4 tips to combat feelings of loneliness as a new mama
Feb 20, 2017
I remember when my first baby was born, I had ZERO friends with kiddies. Zero! At the time, I was living with my parents in their lovely home, as my husband was commuting weekly to London. But good God I felt lonely. Then a close friend suggested I hook up with one of her best friends who was in the same position and thankfully we went on to become great friends and now have boys the same ages and even in the same class in school!
But I often thought about how I would cope if I didn't have the luxury of living with my wonderful parents in their beautiful and very spacious house. The only thing I ever needed to focus on was my newborn son. Dinners appeared without me having to lift a finger, dirty clothes were taken from the basket and put back into my room ironed, folded, spick and span. My mother is a saint. I thought about those ladies staying on their own for the whole day, feeling exhausted, potentially really confused or overwhelmed, and desperately lonely. And as we all know, the days can be very, verrrryyy looonnnnngggg. Particularly when you and baby aren't having a day filled with giggles and smiles, more like screaming and crying.
If you are feeling pretty lonely, worry not. It takes a little effort, but you just have to push yourself a little to get yourself out there and before you know it, you'll have a whole new set of friends made in no time! So this is pretty much what I did, and I hope you find it useful. Think of it as a new kind of dating!
- Get online and join some support groups - there is a multitude of private Facebook Groups which bring together mothers with similar views or experiences on certain topics. Some examples are breastfeeding, baby wearing (baby slings), fitness, cooking etc. Do some research on the prophet Google for ones which appeal to you. Take part in discussions and you can start to find out if ladies are local to you and arrange a meetup.
- Get out & exercise - just like dating, you need to get yourself out there! When out walking or exercising, smile at other buggy pushers! I've always been a big exercise fan - as it just makes you feel so good, both mentally and physically. The endorphins released will make you feel happy, and who doesn't want that! If you walk the same routes at similar times of the day, you'll be surprised how many faces become familiar to you quite quickly!
- Overcome your nerves and say something! - a friendly smile can work wonders - then the next time you find yourself grabbing a cuppa pre or post walk, you most likely will see a few of those friendly faces. It's the perfect time to start a chat! Having kids is always a handy icebreaker for a conversation. A simple hi, or a knowing smile from one mother to another, is a solid start.
- Find your tribe - generally, there are tons of mother and baby groups around nowadays from swimming to baby massage, mum & baby yoga, to baby sign language and breastfeeding support groups. There are even movies now which show new releases during the day and are specifically for parents and their babies. The local library, health centre, your local public health nurse, coffee shops, or shopping centre notice boards are all full of adverts about great local classes, so keep your eyes peeled and ask around. When you go to a few of the classes, you'll figure out which ones are right for you, and you'll find your tribe! Having a group of like-minded women together is a phenomenal support system for those times when you'll really need the extra support. What I try to do in my classes, is to encourage my new mamas to go for a cuppa together straight after class, and with permission, I hand out all their numbers, along with their names and their babies names. If your instructor doesn't encourage this, just ask! By the way, if you happen to still be pregnant while reading this - get your notebook out and have a look at some new mother groups that are running in your area. Using social media as a source of finding new networks is also really important. And make sure to stay in touch with the girls in your antenatal classes - you might be attending classes in your hospital, pregnancy yoga or pilates classes, fitness classes or similar. If you are seeing them every week, make sure to note their names and how far along they are in their pregnancy.
Integrating into your community is most definitely an amazing way to connect and get access to the most incredible empathy around! It's often where you will find out so much helpful advice on things to do with baby, but also places to go, new classes that are coming up, what else is going on in your community and even things like the best childminders and playschools in the area! So off you pop lovely, get on out there, get smiling and 'dating' your way out of lonliness.
Helen Plass is a Pre & Postnatal Fitness Specialist, and Yoga Instructor, working with women and their birthing partners to achieve a comfortable, healthy & happy journey into Pregnancy, birth and Motherhood. She is known for her very practical & non-judgmental approach to pregnancy and the crazy times of motherhood. Check out all her communication at NurtureMamas.com, and if you are in Ireland, her local business MumandBaby.ie