Let me first state that this loneliness has nothing to do with not having support at home. You can have a lot of support, matter of fact you can have THE WORLD, and still feel lonely.
Being home with baby girl for 5 months straight, I learned alot about myself... and one of those things was how I dealt with loneliness. I was not alone - I have my family nearby and an extremely supportive husband - and those times when they weren’t there, I had my baby with me (she’s great company most times). However, there was still this loneliness that came with being a new mom.
This loneliness hit me January 4th, 2021 - the first working day of the new year. Everyone was back out to work, including hubby, and for the first time in a while, I was alone with baby girl... Every. Single. Day. Don't get me wrong, at first it was super fun! We played, sang songs, breastfed, spit up, peed, pooped, etc. etc. etc... But after a while, the routine -repeating everything each day - became boring. I remember one time Leroy left the house for work and I looked down at my beautiful baby girl and thought, "Now what?" Being on maternity leave, each day seemed never-ending and our home was extremely quiet. I even began leaving the tv on so the silence wouldn't get to me too much.
Motherhood loneliness is a funny thing because when your baby is born, technically you're never really alone again. So why do I (and countless mothers) feel lonely? Let's explore 5 reasons why:
You're excluded from limes (or social gatherings for my non-Trini readers) because your life now involves planning wayyy beforehand. There are so many logistics to figure out and little to no spontaneity in socializing when you become a parent. You now have to consider not disrupting baby's routines, babysitting and a host of things that you would've never considered if you didn't have a kid. Ooh! And if you're breastfeeding, you've got to either shy away from alcoholic drinks or plan to drink wayy in advance and top up your baby's supply! Fun stuff!
You don't have much to offer during your free time because you're so exhausted all the time that just the thought of getting dressed to go out and the subsequent mom guilt of leaving your child at home makes you want to cry. Part of you really wants to go out because you miss being around other adults but the other part wants to curl up in bed and catch up on your much needed sleep. It's a tough battle and the majority of the time, sleep wins.
Connecting with your spouse/partner seems impossible some days because after dealing with a highly dependent and demanding baby, you're literally all "touched out". Even something as simple as cuddling at the end of the day seems like a chore. At the end of the day, you're both exhausted, your mind is running a mile a minute and there's the huge chance that you'll be interrupted by a screaming baby who wants all your attention. It does take a lot of practice and truckload of grace to truly focus on each other and be present in the moment.
Motherhood itself is isolating, especially when your partner is getting all the praise... for being a parent. Recently, I was talking with a fellow mom about the fact that fathers get praised for doing parent-things. When I had just gotten off maternity leave on rotation, a security guard at my work was in shock and awe that my husband was home with my daughter while I was at work... and she said something along the lines of "Wow! He's such a great father for staying home like that to take care of the baby" to which was followed by praises about him changing baby girl's diapers and feeding her. Now, I am probably guilty of saying stuff like that pre-baby (I say probably because I honestly can't remember) but now that I do have a baby, those statements irked me to my core. Why is my husband being praised for taking care of HIS child? This is something that is done alot, meanwhile the mother may get a compliment here or there, which ultimately leaves us wanting the burst into tears because it's not heard enough. Don't get me wrong, mothers never look for praise but it does feel nice hearing that you're doing a good job with your child. It feels like you're finally being seen. I mean... A lil reassurance wouldn't hurt sometimes... because being a mother isn't easy at all.
It's hard to make friends. At every chapter of your life you've made new friends. Preschool, primary school, secondary school, university, when you begin working, etc etc etc. During those times, everyone you meet is basically going through the same life experiences as you at the same time. However, when you become a parent, not everyone is experiencing that same chapter in their book, so you're alone again. Additionally, it’s difficult to maintain friendships with friends who don’t have children because they can’t relate to half the shit you're going through and on top of that, you sometimes feel like a bother to them because sometimes all you can talk about is your baby... Which is part of the reason I've created a mom community on Facebook (Check out the 4Mothers page), because as moms, we need our own community to talk to and talk through everything we're going through.
Now, I know I'm loved and supported, but motherhood can still feel hella lonely and that's ok. Spending a lot of time with a baby who cannot communicate can do that to you... but one thing you cannot or should not do is suffer in silence. Even if you feel like you can't talk to anyone about it, you can join the 4Mothers Group or if that's too much, shoot me a message (on social media or via this website), send me an email, call me (if you have my number), send a pigeon... either way, I'm here!