A Womb of One's Own

A Womb of One’s Own: No Touching!

I have cried every day this week. Grad school, depression, and parenting are colluding to convince me that I will never be happy, that I am not the student or parent or partner I want and need to be, that I will always disappoint and fail those around me and myself.

Logically, I know these things aren’t true. My exhaustion and my sore body prove I am being the parent I need to be, waking three or four times a night to soothe my son, and spending the days carrying him, pulling him away from un-shelving my books, and cuddling him as much as he wants. I know these are temporary bumps, the signs of his development (refusing to be soothed by Daddy, clinging to me like he did as a much younger baby). But JESUS CHRIST CAN YOU JUST NOT TOUCH ME FOR TEN MINUTES?

I’m trying to convince myself I’m being a good partner to my husband, but it’s hard. The depression and the neverending anger/anxiety cycle that is my new constant companion make it hard to provide the compassion, patience, and support that he needs and deserves as he adjusts to a new position at work. I want to offer support but LOVE OF GOD SERIOUSLY NO TOUCHING OKAY?

I am trying to take steps to be the student I need to be. I think I have to drop a class in order to succeed in the other two, because I only have so much effort and child-free time (or at least time when the child is supervised by someone else near me), and I’m willing to take an extra quarter or two to complete my degree with my sanity relatively intact. I’d turn to people in my life for emotional support but they seem to come with hugs and DOES NOBODY UNDERSTAND I AM TIRED OF ALWAYS BEING TOUCHED?

When I got asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I was blunt. I want to be left alone. I want one day where I don’t worry about schoolwork or parenting or being a good spouse or human being. I want to get a pedicure and drink a bottle of wine and listen to Britney Spears and read a stack of romance novels and not talk to anyone or be responsible for someone’s meals or laundry or dirty diapers. I want to sleep without jumping out of bed at someone else’s whim. Maybe I want a massage, maybe I want to be touched in a giving fashion, instead of being touched to serve the needs of someone else. Maybe, for a day, I don’t want to be a mom.

Today I finally called to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, because I can’t be who I need to be right now. I know that my emotional swings aren’t healthy for my child (as the child of a bipolar mother, I know the effects of an unhappy and unstable mom), and they aren’t healthy for my marriage or my education. I can’t keep being angry that someone is touching me. I can’t succumb to the anxious rage that seems to be always accompanying every single task in my life. I can’t keep flipping out because life is happening.


By Jessica Werner

Free-range librarian in Seattle. A sucker for happy endings, teen angst, and books that make me want to sell my possessions and travel the world. Incurable homebody and type A. Send love letters and readers advisory requests to

10 replies on “A Womb of One’s Own: No Touching!”

Oi. I’m sorry you’re feeling cramped. If therapy taught me anything, it taught me that everyone can use an hour each week to just bitch about life and not have to worry about anyone else’s feelings, opinions or needs. I really miss my counsellor. It was so good to have someone just listen and agree with me. I hope you find the same kind of relief at your appointment.

All three of you–can I take your babbies during the day so long as I can give them back?  We would watch Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo and eat popcorn and have fun!  (Ipo’s babby would have babby cracker munchies, though.)

Don’t get me wrong, I love my nephews, but I don’t think I could deal with parenting my own child.  I am so introverted I like my quiet time when I get home from work.

Which is why I just have fur babbies.

I have totally asked to just have the day off for Mother’s Day. I may do it again this year. Lexie thinks she has to be sitting on me all damn day and then sleeps in our bed half the night. I just want to curl up in a ball and scream some days from the sensory overload. You are not alone, and I hope he outgrows this phase quickly!

So, I’m an adult and I sleep with a teddy bear. My husband couldn’t understand how it is possible that I can’t fall asleep if I am touching a person, or if a person is touching me, but I have to have my bear. It took me a while, but I finally figured out how to explain that the stuffed animal comforts me because he doesn’t want anything from me, without being bitchy about it.

Oh, Ipo.

You are so not alone in this.  It took me a long, long time to be okay with touching – because the baby just needs so much out of you, physically.  Breastfeeding is great, but when Sofia was really going strong, it made me feel like “GET OFF OF ME!” to everybody else who came near.

I’m glad you’re going to talk to somebody, but also, take heart:  it gets better.  He’ll need your boobs less and less, and, at least for me, that was a huge part of it – constantly being needed, physically, constantly.  No matter what else happens, no matter how you change and he changes, he is going to start needing you less physically.  And it’s gradual, but that feeling of “STOP TOUCHING ME!” goes away.

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