Loneliness In Motherhood | 10 Tips For Feeling Better
You have heard it said countless times; it’s ok not to feel ok. And that was never more true than after having a baby. But don’t forget, they also say it takes a village to raise a child. There are so many worries, pressures and changes to adjust to when a new baby comes along. Relationships can be tested and people can get stressed, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Being a new mom is such a wonderful experience, but can be so overwhelming and isolating at times. It is perfectly normal to feel like you are not doing it right. The lack of sleep can make you feel like the simplest thing is next to impossible. You need to remember that this part of motherhood is very short lived… it goes by in a blink even if it feels like an eternity at the time!
Then there are the hormones, these little buggers can make us go from superwoman to sobbing in seconds flat, but it does settle, give it time.
Below are a few tips for surviving when you are in the trenches:
1. Try To Remember Who You Are
It is so important to remember that just because you are mammy now, that is not all you are. You may need to enlist the help of your partner and friends to remind you of who you are as it is very easy to forget when life gets hectic. You were a person with thoughts, hopes and dreams before baby arrived and you still are, it just might take a little more effort to remember her sometimes!
2. Make Sure You Take Care Of Yourself
If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. It is such a cliché but you really do need to make sure you eat well and try to get as much sleep as possible, even if that means leaving the housework to allow you to have a midday catnap.
3. Stop Trying To Be Perfect
This is so important. You see those perfect moms on social media all the time, the ones who have it all together even with 4 or 5 kids and they make you wonder why you are struggling with just one. The truth is there is no such thing as a perfect mom, these women show the world what they want seen, the reality is usually very different so give yourself a break and look at the moms who post pictures of the messy kitchen, crayon on the walls and bags under their eyes… these are the people who will pick you up when you have a bad day.
4. Make Mom Friends
This is vital to your survival. Unfortunately, your non-mom friends won’t understand as well as your mom friends when you can’t make a social event or when you haven’t had a chance to tidy or wash your hair in days. The mom friends will be your allies in the darkest moments while your non-mom friends will help you retain your pre-baby identity.
5. Join A Group
What is it they say? There is safety in numbers. Another thing you can do is join a group with likeminded ladies. It is good for you to get out of the house, they understand what you are going through and it is a great place to vent your worries away. It is also nice that the babies and toddlers grow up knowing each other.
6. Take Offers Of Help
This is the best piece of advice I was given. If someone offers to cook, let them. If someone offers to take baby for a walk, let them. If they will mind baby so you can eat/sleep/shower, let them. It does not mean you are any less capable, it means you are human!
7. Talk About How You Are Feeling
A problem shared is a problem halved (I apologise for all the clichés but they are there because they are true!). If you are not feeling how you expected to or how you think you should, talk to someone, be it your family, partner, friend or even your doctor. They are all just as invested in you being well so they will be happy to listen.
8. Be Honest About How You Feel
If you don’t feel okay, there is no shame in that. Don’t be a martyr trying to paper over the cracks, if you are exhausted or not coping, tell someone. Chances are they will have been exactly where you are now and might even be able to help you or give you advice.
9. Accept The Way You Feel
It is important that you roll with the punches when it comes to post-delivery hormones and emotions. Things will eventually hit an even keel again but until then, give yourself a break. You just made and delivered a tiny human... you are a superhero! All you should expect of yourself now is that you are both alive at the end of every day, the rest is just icing on the cake!
10. Seek Professional Advice
This is by far the most important advice you can get. If you feel things are just not right, that it is more than baby blues (which are perfectly normal by the way), please do yourself a favour and get help. The sooner the better. If you feel like you are in a black hole, crying constantly, feeling paranoid, struggling in any way, go and see your doctor. Too many women don’t seek help when they should because they don’t want to seem weak but there is so much strength in knowing when to ask for help. A friend of mine who suffered with post-natal depression said a lightbulb went on for her when she started thinking her family would be better off without her and said to herself; “I have to do something before I do something”.
The most important thing to remember is that you are never alone as a mom, we are all in this together and we will all make it out the other side, we just need to roll with whatever life (and our children) throws at us.