March 2, 2022

Loneliness in Motherhood

Motherhood is quite an amazing journey. It comes with so much joys and happy moments. But nonetheless days can be lonely. Learn how to deal with loneliness in motherhood and find joy as a (new) mom.

You’re not the only mom feeling alone

Black doodle image of a leaf

You might wake up from a crying baby after a short, broken night. No one else can do what needs to be done today besides you. Even though you love your baby dearly, days can be hard.

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert. The post on this site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice.

Lonely?!

Elderly people get lonely, right? Not young, fit, ladies in their twenties. thirties and fourties. RIGHT?! Then how come does this lonely feeling keeps coming back?

Sounds familiar? If we’re really honest here and you’re a (new) mom, probably the answer is yes. And rest assured you’re not the only one. You may have felt lonely to some degree.

I write this, partly from my own experience and partly from what I heard from other moms. Loneliness a topic I think, that’s not shared enough amongst mothers, yet it is a very common thing mothers are facing. Hopefully this post will be an encouragement to you.

  • Is motherhood lonely?

Yes, being a mom can be lonely. Probably not for all moms. But if most mothers were honest, I think they all had their share of loneliness. The fact is, that you, as a mom, have to do a lot by yourself. There is just no one else to nurse the baby. Sometimes the baby just wants you. And if your husband is already off to work, there is no one else to get the younger siblings dressed, fed and off to school or starting on their homeschooling.

Unless you live in some kind of community, times have changed. Whereas in times passed most women stayed at home to take care of the home and children. Nowadays most neighbourhoods have empty houses during the day. Leaving new moms and stay at home mothers alone. The sense of caring for each other is mostly gone. So, many a mother is doing a lot by herself.

When loneliness creeps in

An exciting new phase in life starts when you’re expecting. Now you can tell everyone there’s a new family addition coming soon. Sweet, tiny clothes, carefully chosen toys and little things for the baby’s room are slowly making their way into the family home. This is a lovely phase of motherhood and one that you should definitely enjoy.

For some mothers the loneliness comes in right at this phase. While you were thrilled when you saw the positive pregnancy test it could very well be that those feelings of joy were soon overshadowed with feelings of (all day) morning sickness. At some time you may feel quite well and at other moments you just want to crash down on the couch, pull a cover over your head and just lie down, forever.

Some people around you, often those who experienced a similar situation, might be understanding of the situation. Others, may not. While I could recall many situations and feelings that can come across I don’t want to waste too much of your energy and just tell you what might be a wise choice if you’re dealing with loneliness in this stage of motherhood.

What must I do now?

Usually in the first and second trimester of a pregnancy, people think most ladies just feel alright. Because your pregnancy bump is not that big and you have some time before the due date. And maybe you do feel all right. Great! Keep it up & enjoy these special stages. But there are women who do not feel very great. Maybe you feel horrible, the whole pregnancy. That may not be what you expected being pregnant would feel like, but it is very possible. That’s OK too.

The support your really need 

I would encourage you to call on friends or family members that do understand how you feel. Or that at least try to understand you and are willing to help.

Surround yourself with people who have your best interest and you feel encouraged by, not the ones that make you doubt. No one has to tell you that it’s really not that hard or that you can’t feel that nauseous you cannot come over. You know when you don’t feel great. There’s no one else that can feel that for you. Be confident to say “No, thank you. Maybe some other time when I feel better”. The ones that won’t understand will probably be the ones that won’t support you anyway. The ones who do and maybe even do a little extra for you are the ones you need right now.

 
Feeling alone together

You welcomed a precious little one and are trying to enjoy it. But honestly, you don’t. At all. You haven’t slept a good night’s sleep in weeks or even months. Your baby signals (again!) that he’s hungry. You feel exhausted.

Perhaps you wonder, why am I not liking this? All we wanted is here, this precious baby. Instead you feel you’re in survival mode. How can anyone have more than one child?!

