Now I love people, don’t get me wrong – I love going out and dancing like a nob head, love chatting to the cashier at the supermarket, and am a big fan of complimenting strangers if I like their outfit/hair/dog whatever. Yes I really am that annoying. However in order to fully relax and recharge I much prefer my own company. Or to be more specific, I like to be around others but not necessarily have to interact with them.
D is very much the same,which is fantastic. We’ve spent much of our relationship as a little twosome, happy to hang out together, happy to be in the same room occupied in different things but having each others company. And, as I’m sure was the case with most of you – this meant we spent a lot of the early years of our relationship in bed. Or y’know where ever in the apartment took our fancy.
Well news flash people. A baby disrupts this BIG TIME. Your cosy little bubble as a twosome is about to be shattered by a screaming, puking adorable little bundle.
I’ve written here about post-partum sex. But I feel like I’ve got a new thing to add to it, and that is the feeling of being ‘touched out’.
When you become a mum, chances are you are the primary carer. Not always, but generally it’s still mum who looks after the babies – especially during the first year or so. Which means obviously that you spend the majority of your day in contact with your new arrival. This is pretty awesome when they are newborn, they fall asleep on your chest, you binge watch Netflix. Well it’s awesome until you need a wee and they cry hysterically when you put them down, then need feeding, then puke all over you, you both need a change of clothes, then they fall asleep and you think its awesome all over again. The point is you are in contact with another person for prolonged periods of time, and that person is wholly dependant on you for EVERYTHING. It is draining, physically and mentally. ‘Touched out’ is when you are completely over being poked and prodded by your baby all day and just need to be in your own space. ALONE.
It’s something that a lot of women experience when breastfeeding and I remember it happening loads when I was up feeding throughout the night. It would usually happen about 2am which is the time of night I find most difficult to get up with R. All I can say is if R needed feeding at that time I would literally feel my skin crawling, it was painful to finish a feed and I would sit in the chair counting in my head as a way just to get me through it. I cannot do justice with my words how difficult those feeds were, every inch of me wanted to stand up and run away from my tiny feeding baby. Of course I didn’t but I would count incessantly till the feed was over. Once he was back asleep and popped in his cot the last thing I wanted to do was to curl up next to another person. It’s making me shudder now just thinking about the warmth, and the noise of them breathing. Ugh. And that means a lot coming from me as, I am hella big on spooning.
So anyway in the middle of the night I would get my phone and my water glass and decamp to the spare bed. In the heatwave that hit this summer I spent a fair few nights where I started off in there. I knew I would be up throughout the night rocking R back to sleep, sweating my ass off, and I didn’t want to be near anyone else.
I don’t think D thought much of this, and it’s really hard to say to your partner that you don’t want them to touch you. It’s not them. If Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio (yes, I have old school crushes, get over it) were at the door begging for a threesome I would have said not today lads.
R is a bit bigger now, I’ve stopped breastfeeding and he is slowly sleeping better through the night. But now he can crawl and pull himself up, and if he is feeling particularly whingy he just wants to sit in my lap and sing nursery rhymes, pulling at my hands and face. Which I am more than happy to do, I’m his mum, I’m the person he knows best in this world and I always want to make sure he is happy, feels safe and contented. BUT ITS BLOODY EXHAUSTING. My biceps are sculpted from lugging him up and down on my hip, ‘wind the bobbin up’ is permanently etched on my brain, and I have a constant tick list in my head of what he has eaten that day, when he last drank / slept / pooped, when we next go to get weighed…the list goes on.
So at the end of the day, when R’s in bed and D comes to join me on the couch sometimes I don’t want him to touch me. My personal space is virtually none existent (I’ve peed with Rufus on my lap before) and I sometimes need those hours on an evening to decompress. To get my head together, to do my own thing. Even if we are cuddling, its not the open invitation it once was.
And when your sex life is already stuffed into those moments when the baby is asleep, feeling ‘touched out’ is just another factor that means the spontaneous bangs are happening a lot less often. Sorry folks, that’s the harsh reality of having a baby.
But y’know I guess this is just a short phase in the grand scheme of things, R won’t be little forever, and as he grows up and gets more independent I know I will miss the hours spent with him on my lap singing songs, and snuggling him as he falls asleep.
Until then, me and D will just have to put the effort in. We might not be able to spend Sunday mornings spooning, sexing and eating fried chicken in bed like we used to. However we can ensure that we both get some hours of baby free time on a weekend, and then I’m less likely to feel so touched out. We can book weekends away as a couple, and spend them just the two of us. We might spend said weekends talking about R none-stop and cooing over photos of him, but at least we can hole up in a hotel room for the afternoon together.
I say all this idyllically – imagining we will have the time (and the money sheesh!) to do all of these things, but I’m beginning to realise how tricky it is to keep your relationship alive post-baby. I know we’ll do it though, might be less spontaneous bangs and more viewing a trip to the supermarket child-free a romantic getaway but hey, holding hands in the freezer aisle is kind of sweet.
Love B x