Loneliness of a New Mum

lone

 

Surrounded by family and friends we bask in the news of our imminent arrival. We may be treated to a Baby Shower. Surrounded by smiles and expectations. Into this our baby arrives.

At home we greet the stream of visitors cooing over the cute outfits and cuddly toys they bring for our little one.

Then it stops…the doorbell stops ringing, the bouquets of flowers start to wilt and there is a gradual realisation that this is it. You and baby.

A recent survey of 2,000 parents found the majority feel cut off from friends, and family, after the birth of a child.

The research by Action for Children found that 52% admitted suffering loneliness, with many saying lack of money and inability to leave the house easily left them feeling isolated. More than two-thirds of parents said they had felt ‘cut-off’ from friends and family since having children.

I struggled with feelings of isolation when my first son was born.  It was a cold January and I had had a C-section so wasn’t as mobile as I had hoped.  Prior to having my son I had a busy work life and had colleagues to chat with every day.

After the initial influx of visitors dispersed, I found it hard to adjust.  Each day became the same and each evening I longed for my partner to return from work.  I’d barrage him with questions wanting to know everything about his day – his interaction with adults.

My son was born in the days before What’s App and Facebook and although mobile phones were common they were still not used as freely as we do now.  So it was a chance encounter at the weigh-in clinic that I met a girl I had been in antenatal with.  She had just signed up to a baby massage class and encouraged me to come along.  It was the best move I had made…each Saturday morning I attended the class getting to know the other mums, sharing our experience and arranging to meet for coffee.  I soon had a supportive circle of friends which continued grow and evolved with me and my family.

Sustained feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to mental health issues including depression and anxiety – both common among new parents.

Feeling of loneliness can be experienced a different levels at different times and as a mum who works from home there are days where I long for a colleague to share things with or someone to pop in for a coffee to break up the day.  Some mums can feel isolated at night when they are up feeding; people can feel detached even in a group.  This is why as parents it is important to share our feelings, so we don’t feel alone.

Sustained feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to mental health issues including depression and anxiety – both common among new parents.

We could look at, and analyse all the reason that parents feel lonely, but each situation is unique to the individual. What is more important is how we can help combat these feelings of isolation.

Top five tips to combat loneliness

  • Try and get out at least once a day.  Even a simple thing like chatting to a neighbour or shop keeper can give you a boost.
  • Find out about local groups for mums in your area – you’ll be surprised by just how much is on offer once you start looking.  Your local NCT can be a good place to start.
  • If you attended an anti-natal class, arrange a meet up.  Don’t just rely on digital communications – we need face to face contact.
  • Pick-up the phone and have a good chat, or arrange to meet up. Sometimes you have to be the one to take the lead.
  • It is important to share how you are feeling….you’ll be amazed how many people are in the same situation.

Carry safely this bonfire night.

IMG_7005

 

Carriers and slings are great for bonfire night you can keep baby close and it saves you taking a buggy over a muddy field. It also makes it easier for a quick exit if baby doesn’t enjoy the experience.

But it is important to keep safe and here are five tips to help you carry safely:

  • Do not light fireworks when carrying a baby.  Carriers and slings can be so comfortable it is easy to forget you have a baby attached!
  • Do not use a sparkler when carrying baby.  Sparklers reach extremely high temperatures and baby is closer than you are if you are carrying.   Always be safe.
  • Keep baby facing in if possible.  Babies can become over stimulated and frightened by the lights and bangs, this can be reduced if they are facing you for comfort.  But always be prepared to leave early, some little ones just don’t like the noise and flashing.
  • Think about ear defenders or ear muffs.  Babies have sensitive hearing so consider the noise.  If at a garden display you could watch from inside.  Why not consider watching from a distance.
  • Remember it’s going to be cold, but a carrier counts as a layer of clothing.  If you are wearing a wrap style carrier each layer of fabric counts as a layer of clothing.  Keep extremities warm feet, hands and head.

Above all have fun and stay safe.