It starts when that little curve of your belly seems to balloon overnight at some point in the later half of your pregnancy. Suddenly everyone wants to touch it.
But even after that bump is birthed into a child, your body doesn’t magically revert to yours alone.
It belongs to your baby who will nurse it, clutch it, gum it and otherwise touch you all over. All that groping doesn’t exactly make you want to be touched by anyone–even your partner–after baby is asleep. In fact, you will crave being alone and far from anyone else.
Dr. Venus Mahmoodi, a psychologist at the Seleni Institute who specializes in reproductive mental health hits the nail on the head:
“It’s only natural for moms to feel the need for space from being touched. New mothers feel “touched out” when they are constantly with their children.
The demands of a [small child] are such that they require constant attention. A new mother is required to provide proximity to a newborn even if she does not want to engage in proximity.”
Mothers tend to have mixed emotions about all this closeness. Depending on the mom (because there’s no right mix), there’s the warm, fuzzy feelings of being close to their baby and then there’s the anxiety and resentment that comes from being so close to their baby.
“Women struggle with their identities [after having kids]. A newborn becomes an appendage and it feels like baby is an extension of her, but she’s struggling to find herself and who she is.
Pregnancy and postpartum often shake a woman’s identity and being ‘stuck’ to a [small child] often makes women feel even more alienated from themselves.”
When it comes to other kinds of touch, sex therapist Esther Perel told The Guardian, “You say there is nothing more you can give at the end of the day with your baby, but perhaps, sensually and emotionally, there is nothing more that you need!”
But Perel agrees with Mahmoodi about alone time. Mahmoodi suggests that,
“If a partner is aware of what’s happening, they can be more supportive.
And they can take some of the responsibility of caring for the child so that mom gets some alone time to do what she needs to do and would like to do.
Then when she feels a little better, she’s more likely to want to engage with her partner.”
If you’re feeling “touched out,” take heart that all this grabbing and squeezing is temporary.
Soon, your little ones will be independent humans who might even shirk your touch.
And it will happen faster than you think!
Have you ever felt like this? Let us know in the comments!