Jennifer Sizeland, a 37-year-old mother and writer from Manchester, has opened up about her postpartum challenges, particularly her heightened sensitivity to touch, which impacted her relationship with her pet cat and others.
Before her son’s birth, Jennifer and her seven-year-old cat, Ghost, shared a close bond, often cuddling together on the sofa. However, following the arrival of her now two-year-old child, Jennifer found herself overwhelmed by the constant physical demands of motherhood, leading to a significant change in her interactions with Ghost and other people.
She recounted to NeedToKnow.co.uk, “The stress and exhaustion from a traumatic labour and my son’s feeding problems left me with little patience and energy for physical contact. I found myself avoiding my cat’s affection and even recoiling from touches by friends, family, and even strangers.”
Jennifer, who adopted Ghost in September 2020, had looked forward to seeing her pet bond with her unborn child. She fondly remembers Ghost snuggling up to her belly during pregnancy, anticipating their friendship. However, postpartum realities like sleepless nights, teething, and breastfeeding difficulties intensified her sense of being ‘over-touched.’
Explaining her reaction to Ghost’s affection, Jennifer said, “I felt crowded when he sought attention. His headbutts and bushy tail overwhelmed me. I’d even avoid his presence, shutting him out of the room.”
This phase persisted until her son turned 14 months old, when a more established routine gradually allowed Jennifer to regain her sense of self and personal space. She now cherishes her time with Ghost again, grateful for his forgiving and patient nature.
Reflecting on her experience, Jennifer emphasized the importance of acknowledging and discussing such postpartum challenges. She feels it’s vital to recognize that feelings of being ‘over-touched’ are normal for new mothers and should be met with understanding and acceptance.
Jennifer concluded, “Our bond is back to normal now. As my son grows more independent, I’ve rediscovered my personal space. Ghost’s unwavering affection during this time was a constant, and now I’m able to fully appreciate and enjoy his company again, free from the overwhelming sensation of being touched too much.”
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