Monday, July 06, 2015

Touched Out

When I first found out I was pregnant with Baby #2, I joined a couple online support groups for pregnancy, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering in our new city. We found out I was expecting just a matter of days after settling into our new house, so the vast majority of my pregnancy has been spent here in Columbus. I am so incredibly amazed by the amount of support that's available here, but I'll save that for another post.

One of the groups, the breastfeeding one, had a few threads about being "touched out" at the end of the day. I'd never heard that term before, and found it to be kind of weird. These women were describing how they were so done being physically touched, by their children, by their pets, by their spouses, at the end of the day, that they just wanted to crawl out of their skin. I didn't really understand where feeling like that would come from. Miss A wasn't particularly a cuddly baby. We never really co-slept, we didn't baby-wear until she was into toddlerhood, and she very rarely would fall asleep in my arms. She liked her space, and it worked well for us. Fast forward a year or so, to my now almost three year old: Whole. Different. Ball game.

At about 34 weeks pregnant, I started understanding what these threads I'd read were talking about. Miss A absolutely loves to snuggle, climb on me, hold my hand, sit in my lap, talk to me, be in my face, show me things, join me in the bathroom, ask me to join her in the bathroom, share my food.... you get the idea. While I love that she and I have such a close, strong relationship, I am going crazy. She wants me, all the time. I always saw memes about toddlers "finding you" in the bathroom (hands shoved under doors, waiting impatiently outside for you, sitting on your lap on the toilet, etc.), but Miss A never really bothered me in there. Lately, I literally can't sneeze in another room by myself. If she can hear me, she will follow me.

The dogs, especially Gunner, have also become incredibly attached to me in the last trimester of this pregnancy. Mia has been a little more snuggly this whole pregnancy, but not to the point of driving me insane. Gunner, on the other hand, has taken his obsession with my belly to a whole new level. This is our dog who will bolt out of the room if you mention the "b-word" (bath). He will not go near the bathroom, let alone in it. Well, now that I'm emitting these awesome pregnancy hormones full force, this dog.... will literally put his head in my lap while I pee. I can't stand up from the toilet without pushing him out of the way. He's constantly at my feet. He follows me from room to room while I do house chores. He's always there.

I have no bubble anymore. As I write this, there's a dog at my feet, and a toddler just inches from my lap (only because my computer is in "her spot").  I don't honestly know what a personal bubble is anymore. My morning wake up consists of Gunner's nose in my face, on my ribs, or pushing on my belly. I put the dogs outside, and they immediately want back in to sit at my feet. The first thing Miss A does in the morning is crawl up in my lap. Usually, even 90% of the time, I absolutely love our morning cuddles, but the past week, I just don't want to be touched. If I can get up and try to be productive, she will follow me, along with a parade of dogs. I am going insane.

(Then sweet moments like this happen, when she just wants to touch my belly, and it warms my heart. I still crawl, but my heart is so happy with how much she loves "her baby" already.)

My poor husband gets the extra crappy end of the stick on this one. By the time he gets home at the end of the day, I want nothing to do with physical contact of any sort. I feel like a whale, so I'm already ridiculously uncomfortable in my own body... So cuddling or any form of physical contact just makes my skin crawl. I love the idea of snuggles on the couch, intimacy, even just holding hands... but the moment that contact starts, I itch, I tingle, I need to step back.

I feel guilty. I feel like a bad mom, and a bad wife. I feel like I shouldn't be bothered by these things, but I am. My heart and soul wants to take advantage of these last few weeks (or days?) as a family of three, and as Miss A as an only child. I want to feel close to my husband, and for him to know how much I love and adore him. I want to be comfortable with my body. But the fact is, I'm not. I am uncomfortable 24/7, physically and mentally. I can't sleep, I can't move easily. I literally feel like a beached whale. I'm not happy with how my body looks, as I carry around 50+ pounds more than my "goal weight." Even though I've only gained 30 this pregnancy, I weighed more than I would have liked from the start. I can't touch my toes, I can't bend over, I can't sit/stand/lay comfortably at all. Being uncomfortable with my own body makes it incredibly difficult for me to be comfortable with other people touching it, even my husband and child.

I know that "the end is near," as we're a mere 16 days from my due date, but then the needs of a newborn will begin. Breastfeeding is absolutely a goal of mine, and I plan on actively pursuing it much more intensely than I did with Miss A. I know that my sweet girl is still going to need just as much attention as she does now, even in the presence of her little brother. I pray that losing this big ole belly, along with some baby weight (and pre-baby weight?) will help me feel content in my body again, so I can stop depriving my husband of affection.

I know that I'm not alone in feeling these things, but it doesn't really make it much easier. I am so ready to feel like myself again, to love on my husband and my two babies, and love every moment of it, without feeling like my skin is crawling.

God Bless ♥︎ V