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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

New Mom Loneliness and How to Make it Better


I never thought that I could be so happy but yet feel lonely?

Motherhood is tough and there are many facets to it that a lot of people don't discuss. It almost feels taboo to even mention out loud some of its flaws. There's this little voice of guilt that appears once you have a baby and it constantly trolls you. Where does this come from? I wish I was a therapist to discover this question. 
No one talks about the hard stuff and one thing I am expressing as of late is the feeling of loneliness. 

So what is loneliness?

 One description of loneliness includes feelings of disconnection from those around you that can lead to depression, sadness and frustration. It stems from a lack of authentic understanding of and appreciation for someone else and vice versa.
But can you feel loneliness when you are surrounded by people? The answer is yes. Since having Mateo there are plenty of days when I have felt very lonely. The irony is we live in a society where we can get connected to people through social media, text and emails but yet we can still suffer from loneliness. The mind is a tricky thing isn't it. I am sitting at home in my bedroom 99% of the time still in my pajamas, glasses on, hair in a messy bun, sitting in my glider holding my baby and wondering why no one is wondering how I am doing. I scroll through Instagram and I see people doing things, getting things done, going out, having fun and it looks like everyone in the world is having the time of their lives and I am just sitting here alone...

Losing a bit of me

I have always had friends. In college I bonded very quickly with some great friends that were from NYC. I was also still hanging out with my high school friends. There was always something to do on the weekends. My life was busy and I was always on the go. 

When my husband and I moved to Rhode Island I made friends with girls that I worked with. It toke some time for me to warm up and open up but I found a good core group of women that I loved spending time with. We worked together by day and went out after work. 

When I chose to be alone I was content with that. I am a introvert extrovert kind of person. I love alone time but I can talk to anyone at a party. I am not shy to introduce myself but I can be a home body.

I also love to keep myself busy. I would work during the week and weeknights and weekends I did blog shoots and created content for my blog and youtube channel. Weekend nights my husband and I would have date nights and continue to explore Rhode Island. I inately don't like to feel trapped or controlled. When I became a mother everything that I know and did for myself shifted. I lost part of the person that I once was. 

PostPartum 

I started to experience loneliness about a month ago. This was about 6-8 weeks after having Mateo. What I envisioned motherhood to be like what quite the opposite for me. I planned to be breastfeeding full time for 6-8 months and I planned to have a freezer full of pumped milk and it was going to be the sweetest experience with my baby! 
Nothing went according to plan for me. From day two Mateo and I couldn't get the hang of breastfeeding. I developed mastitis twice. I also experienced a milk blister and mentally this was breaking me down. I felt like no one understood me. My husband didn't understand what I was going through and my family either. The more I felt people didn't understand the more I started to pull away from everyone. 
This lead to me daily feeling withdrawn and lonely. With this anxiety began. My mind was focusing more on negative thoughts than happiness. That voice again would pop up and hype me  with negative thoughts like " I can't believe no one is checking up on you" and " they don't even notice or care what you are going through." 
Sometimes it would be the worst luck that I would manage a phone call with a family member or a text with a friend and it just always felt like bad timing. I would hold back what I wanted to say and not get a chance to dig deep and release what I was going through.

Being part of a tribe

Us as women we like to be part of a tribe. We are naturally emotional beings. Feeling part of a group makes us feel whole in a way. We need to vent. The word vent must of came from a woman. Its a therapeutic release for us as women. 
When you get married and have kids venting is the new detox plan. Its the best release ever! This is especially true for motherhood. There are many dark sides to motherhood. Faking it on social media or to your family and friends only makes the loneliness and anxiety worsen over time. 
When I finally confided in my best friend with what I was feeling it felt so good because she had went through and felt many of the same things. It's kinda of freaky how we almost all experience many of the same things during motherhood but only feel safe to express that when someone else starts the conversation first. 

Loneliness is part of this journey. It's natural to feel that way in the beginning because our own needs take a backseat now. Everything is about the baby now. Very rarely does anyone ask you how are you doing. No one is catering to your needs and you barely have time to cater yourself anymore. 

It gets better

The day I reached out to my best friend was the day things began to get better. I felt more comfortable sharing the hardships of the day with her and other friends. I was sharing on my IG stories what I was going through and I was flooded with dm(s) from other women that either experienced the same thing or were currently experiencing it. 

I had found my mom tribe! Every season you go through, you are going to find a different tribe of friends. Right now I am in the season of motherhood so I am attracted to mom friends. They uplift me and encourage me and know what I am going through. 

I have certain Instagram mom friends that reach out to another through dm to check up on each other. We vent on struggles for the day and offer tips or product recommendations to help one other. It definitely feels better than to be scrolling google all by yourself on another baby related problem. 

I am here to tell you that it gets better mama. You just have to put in the effort of putting yourself out there. 

Here are some tips:

1. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member. Call or text them. Set up a coffee date or have them come over if you aren't ready to leave your baby with someone and catch up. 

2. Join a support group. There are some many support groups once you scroll the internet. Search your area for support groups that fit your needs. There are even some good ones on Facebook or start your own! 

3. Join some type of baby class. This can be swim or baby music. This can be another great way to meet new moms and set up playdates.

4. Go for a walk. I can't wait for the winter to end so I can put Mateo in the stroller and go out for some fresh air. Its amazing how much better we tend to feel when we just go for a walk and breathe fresh air. 

5. Do something for you! This week I plan on doing this! I am telling that trolling new voice of mom guilt to shut up and let me do me. I plan on getting a hair cut and I am so excited about it!. But You are entitled to take care of yourself and make it a priority. So schedule a nail appointment or go for a quick workout or a coffee chat with a friend. 

6. This is just a season. Once I shifted my mind I actively sought out to make this season of alone time an opportunity for spiritual growth. Being alone can be healthy sometimes. If you focus your mind positively you can utilize the alone time to rest, increase your creativity, reflect and improve your focus. 

As one reader wrote me and said "loneliness is God's way to getting our attention."

I am intentionally using my alone time to get closer to God. Now that my world has slowed down a bit I can use this time to finally get around to reading the bible more. I was recently reminded while reading a devotional that Jesus made it a habit to be alone. He was alone for 40 days in the wilderness and when he prayed he was alone. But we are never truly alone because in Hebrews 13:5 God said " I will never desert you nor will I forsake you." 

Antidote

The antidote to loneliness is relationships with other people and with God. Open up to others and enjoy sharing your new life with close friends and new ones. Spend time alone in God's presence and enjoy being in this season. Write down your feelings or begin a journal. The worst thing to do is to bottle up your feelings. Find a healthy way to get them out and you will see what a difference it makes. 

It will get better mama and I am here on this ride with you! 

You got this mama! 


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