Most women, if not all, yearn for motherhood deep down in their hearts. However, it’s not an easy road. For many new moms, entering motherhood is often a lonely journey. According to a recent scientific study, the first year of motherhood is the loneliest period of a woman’s life.
But being a mom is not supposed to be this hard. It is supposed to be the most magical time of a woman’s life. Still, so many moms feel lonely and isolated.
Why is Motherhood so Lonely?
Motherhood is a major transition. You have to give up freedom, sleep, and relationships to follow your baby’s hourly needs around the clock. That’s not all. There are many other reasons that make the matter worse.
1. The Identity Crisis of Motherhood
Before having a kid, you probably imagined everything would be the same, but maybe less sleep and more fulfillment. Then you become a mother and find out immediately that EVERYTHING is changed.
You get the priceless “mother” tag and a new identity. At the same time, it leaves you emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and financially dried up. You hope it will get better soon. But they refuse to grow up according to your plan. Eventually, you become stuck in the motherhood identity crisis – trying to find the “old you” and at the same moment unable to remember who the “old you” was.
2. Bonding with Your Baby is Hard
Your baby is a reflection of you. Some moms find a connection with their baby instantly after their baby is born. They know how to soothe a crying baby in seconds, or make them go to sleep as soon as they hold them. That’s not the case for all new moms.
There are many reasons why some moms find it hard to connect with their babies. It can be due to-
Whatever the reason is, bonding with your new baby is hard. And you’re not alone.
3. Relationship Stress and Anxiety
It’s true that relationship with husband changes after having a baby. Not everyone experiences the same level of challenges, but they can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for new moms. Here are some circumstances that create additional stress and anxiety after a baby:
- Extreme financial strain
- Physical and mental health challenges
- Feeling neglected by husband after baby
- Feeling insecure in the relationship after baby
- Relationship breakdown after baby
In addition to the relationship problems after baby, many new moms struggle to keep up friendships and other social relationships. The lack of support from friends and family makes the early days of motherhood physically and emotionally draining.
4. The Pressure to Be The Perfect Mom
“Since childhood, I wanted to do everything perfectly. I wanted to be a perfect mom, to succeed, to do it right. So, I started reading every parenting book, a mom blog to share my motherhood journey, and an Instagram account. And it nearly cost me my life.”
It’s an honest mom’s confession of a mom about the pressure to be a perfect mom.
We try to be better than we were before we became mothers, but we fail repeatedly. Eventually, the disappointment and pressures from social media add a lot of weight to our loneliness.
5. Hard to Find “ Mommy Me Time”
The role of a mother in a family has traditionally been to raise the kids and take care of household chores. However, the role of mothers is constantly changing. Whether you are a stay at home mom, working mom, or a single mom, it’s hard to balance your busy schedule.
Sometimes, being a mom feels like you have no life after baby. You get up early in the morning, prepare some breakfasts, wash baby clothes, and then you have to think about what to prepare for lunch and dinner. Maybe you just get half an hour of TV before going to bed, and then the slog starts all over again. Where being a mom is more than a full-time job, the time for proper sleep becomes elusive for moms, let alone the Me Time.
6. Hard to Find Quality Childcare
If you have a Grandma or an Auntie who could mind the baby, you are lucky. But not everyone is that lucky. If you are a working mom or a single mom, you need to find someone or something to take care of your baby while you are away for work. However, it is hard to find childcare that meets your standards.
Ways to Combat the Loneliness of Motherhood
Yes, motherhood is lonely sometimes – but there’s a reason to feel hopeful navigating the loneliness of motherhood. Here are some ways to deal with the feelings of isolation and reclaim your happiness.
1. Rediscover Yourself after Motherhood
Rediscovering yourself after motherhood is very important for both you and your baby. Yes, motherhood is a big change. But it doesn’t have to define you completely. You can still be a good mom and prioritize your mental and emotional needs.
Here are some tips for rediscovering yourself after motherhood:
- Motherhood is a gift. Practice gratitude.
