Postpartum Loneliness | Why It Exists + How To Fix It

It hit me with full force and completely out of the blue. It was like a wet blanket, heavy, suffocating, and difficult to get out from under. Postpartum loneliness was the number one thing that I never expected after the arrival of my child and after doing a recent survey in a group of mamas, it turns out that I am by no means alone! So, today let’s talk about postpartum loneliness. Why it exists and how to overcome it.

Responsibility

When that new baby is placed in your arms there are so many emotions that run through you. Once all the excitement settles down (and often when you return home from the hospital) all of a sudden the responsibility sets in. You are responsible for this child. When your baby cries, you’re the one that’s supposed to know how to fix it. You need to keep them alive and thriving.

It’s all on you.

I’m not sure about anyone else, but I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by those thoughts. I mean, just because my son was mine didn’t mean that I knew exactly what he needed all the time. In case anyone didn’t know, babies don’t come with instruction manuals. Mamas learn on the job. That’s just the way it is. So, let me start off by saying that you don’t have to know exactly what it is your baby needs. It is completely normal to be unsure. With time that will change. You’re getting to know your baby and they are getting to know you.

However, with all those thoughts about the responsibility that you now hold can come an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Even if you’re surrounded by a great support system, you can feel as though everything is on your shoulders.

Isolation

This point definitely can be cross referenced with this post I wrote a while back about how feminism is failing us as women and homemakers. While it’s wonderful that women now have the ability to work in many industries it has led to increased isolation for those that do choose to stay at home with their children. Neighbourhoods are no longer as friendly and open and mothers don’t tend to mingle nearly as much as in times past. The result is loneliness.

Life is far more fast paced leaving less time for casual socialising. Families also live further a part and as a society, we are generally more protective of our space and privacy. While in many areas we have progressed, this is one in which we have done the complete opposite.

You’re Different

When you become a mama, you change.

Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Of course, you’re still you, but you think differently because your priorities are different. Some of your friends will change and move on and unless you find friendships to take their place then it can be another factor in resulting loneliness.

Once motherhood arrives spending time with friends becomes a lot more intentional. It is no longer a case of just getting together because now you have to actually organise both yourself and your child/ren before you go anywhere. Not to mention that it can be super tempting to turn down play dates purely because it is just too much to try and get out the door.

So how does it get better? Because if you’re in that super lonely state then I know you’re desperate for it to be better. Loneliness can be crushing and make parenting so much harder. But, it can get better. I promise.


Time

This one isn’t particularly comforting because it isn’t an immediate fix but time really does help. It especially helps with the first point of the overwhelming responsibility. As time goes by you get to know your baby better and your confidence grows as a parent. The worry is always there…it always will be, but it stops being so suffocating. You learn what works and what doesn’t and you realise that you’re not totally clueless when it comes to raising your child. That in itself helps with the loneliness because the burden isn’t quite so big.

You also tend to share the workload more. When my first child was born I felt like it was my responsibility to do everything when in actual fact I was robbing others of a blessing.

Do yourself and your child a favour by allowing others to invest in their lives.

Acknowledge Your Loneliness

I mentioned something similar in this post about overcoming postpartum struggles. We cannot work on fixing problems if we don’t acknowledge them.

There seems to be this passive judgement towards stay-at-home mothers who dare to complain about their circumstances. Many people would give their right arm to be at home with their children and I’ve seen many a mother belittle a stay-at-home mama because she doesn’t have to juggle working outside the home and all that goes with that. Can we just make something clear for a minute? Whether you work outside the home, from home, part time, full time, or you’re a fulltime homemaker, we ALL have unique challenges that come with our role. No one is more of a hero than the other and EVERYONE has the right to find things difficult at times. So please, stop playing the game of ‘I’m more of a martyr than you‘ because it doesn’t help anyone.

Please, if you are lonely, acknowledge it. Tell someone and then identify some ways to help improve your situation. You will be a better mother (and person!) for it.

Find Your Tribe

I’m not one for cheesy catch phrases but this is one that I actually kind of love. It goes really well with the whole concept that it takes a village to raise a child.

It really does.

Motherhood is one of the most challenging things you will ever embark on in life. It is full of uncertainty, demands, and unfathomable joy. It is absolutely vital that you are surrounded by people that will empower you on your journey. Finding those that gel with you and your family can be a challenge but it is well worth the undertaking. You don’t have to have a multitude of friends but even one solid friendship is worth its weight in gold.

If you’re in a situation where you’re not sure how to find mama friends, then why not start by joining our private Facebook mama group? There’s no judgement or bullying. Instead, you’ll find mothers just like you trying to navigate motherhood with their best effort.

 

Did you struggle with postpartum loneliness? Are you there right now? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time!

Postpartum Loneliness | Why It Exists + How To Fix It | Learn how to overcome loneliness in motherhood and find your tribe of mamas!

Postpartum Loneliness | Why It Exists + How To Fix It | Learn how to overcome loneliness in motherhood and find your tribe of mamas!

Postpartum Loneliness | Why It Exists + How To Fix It | Learn how to overcome loneliness in motherhood and find your tribe of mamas!

Hi! I'm Christine...a stay-at-home mum to two tiny humans. My constant focus is having my home run as smoothly as possible. Keeping two kids alive, and maintaining my sanity is also a priority. Most Saturday nights, you can find me hunkered down watching Grey's Anatomy, and hopefully nibbling on some chocolate. :)

  • Lisa Laker

    Love this. I have juggled full time work and 2 babies as well as staying home and neither are easy. Some people his like to complain.

    • Christine Keys

      Totally! It is hard no matter what.

  • With my husbands work schedule. I was alone. A lot. I was sick, taking care of a newborn and exhausted. I didn’t have help from family and friends like they promised to do. I didn’t have ways to get time away. I ended up with postpartum depression and anxiety. Ended up on zoloft for a year. It got better once husbands schedule go better and once I had time to use the car more. Plus once I was healthy enough to leave the house. (C-diff is no joke)

    • Christine Keys

      It sounds like you had an incredibly challenging time! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and I’m glad to hear it improved.

  • I don’t have kids so I can’t even imagine the extra pressures and anxieties and loneliness that can come after childbirth- but I’m sure there are so many wonderful and rewarding feelings that come with having kids to balance things out.

    • Christine Keys

      Absolutely! Keeping it balanced is key. The loneliness can be crushing if not dealt with properly.

  • I don’t have children but I’m sure this post will touch someone who needs to hear it.

    • Christine Keys

      Thank you. πŸ™‚

  • This was a great post. I do not have children yet but I am sure this is touching many people. Thank you for sharing.

    • Christine Keys

      You’re very welcome, and thank you! πŸ™‚

  • You have hit on some very valid points and I am so glad you are sharing this! More women need to not feel alone in this! Thank you! ~ http://viabella-thebeautifullife.blogspot.com/

    • Christine Keys

      Thank you! πŸ™‚

  • Rachel Loza

    It really does exist and it’s THE absolute hardest thing to deal with as a new mom. I’m lucky to have an amazing group of women to support me.

    • Christine Keys

      Me too! I can’t imagine not having that support system in place.