It’s sometimes scary to admit (especially to our partner) that we might be lonely in our journey of motherhood. Maybe it’s partly because they don’t understand the difference between being alone and being lonely. We are mothers so we are really NEVER alone. Being on call 24/7 for our little ones is just something that we fell in to. It’s hard for someone who isn’t a mother to understand how we can feel lonely when we are constantly surrounded by people. But these are very separate experiences. It might be hard for a partner to understand how these feelings can be a part of motherhood when the home seems happy. And while the home may very well be happy and content, but that doesn’t mean hard feelings aren’t present. You can be lonely even when you’re never alone.
It can be lonely entering motherhood while all your friends are still in the season of being single or childless. It can be lonely watching previously close relationships change. It can be lonely having a spouse gone for long periods and being forced to stay home more often than you’d like. It can be lonely spending your hours, days and weeks with only children, toddlers and infants and having very little adult interaction and conversation. It’s a lonely road when you’re child is different from others and you’re finding it difficult to reach out for support or find mothers who won’t judge you for how you child behaves. It’s can be lonely when you are trapped at home because pregnancy sickness or postpartum depression has you immobilized to leave your house. It can be lonely being confined to survival mode.
The loneliness of motherhood is something that only another mother can really understand, because at some point we all experience it. What is it that YOU need to help YOU? What you need may look different than what I need. Please reach out and share that you are lonely. Reaching out and being vulnerable can help other mothers who feel the same way, and they may become more comfortable knowing they are not alone. These mutual feelings can help unite us as women and help to form your mom tribe. Having a mom tribe matters (and it’s different than any other tribe you’ve ever had).
Maybe motherhood feels lonely because we don’t know who we are any more. That person we were before babies feels like she’s left us, and that’s a lonely feeling. Who you were before becoming a mother STILL MATTERS. You may be in a season where all you feel like you’re doing is breast or bottle feeding, changing diapers, potty training, and disciplining, but don’t let that steal the moments where you can still be YOU. When you are in the difficult trenches of early motherhood it can feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The memory of who we are and what we loved to do seems to be so distant, but it doesn’t have to be.
Take time to be you and to do what you need to fill your cup. It might be hard. It might be scary. You might need the support of a friend or a postpartum doula to try and get to that place where you can be you again. Ask yourself: What did I love to do before having children? Do I still love that? Would it fill me up? Do you need a mother’s group? Do you need an online community? Do you need a few hours away from your kids for a ‘ladies night out’? Once you start to head down the path of rediscovering yourself and creating a mom tribe, motherhood may not feel so lonely anymore.