Becoming a mother (or parent in general), is supposed to be one of the biggest blessings in the world. So why can it feel so lonely?
I was told what motherhood was like by a lot of people. I was told to prepare to lose my nice figure and for sleepless nights.
But nobody – not my mum, my sisters, the midwife – told me how lonely becoming a mother was. You feel as though you are taking on the world alone and nobody else understands what you’re going through.
I’m not the only one to think that. While doing a news report for university, I found out that we are the most isolated generation of mums.
When Leo was born and I was moved to the ward with other mums, I was allowed one person with me from 9am-9pm. Everyone else had to come at visiting hours.
But, though they tried their best, neither my partner Dylan nor my mum could be with me all the time.
So I was on my own with Leo for a while, and I was alone at night.
Yes, there were nurses and other mums on the ward, and I had my beautiful baby boy.
But I felt isolated.
I didn’t know how to talk to other mums, and I still don’t. The thought terrifies me. I’m afraid that they will judge me for being young, or disagree with my parenting techniques.
It sounds selfish to say I felt alone when I was blessed with Leo, but I couldn’t help it.
Nobody prepares you for how lonely it can be.
I get why – I would hate telling a mum-to-be that, especially while they’re exhausted from the night feeds and maybe a little stressed and hormonal.
But maybe it’s something that midwives should talk about? Finding out for myself made me feel guilty when I was surrounded with so much love.
Since Leo was born, I feel people don’t always understand why I cancel plans or reschedule events.
It’s not that I don’t want to get out and socialize. More often than not I am so tired and have work to catch up on.
But then I feel I am letting people down.
It’s a vicious cycle.
People keep telling me to make more ‘mummy friends’, too.
I like the idea of having a friend that Leo and I can go on play dates with, but I don’t want to feel forced to make friends with another woman purely on the basis that we both have babies.
Being a mum is the best thing in the world, but having a support network is more important than you think.
I have an amazing family, boyfriend and friends, and I am incredibly blessed to be Leo’s mummy.
It’s not the easiest job in the world, and feeling lonely doesn’t help sometimes, but opening up (which is what I did with Dylan after talking about it for a uni project), helps a lot.
The support I get from my family, Dylan, friends and even university, is incredible. I am so grateful.
So one thing to remember…
YANA – You Are Not Alone.