After all the excitement of your new arrival and the busyness of getting everything ready on time, reality hits.
Now you have to navigate this parenting thing ‒ and no matter how many well wishes you have received, this can be a pretty isolating experience.
So first up ‒ feeling lonely in motherhood is totally allowed.
The nature of many of your relationships (from partners to friends to colleagues) may feel as though it’s shifted.
Your body is also going through a major recovery process right now, and you’re experiencing one serious life adjustment.
As joyful as this chapter may be, it can also be incredibly isolating.
And it’s not just new motherhood that can leave you feeling this way.
This journey is filled with many distinct chapters, each one with the potential to bring about major shifts in your relationships and emotional life.
Luckily, there are ways to feel connected again.
We’re going to take you through the ins and outs of feeling lonely as a mother, what it can mean for your mental health, and how to deal with it.
In this article: 📝
- Is it normal to feel lonely in motherhood?
- How do you deal with loneliness in motherhood?
Is it normal to feel lonely in motherhood?
According to this survey, 28 percent of new mothers experience loneliness after giving birth to their first child.
Motherhood may bring with it a new era of social interaction.
Perhaps your partner has gone back to work, and you’re suddenly left with endless hours on your own with your little one.
Or you’re a single mom, which comes with a very specific set of challenges.
You might have gone from having a full-time job, where social interaction was built into your day, to being a stay-at-home mom.
Yep, the whiplash you feel ‒ as you go from dealing with spreadsheet tabs to diaper changes in one fell swoop ‒ is real!
You may also now be on a different schedule from your friends.
Plus, you’re navigating a whole new set of priorities that your friends might not understand.
Of course, we’ve also had a pandemic to deal with, where finding connection became even more of a challenge, for everyone.
Put this all together, and it might feel as though all the adults have disappeared from your life ‒ and with them the jokes, conversations, and the social interaction you crave.
The good news is, it is possible to connect again ‒ and so many other mothers are looking for the same thing you are.
We’ll take you through the details below.
Important: While it’s common to feel lonely in different stages of motherhood, if you are feeling very isolated, anxious, or depressed, you may need medical help.
Reach out to your doctor ‒ and if that feels like too much, talk to a friend or family member.
Recent research has shown that isolation and loneliness are real risk factors for depression.
And this study showed that loneliness can have very real impacts on your mental health and the mental health of your children.
If you are a new mother, you might be experiencing what’s known as the baby blues.
This can develop into a serious medical condition called postpartum depression which can affect the health and well-being of you and your baby.
Postpartum depression needs medical treatment.
Medication and talk therapy (either alone or in a support group) have been shown to be really effective when it comes to treating postpartum depression.
How do you deal with loneliness in motherhood?
Like motherhood itself, there’s no one way to do this.
How you feel more connected is ultimately unique to you.
So these tips are less of a prescription and more guides to help you find your own path.
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Tips for dealing with loneliness in motherhood
1. Get out of the house at least once a day.
Between laundry, sleepless nights, and navigating the huge task that is getting your baby ready for an adventure in the outside world, even the thought of leaving the house can become really daunting.
But it’s important.
Research shows that staying inside the house for long periods of time can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health.
Going out into the world helps you get perspective.
(There’s still a world out there!)
And even the smallest of interactions ‒ like the quick catch-up with the person at the corner store ‒ can help you feel less isolated.
If you can go on an excursion with someone else, even better.
Keen to double up on the self-care?
Spend some time in nature.
This study showed that new mothers report serious postnatal benefits from being in nature, physically, socially, and psychologically.
2. Harness the power of the internet.
While it’s primarily known for its stellar cat memes, the internet has a bunch of other uses too.
One of them is to provide safe, supportive communities for those at similar points of their journeys ‒ and that’s exactly what Peanut does.
Whether you’re looking for a mom support group to help you navigate the highs and lows of motherhood, a new BFF, or advice on all things motherhood (and beyond), you’ll find it in our community.
3. Connect with other mothers in your area.
We know, meeting other new moms is easier said than done.
But there are ways.
Check out your community center, take a class, or volunteer at a local event.
(Again, we know how tricky it can be to find the time, particularly with a new baby. Even doing one small thing can have an impact.)
Peanut can come in really handy here too.
These two mothers in our community found each other in-app and became fast friends IRL.
Their connection turned out to be more than the beginning of a beautiful friendship ‒ they created a children’s book series together!
(You can get their delightful books here.)
And then there’s the story of someone who found a new group of dear friends on the app, something that was instrumental in overcoming her anxiety as a new mom.
4. Do something ‒ just one thing ‒ in your week that’s for you.
Self-care means taking care of the basics.
Rest, eating nourishing food, and the occasional shower can all contribute to your mental health.
But so can the activities that create real joy in your life.
Research into the use of art therapy ‒ both when you’re pregnant and as a new mother ‒ has shown really promising results.
It’s helped new mothers to decrease stress, adjust to this new chapter of life, and cope with postpartum recovery.
All of this can combat feelings of isolation.
Do something you really enjoy ‒ painting, writing, photography, sewing.
And don’t worry about doing it well.
This is really just for you.
5. Know that you don’t have to be perfect.
Feeling as though you have to do things just right can contribute to feelings of loneliness.
If you need to hear this right now, there’s no such thing as a perfect mother.
Motherhood is hectic!
And everyone’s experience and set of challenges are different.
You don’t have to compare yourself to anyone.
This is your journey with your child.
What can help is to commiserate with other mamas.
See, you’re not the only one who got smothered in projectile poop or looked for hours for the cell phone you left in the diaper bag.
You’ve got this!
And you don’t have to do it alone.
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