A woman has shared how she struggled to go near her pet and other people after becoming a mum.
Before giving birth, Jennifer Sizeland, 37, and her cat, Ghost, seven, were “inseparable” and often spent their evenings snuggled up on the sofa together.
But when her plucky tot, now aged two, entered the world, this all changed and soon, the writer stopped giving her furry pal attention – and avoided going near others – as she became too “over-touched” by her baby.
“I felt so guilty, but as I was under so much stress, I didn’t have the patience anymore,” Jennifer, from Manchester, told http://NeedToKnow.co.uk .
“My son, after a traumatic labour, developed feeding problems and I was exhausted before I had even left the hospital.
“Like many new parents, I was clung onto for hours on end.
“I had so few moments to myself, that I would find it hard to spend them with my cat – I’d used up all my ability to touch.
“While I was fine with my partner, I didn’t let anyone else touch me.
“I couldn’t even stroke farm animals and I’m a lifelong animal lover.
“With friends and family, even strangers, I couldn’t bear to go near them and often, I had to keep my distance or start tending to the baby so they wouldn’t go near me.”
Jennifer rescued Ghost in September 2020 and as he was good with children, she decided to keep him for good – especially when she fell pregnant.
Over the next nine months, the mum recalls the cat snuggling up to her belly and she felt excited about the prospect of seeing her unborn child and furry pal become friends.
Before, she would work while Ghost sat on her lap and when he didn’t give her attention, she would feel sad.
But then, along with staying up all night, teething and difficulty breastfeeding, it had all become too much.
She said: “When my cat came to me for attention, I’d feel crowded.
“His affectionate headbutts and the feeling of his bushy tail would tip me over the edge.
“If I heard his meow, I’d close the door.
“It was like I didn’t know where my body ended anymore – instead, he spent time with my partner or I’d give him treats as that didn’t involve touching him.”
Thankfully, at aged 14 months, her son’s routine started taking place, giving the mum time and space needed to get back to “normal”.
While Ghost has been forgiving, the writer still feels guilty and now, is trying to make the most of her time with him.
She added: “We’re just like normal now and hang out together in the evenings or when my son is at nursery.
“I can feel my own body again and it’s made a world of difference now my baby is more independent.
“I’m glad we brought up my son with a pet, because he loves Ghost and it’s important that he respects animals.
“It’s made me appreciate my cat more, as he is so patient and affectionate – that never changed even when I wasn’t.
“Now I’m able to enjoy him again without the creeping feeling of being too ‘over-touched.’
“It’s important to talk about, especially for new mums, as we’re expected have this picture perfect life postpartum – but it’s impossible to live up to.
“Being too creeped out to touch anybody else is a normal feeling, and I’m thankful to have a family who understand, but there needs to be more acceptance over this unexpected challenge.”