I’ve always been quite an affectionate person. I love nothing more than curling up on the sofa with Sam, giving him a kiss, sharing hugs when I see friends and family, but lately, something has changed. Lately, I’m all touched out.
My days are filled with touching. Dougie cries out for once of us when he wakes up in the morning, and clings on to me as though I might disappear. When I put him down on the floor to make up his bottle or to put the kettle on, he cries and clutches at my leg. I recently stopped breastfeeding after nearly eleven months, and while I loved the bond that it created, the biting, the poking, the smacking of my chest took its toll.
When he wants to play, Dougie clambers on top of me. I love swinging him in the air, tickling him and cuddling him, and he pulls at my clothes and grabs for my fingers, my hair, my skin.
When it gets to bedtime, after tea and bath, it’s time for the inevitable mission to get him to sleep. I used to feed him to sleep, but he stopped finding it comforting and found it more of a game, I was poked and prodded and he would still be wide awake. I jig him to try and get him to sleep, and he pulls at my neck, and pinches my skin, and beats his hands on my chest. Sometimes I can’t get him to sleep, my back is now permanently sore, and Sam comes and takes over.
In the middle of the night, if we’re having “one of those nights” where nothing settles him, I try and get him to sleep on me. The pinching, the poking, the pulling begins again. He rolls his head around trying to get comfy on me, arms flailing.
The last few nights, I’ve wanted to scream while this happens.
I love Dougie more than absolutely anything. But in those minutes, those hours, I can’t bear him touching me. I’m tired, I’m so, so tired and I know he doesn’t understand. My skin is comfort to him, and he screams if I try and put him down before he is asleep. I move his fingers away from my neck to stop him clawing and pinching me, but to him, it’s a game, and within seconds he’s grabbing again. I hate myself for how frustrated and angry I’m getting; I just don’t want him to touch me. I feel guilty, but in that moment I wish I could unzip myself from my skin and climb out. I need space, I need my own space in my own skin, I need to not be touched.
I searched this on Google, and I was overwhelmed with how many posts and articles there were about it. Other mums feeling the same way, feeling “touched out”- and often feeling guilty for needing that space.
In the morning, I can’t wait to get Dougie from his bed and cuddle him, and when he isn’t with me, I can’t wait to get back to him.
But at the moment, I’m sorry, but I’m all touched out.