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Motherhood

Therapist explains phenomenon of mother's feeling ‘touched out’ and shares tips to help

“You’re not a monster.”

parenting; motherhood; parenting tips; moms mental health; being touched out
Photo by Gustavo Fring|Canva

Therapists explains being 'touched out' and gives tips to help

Just about every mother has experienced the feeling of being touched out. They may not know that's what it's called, or some may feel embarrassed to admit they're feeling that way due to fear of judgement. But when you think about it, being touched out, especially when you have younger kids seems inevitable.

The sense of your body not belonging to only you can start during pregnancy. Everything you do directly affects your developing fetus, and once the baby is born, it needs a lot of physical contact for proper brain, social, and emotional development. So babies are held a lot outside of feedings. Those babies turn into toddlers who then turn into early school agers, all of whom rely very heavily on co-regulation of their emotions and being physically near their parent to feel safe.

It's pretty much a constant state of being touched throughout much of the day. When psychologist, Dr. Raquel Martin reveals she too feels touched out in a video on Instagram, parents across the internet felt validated.


"Are you a mom who feels as though you are a monster because every time your child touches you, you want to crawl out of your skin? Well, this message is for you," Martin opens the video. "I'm a licensed clinical psychologist, professor and scientist, and I'm here to tell you that you are likely experiencing feeling 'touched out.' Being touched out is incredibly normal."

The psychologist explains that people don't often talk about how much autonomy you lose when you become a parent. Being touched all the time, while being responsible for all other things that come along with parenting can cause parents to experience sensory overload. Martin reveals that when she's feeling touched out, that it can sometimes feel like she wants to, "rip my face off."

As you can see from the video, her face is still very much in tact. Maybe it has something to do with the tips she gives parents in the video and caption.

"1. Prevention is Key: Don’t wait until you’re running on empty. Keep your tank at least half-full by recognizing early signs of sensory overload.

2. Recognize Your Signs: Be aware of your personal indicators, like skin crawling, frustration, or irritability.

3. Incorporate Personal Space: Make intentional space in your routine, especially when support is available, to engage in activities that don’t require “parent brain.”

4. Solo Time vs. Social Time: Decide what rejuvenates you more - quiet alone time or catching up with friends.

5. Communicate Your Needs: Educate your partner or support system about what you’re experiencing and how they can help."

Parents in the comments were thankful for the message of support and validation.

"The way this entire message validated my spirit! Whew Chile! Thank you," one person says.

"Omg. I'm just so used to putting up with it if I don't have my hubby to tag me out. Thank you for the tips to help for when I don't have support available," someone else writes.

"I have never felt more seen or understood as I did watching this video. Thank you for sharing your experience and feelings, and for validating my own. You continue to inspire," another commenter reveals.

The validation and tips are extremely helpful in normalizing the feeling. Hopefully other parents find the video helpful in knowing what to do when feeling touched out.


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