When I first became a mom, my world was undoubtedly turned upside down for obvious reasons. The sleepless nights, the dependence and neediness of a newborn, and the absolute mental exhaustion was enough to make me wave the white flag. It was far more intense than I ever dreamed it was going to be, but this was my new life and I did the only thing I knew how to do, power through the postpartum fog.
When the newborn haze finally subsided, I was hit by something completely unexpected. I was really (REALLY) lonely. I was one of my first friends to become a mom, which translated into feeling like I was doing this motherhood thing all alone. The isolation of my new situation took me completely by surprise and I really didn’t know how to deal with my new found boredom.
Something had to change, and change fast before I spiraled into a deep depression (something I’ve dealt with all my adult life). In front of my husband’s very eyes, I was slipping into a deep funk and craving interaction from other new moms. And I know it sounds stupid, but for a new mom who just happens to also be an introvert, meeting other moms felt like a social mountain I didn’t know how to climb.
With the help and encouragement of my husband, I made a few very tiny baby steps in effort to find a few like-minded “mom friends”:
I joined a gym that had childcare. I loved the idea that I could come and go when I pleased, and I could run on the treadmill with headphones on if I didn’t want to be social, or I could attend a group class if I was feeling brave and outgoing. It got me out of the house, helped me feel physically better about new postpartum body, and in the end, did help me meet a few other new moms.
I started going to “mommy and me” classes at the public library. I loved attending these (FREE!) classes because they were very non-committal. (Yes, I obviously have commitment issues, I’m aware.) Because the class had an age bracket, it was easy to strike up conversations with the other moms because we always had something in common, our children.
I took my daughter to our neighborhood park more often. Ok, this one sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’re lonely, it’s sometimes hard to get out of the house. By making the effort to walk to the park, I ended up making some really great girlfriends who live in my community.
I started connecting with other moms online. When I became a new mom, I also started a personal blog. The blog’s purpose was to keep my family up to date with my daughter. What I didn’t expect was that through blogging, twitter, and even Facebook groups, I would “meet” other women in similar life circumstances. Because of the online community, I can stay at home all day, but still get the adult social interaction I often crave.
These days, I’m past the loneliness hump. I have four children (one who’s is still a baby) who keep me incredibly busy. But even though my “new mom” days are far behind me, I’ll never forget how hard those first few months of parenting really were.
image credit: Casey Mullins