• Paige Hill

Feeling lonely as a new mum? You're not alone.

Here's five things that might help.

Feeling lonely as a new mum? You’re not alone.

(Here’s 5 things that might help)

I felt like I had anticipated quite a lot of things about motherhood - I knew I’d be sleep deprived, that I wouldn’t have much time alone, and that this little tiny human would change our social lives dramatically.

One of the things that took me by surprise was the loneliness.

I’d always been pretty social. I come from a big family, I played team sports and I was not short on people to call for a Friday night drink. But all of a sudden, after people stopped bringing food and visiting the new baby, I suddenly found myself alone. A lot.

(Aside from our baby, who was very lovely but offered little in the way of conversation).

Looking back it was a bunch of factors.

My husband and I didn’t have close family in the state for a start. My friends here in Melbourne did not have babies. On the weekends, night time events were challenging, and we were tired - by 9:30am it felt like lunchtime already to me.

(It’s interesting how this has changed in our society over time. Back in the day I suppose most people lived in the place they grew up, and so their friends and family often were local. Women had less choices about work, travel and family planning than they do now, and women often had babies at the same time as a lot of their peers. )

So there I was. Often alone.

My husband (not the world’s chattiest on the phone) suddenly got a lot of messages and calls. When he walked in the door, he was treated to the second round of updates he’d already received during the day. I’m sure he appreciated all the pictures too.

My local barristas suddenly became fast friends. Even if I didn’t feel like a coffee, I’d find myself there at the café each day – they were pretty much the only people I would speak to each day plus it was an activity to get out of the house and get there.

Neighbours that I previously barely caught a glimpse of, suddenly became the equivalent of work colleagues. One of mine (shout out to Paul) was a lifeline.

Here are 5 things that might help if you feel lonely:

1. Give mum’s group a try. Every mums group is different – some find ‘their tribe’ who they will know for life, and others will only know each other for a season. Either way, that group of women can be so valuable. If you are nervous, you could ask your nurse if you could be paired with someone before your first week so you have someone to go with.

2. Know you are not alone and that there is nothing wrong with you. I talk to mums all the time who feel lonely being at home with a newborn. They are lovely, funny, kind, interesting people – I suspect it is increasingly common for the reasons for new mums to feel lonely due to all the reasons outlined above.

3. Let people in your life know – before I had a baby I had no idea how much a new mum might enjoy just having me over for a coffee, and that company was a huge gift. Ask mum’s groups friends for coffee – some will have friends or family nearby but others will be in the same position as you. Also, even though I generally hate the phone (my husband is not the only non chatty phone owner in the family), Facetime is a way to feel connected.

4. Find a good storytime. I went to story time every Wednesday at my local library, and it was often the highlight of my week. It was a bookmark in the groundhog day-ness of my life, the woman who ran it was warm and calming, and I enjoyed feeling connected to my baby while we sang (poorly).

5. Know that this stage will pass. At times it will feel like it won’t. But it will.

#newmums #mums #alonebutalwaysattached #cafe #storytime #maternityleave #maternalmentalhealth