So much of motherhood has always begun with “I wish someone had told me…” and this still holds true today, where we can access a plethora of advice and information at the touch of a button. There are simply some aspects of parenting that people just don’t tend to talk about- and yet these are the topics that we really should be discussing more openly. Studies have found recently that new parents- mothers in particular- find the transition to parenthood rather isolating and feelings of isolation can become quite common. Have you felt this way? This week we’re taking a look at the loneliness of motherhood, and what steps you can take to break the taboo and make some positive changes.
I meet so many families who tell me that they’ve found their parenting journey tough so far, and that loneliness has come as something of a surprise. There must be a reason why we don’t talk about the isolation and feelings of loneliness that new parents can encounter?
The problem may be that many new parents are fooled into thinking that the whole business of having a baby should be cherished and enjoyed, no matter what. But that is just impossible. There’s no way that we can all find joy in every minute of our lives, but for some reason we strive to do just that. Social media pressures, the media and even parenting manuals can seem to imply that live as a new parent should be precious, filled with love and happiness and when the reverse is true, we find it hard to admit it.
When you’re at home with a new baby and everyone else is at work, it really can be a lonely time. If you’re sleep training- so you’re staying close to home for a while, you’re sleep deprived and you’re struggling to feel sociable at the best of times- it can feel even more isolating and the days can really seem to stretch on and on.
Yes, it’s ok to feel like this! It’s normal. Your life has changed immeasurably and you might even be missing the freedom you had before baby came along. That’s ok too. Very few new parents slip into their new roles without an adjustment period, and there’s no time limit on it all. So let’s change tradition and actually talk about it. Find a friend who might understand. Talk to your partner or other family members about how you feel, and if you think that speaking to a counsellor might help than speak to your doctor about making an appointment.
Make some changes
Once you’d admitted you’re feeling lonely, the next step is to make some changes to your daily routine so that you can turn things around.
- If there are parent groups that you can attend, try to make it along and see how it goes. Take someone with you for moral support if you can.
- Take a look at changes you can make to your daily routine. Sometimes being tied to a strict routine can become isolating if you don’t allow for spontaneous events or outings now and then. If you really need to plan out your days, allow time for flexibility and try to go with the flow a little more.
- Reach out in online groups and forums. Sometimes the best friendships can be found at the other end of a keyboard.
Remember that this too shall pass
The early days of motherhood are so intense and the days can feel so long. But this too shall pass! Remember that the times where your children are totally dependent on you won’t last forever, but that doesn’t mean you should just shut up and put up now. Take some time for yourself, and when you’re ready get in touch with old friends so that you can rediscover a little of your old self too.
Have you felt lonely as a new mother? What are your top tips for others?