We always hear and read about the loneliness of being a new mum, how isolated you can feel those first few months when you have a child permanently attached to your hip/breast or both. When your partner, if you have one, has to go back to work and those first few weeks of friends and family visiting you with gifts wears off and it’s just you, the baby and a ridiculous amount of raging hormones. Your body is trying to knit back together, you are trying to get into a routine, you’re reading all the books, ensuring your baby is at the right developmental stage constantly, planning to cook fresh home made meals for when they start weaning and putting enormous pressure on yourself to have the picture perfect baby and life that you see all over social media.
But what happens if you don’t go back to work and months turn into years? What happens when on the whole you are happy and enjoy your life but every so often you feel this pang of weariness, of isolation, of loneliness and it’s down to the constant company of just your child.
Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love motherhood, it’s been the most amazing and wonderful experience. So should we feel guilty that now and again we want to go to the toilet alone? That it would be nice to be able to leave the house without having to negotiate with the Tasmanian devil to get dressed/brush teeth/insert your own struggle here? Hell no. My other half goes to work, ok he may have to walk the dogs before he goes sometimes, but apart from that, he just goes. He doesn’t have to worry about getting someone else ready, he’s not governed by nursery opening and closing times or nap times or the toilet trips that happen 300 times a day.
Is it possible for someone who is upbeat, positive, relatively funny (well I think so), most of the time, to be lonely? It’s not like they don’t have transport to get anywhere or friends, they do the school run, they get out and about, but can you still be lonely?
I would have questioned it too if I wasn’t talking about myself. I don’t feel like I have the right to be lonely but this week has been testing. Harriet has been poorly. There’s so many bugs and illnesses going around at the moment, it was inevitable that it was going to hit the Mears household at some point.
When Harriet is poorly she’s clingy. She’s all for mummy and nothing else will do. After five days with a poorly, clingy child it starts to get to you. Obviously she is my main concern and her health is the most important thing, but after watching others visit, come and go, even my husband being able to leave for work, knowing he can do what he wants whilst he’s out, talk to who he wants, sometimes it wears you down. And today, I was at the end of my tether.
When Harriet starts to feel a little better, the stropping and whinging takes over because she’s tired, bored and irritable. I like to call this asshole mode. Ever had a tiny human kicking their legs in a tantrum and you bend forward at the wrong time? No! Well, just picture a fat lip that looks like a dodgy lip job, you’ll understand where I’m going with this! But you can’t get angry they don’t understand. What you need is time away. I have to say even driving to the supermarket on my own was a relief this afternoon. I needed that couple of hours alone, ok the clothes shop I visited on the way may have helped too but I’m still not ridding myself of the loneliness I sometimes feel.
I am the worlds worst at keeping in touch with my friends, then I feel guilty taking their time when I’m feeling low. So after a few whats app messages, we have a made a pact that at least once a week we will get together. Even if we can’t go #outout (sorry, boring preggers one here), we can get together, laugh, talk, share and remind ourselves that we all have bad days, shit weeks, stress, anxiety, loneliness. They may happen because of different stressors but the most important thing is that we all support each other.
Don’t suffer alone, we all have bad days, loneliness can creep up on you even in a house full of people, it’s always better to talk, to share and to release.