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Four good girlfriends, all on maternity leave, decided to meet up and let off some steam. Babies in tow, they set up camp at Amelia's house, centrally located near the Begin Route in Jerusalem. As the house began to fill up with baby car seats and diaper bags, Amelia's six-month-old twins proudly rolled this way and that on the large foam mattress in the center of the living room.
"You're going to have to share today," Amelia told them, as Michal set down her eight-month-old girl, who looked to be an even quieter version of her serene mother.
"Share and share alike," said Netta-li, squeezing in her boy, who at six months, could easily take on both of Amelia's twins.
"What about mine?" said Dalit petulantly, already peeved that she had to drive all the way from Tel Aviv to meet up with her friends. "What's so wrong with Michal's house in Modi'in where we usually meet," she'd thought incessantly while running late on the highway. Her daughter, an unusually mature acting nine-month-old, stuck out her lower lip in imitation of her mother's frustration.
"I guess we'll need to lay down some blankets, too. I'll be right back," said Amelia, trying hard to be the hostess with the mostess to her comrades-in-arms. Sure, she had twins, but since her older boy, who was only one and a half years when the twins were born, had already broken her in, she was just trying to stay afloat and take everything in stride. "One baby, two babies, three babies, four - what difference does it make anyway?" she thought sing-songily to the tune of one of her son's potty training tapes, while pulling heavy wool blankets from the nifty storage space under her double bed.
Returning back to the living room, she saw with satisfaction that her friends had made themselves tea and were passing around the munchies she'd managed to scrounge in the almost barren cupboards.
"So how did it happen?" Dalit asked, staring bemusedly at Amelia as she plopped down her baby girl (who also seemed to be staring bemusedly) on the freshly spread blanket.
"How did what happen? I think I must have missed something," said Amelia absentmindedly, looking at the munchies and making a mental calculation of which one would not totally ruin her diet.
"We were just talking about how I'd read somewhere that the miracle of birth is not the birth at all. The real miracle is that you can get around to making another baby!" said Netta-li, hoisting her fidgety baby on her lap so he could take a quick nip from her breasts, something that he does every few minutes or so, it seemed to her friends, who. They privately said that if she didn't watch out, Netta-li's son would sooner sign up for sumo wrestling.
"Yeah, Amelia," said Michal, quietly in her shanti, shanti voice. "How did you even meet up with your husband - awake - in bed? "
"I know," moaned Dalit, "I crash after the news every night. Of course I'm up a couple hours later, and a couple hours after that, and then at 3 and again at 5 and..."
"You don't need to tell me about that, believe me," interrupted Amelia. "I do have twins, you know."
"Right, so how did you get them?" said Michal, surprisingly persistent for a change. She was used to asking Amelia for advice: The Carrie Bradshaw of the group, Amelia writes a column on being a mommy for a local paper.
"What's the matter, Ro'i giving you a guilt trip or something?" asked Netta-li, burping her very satisfied son. "I just told Danny, 'Look, I'm tired. And after breastfeeding all day long, the last thing I want is some grown-up baby playing with my breasts. You wanna make me happy? Give me a back-rub.'"
"Yeah, but what does he get out of giving you a back-rub," asked Michal, flushed. "And you know what they say, first back-rubs, then mixed dancing. And I just don't have the energy for mixed dancing."
"Who does?" sighed Dalit. "Besides, I don't know about you girls, but it just doesn't, well, feel so good anymore."
"You mean it davka hurts, don't you," said Netta-li, the goddess of the cowshed. "I know, I went to the doctor and he gave me a hormone replacement cream to shoot up my pooshi. He said that all this breastfeeding was drying me out."
"Yeah, I have the cream and all the lubricants on the market too, but while they make it a lot less painful, they still don't make me actually want to do it," said Michal, blushing. "The best advice I've gotten is from some pregnancy guide, 'When the doctor tells you to wait six weeks after the birth to start having sex, tell your husband six months,'" said Amelia, amid her friends' knowing laughter.
"But seriously, my mom always said, 'If you fall your horse, get back on and ride.' There must be something to that, 'cause she and my dad managed to have four kids in six years - often while 'using' birth control!" said Amelia. "But in our case, we wanted to have another child quickly." Her friends snicker. "No, really!" More snickers.
"Listen, Gal and I have a deal," said Amelia. "If I'm in bed and the door is closed, then it's a red light. But if we happen to meet up in the middle of the night and the babies are sleeping... well, why not take advantage of the situation."
"Just make sure you're taking advantage of some birth control for a change," said Dalit, pointedly.
"Now you sound like my kids' older, wiser grandmother," Amelia said, smiling. "At first I thought the nursing would take care of it, then I read that you have to be breastfeeding every two hours 'round the clock for it to really suppress ovulation."
"No problem here," sighed Netta-li, picking up her giant of a son again to latch him onto her pendulous breasts.
"And," added Amelia, "they say that it really only works when the baby is two to three months old, and that you should definitely not rely on it after he starts eating solids."
"But that you still haven't really explained how you have the energy to even want to make love," persisted Dalit.
"Gal likes to throw a quote from the Talmud at me about this. Something like, 'Man has a small organ. When satisfied, it's hungry. When hungry, satisfied.' No, I might have messed that up," said Amelia. "Whatever. The upshot is, every couple needs to find its own balance.
"For some, it may take longer than others, but having sex is an integral part of coupledom, so whether it starts to happen six weeks or six months after the birth, it should be a mutually consenting and pleasurable act. Experiment - maybe the same-ol' same-ol' needs to be replaced by different positions, different techniques..."
"Save it for the paper, Amelia," said Dalit, rolling her eyes. "Whoever really says 'coupledom,' anyway?"
The writer is an overtired, underslept mother of three in diapers. firstname.lastname@example.org