I didn’t feel true loneliness until I was a mum: I am not ashamed to admit it because I know I am not alone with that statement.
When you’re rocking a crying baby to sleep with a comatose husband next to you in the wee hours it can feel like you are the only one in the whole world who is awake (except screaming child who is ALWAYS awake).
Or when your toddler has gone into full blown nuclear meltdown at the local soft play while all the other children are playing nicely; despite being surround by other parents, you can feel like you are the only mum in the world.
Living in a world where social media is abundant there are tonnes of photos of mums who have got their shit together which can be heartbreaking and isolating for the new mum who is not sure what way is up yet. I have felt all of this.
I’m not a single mum as I’ve been married for 2 years now but I still felt very lonely in my first year of motherhood and sometimes even now. My husband would leave before dawn every morning for work and be gone for 14 hours. I would feel like I was on the outside of the world stuck in my own bubble with my daughter; which was wonderful most of the time and terribly isolating at others.
I didn’t have post natal depression; the adjustment to first time motherhood was something I just wasn’t prepared for. I’d gone from a full time sociable job to a full time job looking after someone who could only answer back with whines and screams. And it is HARD!
Sometimes it is location which makes you physically isolated from friends and family, or maybe your friends don’t have children and are still interested in the clubbing scene which isn’t quite toddler friendly yet. There are many reasons why you feel lonely as a mum and there is no quick fix but these are a few things that you can try that may help.
- Find your local baby and toddler group – I have tried out a few and found a good few mummy friends from these to chat with. Sometimes just being in a room with other adults listening to adult chat can help – even if you just chat about your kids toilet habits (poo is a common communication topic).
- Support groups online – there are lots of groups out there where you can chat to other mums and arrange meeting up with kids of similar ages. Mush is one mobile app which works well!
- Social media – this is great for connecting with other mums who are feeling exactly the same as you, it was my saviour a lot of the time just to chat to other likeminded people.
- Recognise your support network and reach out – call on your family and friends and tell them how you feel and ask for help.
- Get out – simply go and be where the people are. Simple walks to the park, to the shops and being out and about does wonders for how you feel.
- Do something for yourself – could be anything: be it going to the gym, out without the baby or for me it was getting back to work. I work 2 days a week and I do love that bit of time to myself and some adult conversation.
- Stay busy – there are lots of activities you can do at home to stay busy. Babies and toddlers love any kind of activity if you do it together. They are only little for so long so enjoy every moment of just mummy and baby time before daddy is the favourite (this is my life right now!)
The best things to remember are that you are not alone and you will not always feel like this; loneliness will go away and come back again over and over. Being a new parent leads to intense waves of emotions and it does take time to settle. It can take a while to find your grove and routine; although in 18 months we still haven’t managed a successful routine but that doesn’t matter.
I am due on maternity leave with my second baby at the end of the month and I am not worried at all about being lonely. I know what to do if I feel alone but I also know that it won’t last forever. Although having 2 under 2 I’m not sure I will have the time to feel lonely, but whatever comes my way I know I’m strong enough to deal with it.
Were you lonely as a new parent? Let me know – I’d love to hear from you. And if any one feels lonely and ever wants a chat or a coffee, I am here for you!