Intellectual connection. Being curious about a topic, sharing your views and learning together.
  4. Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences you have spiritually. This might be religion, values, life after death or your own definition of spirituality.
  5. Ways you spend time together, socialise or share interests.


When you’re tired, overwhelmed, and are giving all your energy to your child or work, we can start to feel disconnected. Also, with young children, mothers in particular are simply over touched and over stimulated. We just need to have time where another human isn’t connected to us or expecting anything from us.

Exploring how and when you and your partner feel intimate helps to rebuild your connection and recognise how it might change over time. Emotional intimacy and connection is the foundation for sexual intimacy, and can be the first thing to start to dissolve when we’re deep in our busy routines, overwhelmed and overstimulated.

Download the worksheet for an extract from my book Beyond Baby Talk to help talk about the moments you feel most connected to your partner and help facilitate a conversation about what’s important to each of you.

This article was written by Rachel Childs. Rachel is a couples coach who helps working parents navigate their transition through parenthood as a dual-career couple. She is the author of Beyond Baby Talk. Two people, nine months and the twelve conversations you never knew you needed to have. A couples workbook for expectant and new parents.