Feeling All Touched- Out

For the longest time I did not have the words to describe how I am feeling. I thought it was just my anxiety acting up, or a side-effect of PPD. But I realized what it was during this last growth spurt, as my husband handed Nova to me for what felt like the millionth time that day, planting a kiss on my cheek just as my 8-year old daughter put her arms around me.

I kind of freaked out… “can everyone please stop touching me!”, I broke my daughter’s heart a little bit with that – but I felt completely out of control. I am a very affectionate person when it comes to my family. I love for the hugs and kisses, holding hands and intimacy with my husband – but these past few months I cannot help but cringe every time any of them come near me.

I need space. A lot of it. The moment Nova goes down for a nap (on the few occasions that he is okay with not sleeping on top of me) or when my husband holds him for a bit – I shake my hands out, stretch my neck, and feel the lightness of my arms without the weight of my baby. And I feel guilty for loving it.

Sometimes the feeling gets so overwhelming, and it makes me angry. It drives me insane that my husband can just go hide in his office behind a closed door when things get too much or have a nap when he is tired – honestly. Imagine having that luxury.

I am struggling to understand my feelings, and I feel misunderstood by everyone around me. For once I don’t have to worry about the end of my maternity leave looming. I get to cuddle my adorable, beautiful, scrumptious, gorgeous, divine smelling baby all day long. How can I feel so overwhelmed by touch? How can I be so touched out? I should be loving every second, the only thing I should be overwhelmed by is gratitude (and lack of sleep).

Maybe it is the intensity of the neediness. There is no other time in your life that someone needs you as constantly and fully as a newborn does. You need to be available and ready 24/7. Nova has also refused any bottles or pacifiers since our stint in hospital with RSV – so I am the only one that can feed and soothe him.

I tried to talk to a mom-friend about this recently. I told her that I sometimes go sit in my car while Nova is sleeping – just to not be close to anyone. She looked at me with a confused (and subtle judgmental) expression and said: “Oh, you’ll miss all the cuddles someday.” I wanted to punch her. I wanted to punch her and then get locked in a jail cell by myself where I could go one full day where no one touches me, not my kids, not my husband. No one.

There is a recent study that concluded that parents only get 32-minutes to themselves each day. I think that is generous. I get 10-minutes in the shower, and even then the feeling of the water on my skin is just too much. Nova sleeps in my arms, in bed with me at night – it is the only way to get him to sleep & keep him asleep. Knox joins us at about 3 am. I love the fact that my kids feel safest with us, that they love to cuddle and come to us for comfort – but right now it feels too much. I need a bigger bed. Maybe that would help…

This might come as a surprise, but I happen to be a very introverted person and need lots of downtime and alone time to recharge my batteries. I have three kids, I am constantly holding someone, having a child hanging on me and needing everything from me–physically, emotionally, and otherwise– and I am finding it incredibly, incredibly draining.

We are humans with our own needs and thresholds and personalities and yes, physical boundaries. But this is life… so how do I learn to cope?

Do you ever feel touched-out? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

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10 thoughts on “Feeling All Touched- Out

  1. Bianca says:

    I do not like being touched. It makes me anxious! I feel bad about it. If people touch me the entire time I freak out!

  2. Tanya says:

    Oh yes. Besides being constantly sleep-deprived, it is absolutely exhausting being constantly available. And I only have one baby to worry about.

  3. Maryke says:

    Hi! I am also an Introvert and need/no must have alone time to regenerate otherwise insanity takes over. I have a 3.5 year old girl and a 1 year old girl, both are breastfed and because of that they still think my body is theirs. My 3.5 year old will still want the boob if I allow her to, I just could not take it with both on me and had to lay down hammer on her. I feel very bad about it, I would want her to decide when she wants to stop because I can see it comforts her after she had a bad day. But I just could not do it. Hubby is also a very physical man and it gets to me some days that I just hide in the shower with the lights off for 15 minutes. Play a little mommy version of hide and seek. But I get to go to work in the week so I guess my downtime is at work and at lunch when i can sit and Facebook for 1 sweet hour without interruption. O and do not get me started on the afternoon nap. I Love sleep. They do not leave me to nap and they do not nap at the same time, so frustrating. Sorry I have been unpacking. I started a blog and wrote 1 post so far but I must say I am enjoying it so much. I find it helps a lot.

