When you are a first-time mother with a young baby, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by your new responsibilities. You try hard to be the best mother to your baby but that can sometimes result in depression and feelings of loneliness. It is not easy to trust someone else to take care of your baby and so you end up stuck in the house. You yearn for the social life you had before but you know with the young child in tow, that is not possible anymore. Just the thought of taking time off for yourself makes you feel selfish and guilty. You love your baby to bits but you can't help feeling isolated and forgotten.
So, how do you combat this loneliness?
1. Joining a mothers group or playgroup is a good place to start. You'll meet other parents with young children and you can swap stories and experiences. You may feel like an outsider in the beginning but don't let that stop you from going. It's easy to make acquaintances but it will take time and effort to make real friends that you can trust and confide in. So be patient and don't be afraid to get involved. You never know where such casual acquaintances might lead to. There are other mothers who are starving for friendship and a sense of belonging, just like you.
2. You may feel it a hassle to run around with a baby. You don't like the idea of packing half the house when you walk out the door. Do it anyway. It definitely feels better than moping around the house. Do it often and it won't seem so bad after many outings. Keep handy a checklist of things to pack so you don't forget anything essential. Some people like to use strollers. However, you may find a good baby sling has many advantages too. Don't let having a baby stop you from going out and enjoying yourself once in a while. Go out and treat yourself to your favorite dessert or chill out at a cafe with a cup of yummy coffee. Even a walk in the park is refreshing from the mundane four walls of the house. If you are into fitness, join a gym that provides a creche facility. You can work out knowing your child is being well cared for nearby.
3. Look out for local events, activities or classes especially for children and parents. For example, many public libraries conduct story time for children. Why not join a swimming class or a music and movement class for babies? These are also great places to connect with other parents.
4. They say education is a life long process. Why not consider adding to your parenting skills. There are so many classes you can join. You can learn baby sign language or baby massage. There's even a mother and baby yoga class. This could also be a time to pick up a new hobby such as scrapbooking, sewing, jewelry making or baking. Improving on a skill or learning a new one only makes you feel better about yourself.
5. Don't forget the blessing of technology. Mothers can stay in touch with the outside world through the internet. There are online support groups and forums that allow you to connect with others that are like-minded. Don't be the surprise if some of the people you meet online happen to live close by.
It is no secret that your life changes when you have a baby. It's a time to build a new social network. Being a good mother doesn't mean dedicating your life to caring for your children to the point of isolating yourself from the world and everybody. There are still places to go, people to meet and things to do. By deciding to get out and get involved, you can combat the loneliness.