- Schedule some regular me-time.
- Take care of yourself.
- Set goals and be realistic.
- Spend more time with your partner, friends, and family.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy.
- Ask for help whenever you need it.
2. Remember That You’re Not Alone in the Lonely Road of Motherhood
Feelings of isolation and loneliness are not unusual. Most new mothers struggle with feelings of loneliness and boredom while slogging through the day to day of being at home all the time. Understanding that you are not alone, help you recover from the painful feelings. It’s the first step toward being a confident mom. Things become much easier when you have strong self-confidence and not stressed about doing things right all the time.
Jill Savage is a mother of five, and she’s walked that long road to motherhood. In her book, In Better Together: Because You're Not Meant to Mom Alone, Savage shows how to find and cultivate the friendships that are necessary for your motherhood journey.
3. Find and Join Some Support Groups
Good social support will boost your confidence and ability to become a good mom. Research suggests that new mothers who have strong social support and confidence in their parenting ability are 75 percent less likely to feel lonely in motherhood.
Having a strong support network changes how you feel emotionally. Here are some tips for finding mommy support groups in your area.
- Try to get involved with other new mothers via social meetups and join a “mommy and baby group” in your area.
- Step out of your comfort zone and be intentional about forming friendships with other moms.
- Don’t convince yourself that you’re the only one in the world who doesn’t have any friends.
4. Have Compassion for Yourself
If you need help, talk to someone. No one will understand your feelings until you take the courage and talk about it. Don’t feel guilty for seeking help, especially when you see other mothers’ home with their little ones and enjoying every second. Don’t hold onto the fear that seeking help will reflect negatively on you as a mother. Instead, focus on what is important to you, not on what others want, think, or have.
If you need tools and resources to break the cycle of mom-guilt, we have a great recommendation for you. Blogger, speaker, podcaster, and single mom of seven, Rachel Marie Martin’s book The Brave Art of Motherhood: Fight Fear, Gain Confidence, and Find Yourself Again has all the things you need to build your confidence and live brave again!
5. Participate in Activities
Try to make plans with friends/family for coffee or something, so that you are keeping in touch with them and it’s not always about the baby. Having a good laugh with them is a great way of boosting your mood and helping you to feel more like you.
Meditation and mindfulness exercises can also help you take control of your day and stay calm as a new mom. A new study suggests that mindfulness techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing — can help reduce new mom’s odds of experiencing loneliness and its impact, both during pregnancy and after the baby arrives.
6. Pick Up Some Hobbies
Avoid feeling sorry for yourself and be proactive. Do something you love, start a hobby, or join the class you always wanted to. Fill the week up with programs at the local community, the library, and movies for mommies. These little things will take a load off your mind and you will be better equipped to deal with the loneliness of motherhood.
If you are losing yourself in your lonely motherhood journey and just needed a little push to get you going, count on Ashlee Gadd. Her book “The Magic of Motherhood: The Good Stuff, the Hard Stuff, and Everything In Between” is full of uplifting, encouraging stories about the magic that is motherhood.
7. Eat Healthily
It’s easy to lose sight of who you were before you became a parent. When you feel lonely, you become depressed and start to lose interest in cooking and eating. Without eating nutritious food regularly, you are more likely to suffer ill health, and you become more susceptible to the loneliness of motherhood. If all the socializing choices don’t appeal, then at least make sure you are eating well.
8. Know That the Pain is Temporary
Motherhood becomes much less lonely with time. A recent study shows that new mothers’ confidence increases at around 11 months. As you become more confident taking your baby out into the world, you are able to reconnect with friends. And your baby grows, he becomes more responsive, making motherhood so much more fulfilling.
Lastly, but most importantly, talk about it with your partner, your parents, and a health visitor as soon as possible. Motherhood is hard, and it is not going to be easy trying to get through this. Believe in yourself. Also, believe in a positive outcome no matter what you are feeling right now.