  4. chastin dreyer says:

    Oh hunny I cannot say I know exactly how you are feeling (no one can) but I have also had very intense feelings when it comes to noise and touch where I have had the phone going all day clients going the whole day then come home and my kids are going at each other and there is just so much noise I literally ball up and block my ears, with touch my kids are also incredibly affectionate and I am just not but obviously they are my kids and I want to cuddle and be cuddled by them however there comes a point where your skin literally feels like it is crawling from over stimulation and you just cannot take it, we all want to love every moment and maybe for some that is possible but don’t feel guilty for your feelings, when my youngest was born he had un-diagnosed/missed sleep apneoa for his first year we did not sleep my son wanted to be on me 24/7 and on the boob at one point it literally made me seeth my skin just crawled at the thought of one more breastfeed one more co sleeping night, thank fully he was correctly diagnosed but in that year I felt terrible he had colic and reflux, allergies etc (whatever they misdiagnosed him with at the latest appointment), how could I be angry how could I as his mother feel the way I was feeling especially since he was just an innocent baby who was not at fault, it just felt like I did not have a minute to breathe or regroup and recenter myself and my thoughts, after he was diagnosed and things settled out and he became less needy those feelings changed but I can definitely feel your pain!

  5. Vicky says:

    You put my words and feelings down on “paper”. It is EXACTLY how i felt after my second childs birth and long into my breastfeeding journey. I found it hard. And one day i collapsed into my husbands arms and cried and we had coffee and i explained howni felt. And in the meantime he was feeling unloved and rejected. It does get easier i promise. Its such a hard job. ! Voice how you feel. Exactly how you feel and make sure someone takes over even for an hour so you can get out and be alone. I felt like all my nerves were on the outside. It was awful.

  6. Shez says:

    Can totally relate. Have a very affectionate husband and a clingy child and it feels like they always want a piece of me physically and it can be so irritating. And then i feel guilty for feeling that way. I am finding getting on a stationary bike for 30 minutes each day when i get home gives me at least that time to be untouched….its my time

  7. Simone Cameron says:

    I’d punch that mom too! I cannot relate to those parents that never have ‘un-motherly’ feelings or thoughts…like freakin Mary Poppins dwells in their souls……

    I sometimes feel this way, but I’m not a feely touchy person in reality. My daughter isn’t either, its basically just my middle child that likes to touch me…and my husband. I can lose my shit some days when I just don’t feel like being touched and I actually unleash a bit of rage on him (husband). I take it from my child though, because it’s not all the time. So I can relate, but I am pretty sure yours it tenfold…especially as nobody else can even feed your baby to give you some time making up that elusive 32 minutes of alone time!

    I remember those days. I always said Adam held me hostage in the first 3 months… always in our arms..ALWAYS. People say we’ll miss it…. Nope. I prayed away basically aged 7 months -2yrs…then maybe a little between 2 and 3. Now life is dandy. I regret nothing. I’m a bit off topic….lol.

    Thanks for sharing…I am sure many moms will feel relieved to come here, read this and not feel judged, because they can relate!

  8. Megan Keith says:

    As an introvert and someone who only likes affection from my husband and child, I so get what you are saying about being all touched out. Both of their love language is physical touch, and I think that’s the one I scored lowest on. So as much as I love the affection from them, sometimes, it just gets too much. But I haven’t figured out how to deal with it in a way that doesn’t hurt their feelings and make me feel all guilty and stuff. If I figure out something that works, I’ll let you know. I hope you find that balance and what works best for you, soon xx

  9. Angelique Levin says:

    I am a new mom with a 2.5 week newborn boy. I feel exactly like this. My husband is about to go back to work and it is stressing me out hugely to know that I’m on my own with the baby. My hubby has been a HUGE help, especially at night time feeds. Now I need to do this all on my own as i don’t want to wake hubby as he needs rest for work. He still wants to help at night, but i don’t think it will be fair. Usually when i feel touched out, hubby will take baby for me for a while. I’m struggling to find time to just relax because I’m always waiting for the next feed and knowing i have to be touched again. It is crazy. My hubby will reach out to touch me and i get agitated, and feel guilty at the same time knowing how much he does for us and here I am shirking him off. This post helped me realise that I am not alone with my feelings.

  10. Emilia says:

    YES, I do end up feeling touched out. I have to give myself permission to take a break, and to get some space. It does make it hard for my partner, who doesn’t quite understand why I feel the way I do, or what I need. But it is best to talk about it, so we are on the same page about what is happening and why.

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