As a new mama currently on maternity leave I’m constantly surrounded by my little person, I’m never actually alone & I live in a house which is so full of love, so why do I feel so lonely & isolated?
This pang of isolation has been severely unexpected – After all, it’s me that’s chose to fill my life, open my home & my heart to more people, it just doesn’t quite make sense. I’ve never felt this way before, in fact it’s quite ironic that this isolated period of my life is being spent with the human I love most in the world.
And I feel a little bit guilty about it.
I imagined maternity leave would be a breeze. I thought it’d be a time where I’d be getting so much done, I’d be working on myself & bettering myself with a couple of cutesy baby snuggles in between. When in reality a breeze is the furthest away weather maternity leave could have been. When I think about my time away from work it’s been more like a tumultuous storm & I’m just about getting though it.
Don’t get me wrong It’s been amazing – But there’s definitely been difficult times!
I found after childbirth a lot of attention was instantly put onto baby blues & postnatal depression, and quite rightly so, but nothing was ever mentioned about the loneliness and isolation I and so many others experience.
I feel lonely because by deciding to have my Amelia I’ve taken on the selfless responsibility for another human being. I no longer have the luxury that my pre-baby self had of spending time with my friends, family & husband whenever and wherever I wanted.
Before I even think about wanting to do anything I have to think about how it’ll affect my little person & yes its me that’s put myself in this situation but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it has been.
My body, my mind, my marriage, my career—all of it was suddenly up in the air & thrown into chaos – And while I’m ridiculously happy to be a mama, I’m also pretty conflicted. I miss my old self, my pre-baby life & that sense of loss, combined with the isolation of caregiving, makes me feel really flipping lonely – It’s so bittersweet!
When polled 74% of my followers agreed that they’d also felt lonely in motherhood, strangely enough with the same percentage saying they had a good support network around them – So again this begs the question of why do we feel so isolated?
Sadly, the answer seems to lie within ourselves – 76% of mama’s said they felt they brought the isolation on themselves & if I’m honest I think I’d put myself into that category too.
Mum guilt is real.
We can’t seem to win!
So what’s the solution?
Making new friends.
As an adult I think it’s pretty difficult to make friends & I’ve read so many articles from different writers agreeing, however I think when a baby’s added into the mix the feeling is definitely worsened.
Amelia & I go to a weekly baby group on a Tuesday afternoon & as much as we love it & it’s the highlight of the week, I just don’t get on with the mums the way I’d expected to.
Before I had my daughter I thought I’d join various baby groups and suddenly fit into a group of six strong ass mamas, we’d chat, text, meet up for coffee, basically become best friends and live happily ever after with our babies – But that hasn’t happened. We chat and have fun with our kids for the hour, but then all seem to go our separate ways when the sessions finished.
In my head as I’m writing this I’m thinking ‘why don’t I break the mould? Why don’t I ask them for a coffee?’ Well for me it’s the fear of rejection & making myself look silly… And that fear is real!
Figuring out who I really am.
Something else that I feel is very much real is that feeling that I don’t have that much to offer. I spend so much time with my little girl that I’ve kind of forgotten how to be myself – And that’s really effing sad!
I think when I go back to work & start getting ‘my life back on track’ so to speak I’ll probably feel differently but for now I’m really unsure of who Claire is, I know who Claire, Amelia’s mama is, but Claire on her own I’m not 100% sure any more.
I want to reinvent myself as the Girl Boss I know I can be!
Shaking off that feeling of just being a mum.
I suppose feeling like a shadow of my former self goes hand in hand with feeling like I’m just a mum – I’ve spoken about this as well as how I hate that phrase so many times now across my blog & social medias, but I just can’t shake the feeling.
I so easily get myself stuck down a rabbit hole of feeling like I’m solely on this planet to look after my tiny human, and once I’m in that frame of mind it’s difficult for me to get out of it.
I know it’s stupid – I spent so many years desperately wanting to become a mum, and now I’m here it’s not quite as I’d expected it to be – And it’s so effing bittersweet!
I don’t 100% know the solution to combating new mama loneliness is! I’d like to think it’s time? But who’s for certain? Please let me know in the comments.
Other than that, I’ll report back in few months.
I do know one way you can help though – Check in on your mama friends! Two thirds of people I polled believed their loved ones could have done more to help combat their loneliness – I think that’s really sad considering only a slightly higher percentage said they had a good support network around them.
Again it’s as if we can’t win!
I think whether you send a quick 2 minute text or you get your mama out of the house for a coffee, it doesn’t really matter. All we want to know is that you’re there!
Can anyone else relate to the bittersweet feeling of loneliness & isolation as a mum? Please let me know in the comments below.