If you are feeling touched TF out, you might be wondering what has happened and what you need to feel better. Maybe you are snapping at your husband, wife, partner, or older child. Perhaps you feel your skin crawl when someone needs something from you. You might be avoiding things you typically would enjoy because you need some damn space. It is common for women to feel touched out, especially after having a baby. In this post, we will explore the touched-out meaning, resentment & guilt you might feel, and tips for feeling more like yourself.
The Touched Out Meaning
You are at your limit with giving physically when you feel “touched out.” The mental and emotional need others have for you can impact your exhaustion. Many women experience feeling “touched out” after having a baby. You spend so much time caring for an infant an, in some cases, older children as well. I hear about this most often when moms are feeling so touched out that it is impacting their relationship and sex. Having “touched out syndrome” can impact you as a mom. And, it can impact your relationship if you are feeling distant or even annoyed with your partner.
You are at your limit with being needed. Taking care of others’ needs and having very little body autonomy can lead to having no time and space for yourself. If you do not have this space, you can feel almost robotic and disconnected from yourself. It is important for all women to find a time and space just for themselves. When you are feeling the impact of being touched out, this becomes even more important.
What Other Moms are Saying About Being Touched Out
Let’s make this clear: you are not alone and you are not broken. Feeling touched out is common and it will not last forever. Here is a look at what some other mom have said. Comment below if you resonate with any of these!
-Every time my husband looked at me with “those eyes” my skin would crawl because I had nothing left to give.
-I resented my baby for needing my body all day long.
-My toddler would be crawling on my leg while my baby was nursing and I wanted to hide.
-I had NOTHING left for my partner at the end of the day. I felt bad, but I had nothing to give.
-All I wanted was time to just be ALONE instead of taking care of everyone.
-Breastfeeding was great, but sometimes I needed my body to myself.
Touched out and Sex
Feeling touched out can be a big roadblock to sex and intimacy. When you are taking care of a baby and/or children who need you all day, it is hard to want to also “take care” of a partner. I remember, in the early days, saying to my husband “You are a grown adult, you will have to take care of yourself.” In retrospect, that is not what I wanted to say, but the reality is I could not fathom sexually connecting after a long day with my baby. I was also a mom who wanted to be in control and struggled to accept help. Later, I realized this was a barrier to me having any time to refresh and feel like myself again.
If you are feeling like you don’t want your husband (wife or partner) to touch you after having a baby, take a look at why that is. If you are experiencing low libido, that is normal and can be discussed. When you are feeling touched out, you likely need to make some changes in order to get in the mood. If you are breastfeeding and feeling touched out, it can be strange to see your breasts and body as sexual and not just functional. When your partner makes advances and you cringe, you have to find ways to make space for alone time to refresh.
You may be feeling guilt about the distance from your partner. Sometimes guilt makes us turn inward and cause more distance instead of turning towards our partner. In times of stress and overwhelm, this can happen more frequently. Take notice of how you react and what you are feeling. If you distance yourself it is a sign of a need you have. Perhaps it is the need for more mental and emotional connection with your partner. Maybe it is a sign that you need a designated time for yourself. Understanding this will help you better communicate with your partner for both of your benefit.
Ways to Stop Feeling Touched Out
You understand that what you are feeling is touch out. Now what?
First, find clear ways to communicate this to those around you.
Ex: “I need time to not be needed by everyone else.” “My body has been used all day, I could really use some space to refresh.” “In order to connect with you, I need some time to connect with myself.”
Communicate Proactively When You Can
The thing about communication is that HOW you say it matters but also WHEN you say it. It can be easy to bottle things up and let them go when we are at our wit’s end. However, more proactive communication can help you and your partner understand each other and your needs. As you learn more about touch out and your experience, communicate this when you are not feeling stressed.
Example: “Because I want to _____ (connect with you, be intimate, feel like myself) I need ______ ( 30 mins after you get home to be alone).
If you have older children, it is okay to communicate your needs to them in a simple way. “Mommy needs some space.” “Mommy’s body is feeling tired right now.” These not only help you to feel more autonomy, but teach your children that boundaries are okay.
Get Real about Alone Time
Getting alone time on the schedule is one thing. Actually taking it and letting go of control is another thing. Get intentional with your partner about when you can take alone time. Maybe this is an extended evening once a week. Or, it could be 30 mins each evening. Find what works for you and your family and when that time comes, step away and take it. Trust your partner to do their part and take the time for yourself because it benefits everyone. Along with this, you can find a task your partner can do to help with the baby. One example is having your partner do bathtime every night, and you take that same time slot for yourself. This gives your partner a chance to own a meaningful time with the baby as well as frees up time for you.
Get into a Mindfulness Practice
Your mind and thoughts drive so much of your experience. Having a mindfulness practice allows you to connect with yourself even in the midst of chaos. I recommend using an app like Headspace to practice a meditation even when you are in the midst of feeding a baby or nap-trapped. You can use this meditation before getting out of bed in the morning or as a transition into the evening. Mindfulness is about making a connection in yourself and that can set the tone for the day.
Prioritize Non-Touch Connections
Most moms say they need mental and emotional connections to feel sexy and in the mood for sex. If this is you, it is important to find non-touch connection points. This can be a meaningful conversation, trying something new together, revisiting an old memory, etc. We provide ideas & structure for this in our 30 Day Spark challenge.
You do not need to be supermom. While it is natural to want to have control and take care of everyone, you need to be taken care of too. Accept help that is offered. Advocate for help when needed. And, it is okay to put down the baby in non-dire situations to take care of your own needs.
Touched Out Won’t Last Forever
When you are going through a season of touch out, it can impact many parts of your life. In the midst of a busy and overwhelming time, you may feel alone. However, this season will not last forever and you are not alone. Taking time to understand your needs and communicate them will allow you to feel better after touch out.