So many aspects of motherhood are not often talked about because we think that if we verbally share our struggles with being a new mom that it means something is wrong with us. I have never met a mom that had a child and didn’t have some type of struggle within their new family dynamic:
- Sleep deprivation
- Trouble feeding your little one (breastfeeding, won’t take the bottle, etc.)
- Marriage issues (little time together, communication problems, etc.)
- Struggles with memory and productivity
But one of the most important topics that doesn’t get talked about is the loneliness and isolation as a new mom. I think for outsiders it is a hard concept to grasp because they may automatically think, “How can you be lonely when you have a beautiful baby by your side, a supportive spouse, and a caring family?” However, I am here to say it is a real feeling and one of the top three complaints reported in a survey I did with over 200 moms from around the world.
Here are some tips to help combat loneliness and isolation as a new mom:
I can tell you from experience when you’re in the thick of motherhood it’s hard to be reactive when issues arise because you’re just not thinking clearly and rationally (sleep deprivation, hormones, etc.). Add a whole other level of struggle if you are suffering from postpartum depression. The problem is that we get into a cycle or habit of just putting out fires, and we are like the worst firewomen on the team at that point!
It’s crucial for both you and your spouse to understand that loneliness can happen and what the signs are. Here are some good warning signs that you are going down the path of isolation:
- giving multiple excuses why you are not interacting with others
- believing it’s too hard to either have someone come over to hang out or for you to get out of your house
- if you have gone a week and not interacted face to face with someone other than your baby, partner, or pediatrician (and no the nurse doesn’t count!)
Allow your partner to check in on you and see if you are interacting with others. It’s easy to get defensive when someone holds you accountable, but your partner wants to help you be healthy too. When you are a team that is prepared, you’re more receptive to the signs and are more likely to have an open discussion about it.
Say Hello to Everyone
Did you ever have that experience in junior high or high school when you walked into the cafeteria after getting your lunch tray, and you froze because you didn’t know where to sit? I must share with you that I know this feeling well because I moved every two to three years growing up in a military family. It’s not a fun feeling at all!
This is the exact feeling many of us feel when in a group setting with other moms and families. It adds to the feeling of isolation as a new mom. So, if you’re at the library or playground, make it a point to say hi. Throw in a smile for a better connection. Feeling even more motivated? Go and introduce yourself to other moms that are by themselves and seem like someone you would like to get to know. You can even ask them to coffee. This will not only help you get to know other moms, but we often forget that others feel the same way. Sometimes we are just waiting for someone to make the first move. Why can’t it be you?
Find a Mom Tribe
Do you have that person you text with during the middle of the night feedings because they are in the same boat too? Or that mom friend that you text during witching hour with a GIF that says something like “We will survive!”? This is the type of mom tribe that I am talking about. If not, be purposeful in finding one.
To be honest, I am not very close to my original mom tribe now, but we were there for each other during some of the hardest, yuckiest, and craziest times of the first two years of our kids’ lives. That’s exactly what we needed. We met through a mom and baby workout group and through play dates at the library. You’d be surprised where you will meet your tribe members but hold on to them tight. So, whether you have an existing mom tribe and want to be more purposeful in reaching out to them, or if you’re looking to create new friendships, now is the time to do so.
Say YES to Invitations
When we have newborns, we tend to be hermits (this goes back to isolating ourselves in point one). We work on creating a routine to stick to get some type of normalcy back in our lives. As important as keeping a schedule for your newborn is, you don’t want this to stop you from accepting any invitations to get out of the house. When you get invited to things like:
- Mommy and Me music classes
- A playground or special event
- A night out with your girlfriends
Say “Yes!” to the invite. In fact, get good at inviting others too! Then that tribe will grow even faster for you.
When we become moms, we join an exclusive group of amazing women. We must support one another in this season of life so that we can all work together to combat the loneliness and isolation. Be proactive, be the smile others need to see, find your tribe, and say “Yes” to get connected, and you will find the loneliness and isolation won’t come around anymore.
Share in the comments how you make sure that the feelings of loneliness and isolation as a new mom don’t stick around too long.