Don’t forget here that your body if full of hormones right now. It’s perfectly normal that you have moments of insecurity and doubt. Make it easy for yourself. In those first few weeks, only do those things you feel comfortable with. Give yourself, your baby, your family some time to adapt.

Folding the stroller

This might sound like a very silly example, but let’s say you want to go out to get some groceries. You dread the task of dressing baby and getting him all ready for his car seat. You need to get yourself from your post-partum outfit into something that still fits and then making sure you’re out of the store by the time baby is hungry again.

Then the thought of having to fold in the stroller when you finished shopping. On a full parking place, thinking that everyone is watching your every (clumsy) move trying to fit the stroller back in the car.

Can I still go out?

Well, first of all, not everyone is watching you… :) Second, you’ll probably be fine folding the stroller and putting it in the car. But really, if that stresses you out and you don’t feel comfortable. Don’t do it. At least not at that time. Just practise at home folding that stroller until you do feel comfortable.

This too shall pass (but do enjoy it(!), looking back you won’t regret that). There will be a time when you’ll be able to go out again and not worry about a hungry baby or folding strollers. Just take it easy for now. All first times can be hard, but you’ll gain confidence. Really.

Feeling confident

To illustrate how being a mother can make you unsure about the seemingly simplest of things I mentioned the example above.  I can remember feeling unconfident when I became a mom myself. But the good news is you will gain confidence as time goes by. Hormones will somewhat settle and you will have eight straight hours of sleep & feel better again.

I have always loved the phrase: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. We, mothers, have a very special task. Sometimes it might feel like a huge, impossible one, but if you’re determined to give it your best, you will see fruit of your labour. Howbeit, that will not be tomorrow. Focus on the long term.

As things settle

Baby gets older, you get a little more sleep and routines are slowly coming back. It feels like life is getting a bit back to normal. You may understand your child a little better and are slowly feeling better yourself. But still, you feel lonely. This may be especially true for those who chose to stay at home.

Because your child is so dependant on you, you need to be there almost all the time. Since baby was born, your “me-time” probably decreased to an all time low. You can’t just go anywhere, anytime, because your little one might need you. It’s very likely you can’t even finish a task at home because your baby may need you in the middle of your sewing project.

How to find joy

You can be a joyful mother, enjoying this phase of life. Despite the hard times. These practical questions can give you a nudge in the direction that’s right for you.

– Find some time for yourself, every week. Ask you husband to take care of your little one(s). Make sure you can be alone and you won’t be interrupted. As little as an hour of uninterrupted time can make a huge difference.

– Ask yourself how am I doing? What do I really need? Write down a few things that would make you feel better.

– Take some time to read. Read your Bible, take an hour to read your favourite book. Write in your diary. Buy the latest edition of your favourite magazine.

– Think about next week. Make a global plan of your planning for the week. When will you shop for groceries? Do you have any special occasions you need to prepare for? Plan when you’re going to prepare for it too! What are some fun activities you plan on doing this week?

– Also, check for hormone related issues when you feel sad regularly & you suspect a link between your mood and your cycle. Leisha Drews from Life Abundant Wellness is an excellent source of information on healthy living & hormone related issues.

– Share your story with other mothers. Whether that be online or in person. Older mothers can give you advice and perspective. They can assure you what it normal, what is right and how long you can expect things to be like they are.

To wrap things up…

Above all, accept the phase of life you’re in right now. This time will pass. But it has it’s beauties too. It will form you like nothing else can, it will give you life experiences that might make you the perfect person to help someone else in the future. Also, it will teach you patience, dilligence, perseverence, hope. Count your blessings. They are there. Sometimes we just need to focus on them more… :)

Read more about motherhood…

11 ways to really help a new mom by Ruth from Acorns to Oaks

What to do when you’re a tired mom by Jamie from Ginger Homemaking

Simple ways to care for you pregnant friend by Tani from Unraveled Motherhood

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