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The incredible yet lonely journey of my Motherhood

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

At 38 weeks, I could not wait for the baby to come out. I was tired of the aches (in almost every muscle of my body), the frequent runs to the toilet (even in the wee hours), the uncomfortable weight on my belly, difficulty eating, breathing, and sleeping.

Carrying my newborn

So after going through a painful and exhausting 17-hour delivery, I was holding this tiny little thing in my arms. She was beautiful, my heart was full. And so my motherhood journey began.


I was now a mother. I was ready, or so I thought I was







After a month of confinement, staying home with my baby, sorrow began to creep into my life. I felt like I was looking from the outside, seeing myself perform mundane chores after mundane chores, my life seemingly stuck in a loop.


The days are incredibly busy - you’re rushing around, doing one thing after another: Hanging the laundry, changing diapers, pumping milk, baby cries, eating lunch, cleaning up spit-up milk, breastfeeding, cleaning the house. When you finally have that small window of sitting on the couch, this feeling of emptiness hits. Don’t get me wrong. I love my daughter (I think all mothers do). There are moments when I would look at her, and be amazed at how I made this incredible human, relishing the joy from the little moments of her growth. At the same time, I felt empty, feeling like an important part of me is missing. Overtime, I realized this sense of loneliness creeps in when I am feeling especially vulnerable and overwhelmed.


When I feel that I am unable to calm my baby when they are crying or screaming


When I rock her for hours on end before she falls asleep.


When I finally try to put her down for her nap to sneak off for a shower and she immediately wakes up


When I scroll through social media during a middle-of-the-night (MOTN) feed and see everyone else living the life I so desperately miss while I’m latched on by a milk monster 24/7 and having spit-up in my hair.


When I wish I can switch roles with my husband and leave the house just for a day.


At the end of it, I realise what is happening is that I am experiencing a major life change, and as much as I have tried to prepare for it, I could never and am never truly ready for.


Is being a mother one of the most rewarding experiences a woman can have? YES!


But is it all-consuming? It can be.


4 years and two kids later. I know this feeling very well. There is a difference between loneliness and actually being alone.

 

Loneliness is the negative feeling towards the quantity of quality of our social relationships. While we are never physically alone - with our newborns needing constant cuddling or our toddlers following us to the bathroom for the fifth time today - we feel lonely because we are not getting satisfaction from our relationships. And it's not hard to understand why.

Feeling alone

1. Limited time


You heard the saying “Sleep when the baby sleeps”. But let’s be honest. How many of us do this? For sure, I didn't. If and when the baby can sleep in their cot, I have to take a shower, put the laundry in the washing machine, and cook myself some lunch. Most of the time, the baby would have woken up before I completed what I needed to do. Your regular routine is now fully controlled by this little human being.


Even if we do, you are just too tired to do what you love, but all you can think about is everything that you don't have time for.


When you put your values and hobbies aside, when you feel like you’re not doing what makes you happy, you start to feel less like yourself.


2. Relationships Changes


Since becoming a parent, your social life is probably not on top of your list - with a newborn largely dependent on you for EVERYTHING.


Your partner who supposedly is on the same journey as you, has a different experience. Your partner continues to go out for work, having some form of social life at work. He comes home sharing about all that he has done today while you probably sat on that couch half of the day because the baby can only nap on you. He wonders why you have not taken or shower or why you ordered in for dinner. These little different experiences can cause you to resent him, further isolating you.


The changes in your support system may also look different if your group of friends are not in the same stage of life as you. That can make it harder to relate to each other. For example, you may be the first amongst your friends to have a kid - that may be exciting for everyone… at first. Until you start to notice that they reach out to you less and less. For everyone else, nothing has changed. But for you, everything has changed.


3. Having little to no social contact


Mothers often find themselves alone with their newborns for long periods of time. Friends and family are not coming around as often (In their defense, they wanted to give you the time and space to rest). You are on maternity and your partner went back to work after paternity leave. You are unable to leave home due to all combinations of the diaper/nap/feed schedule. Many new moms find themselves missing the company of adults and longing for adult conversation. Yet, some adult conversations can lead to unsolicited advice which we all know can be unhelpful when a mother is already feeling overwhelmed.


The only social contact you might be getting are the little babbles and maybe some reciprocal smile when your baby is at the 4-month mark. Other than that, maybe the 2 min chat you have with the cashier at the supermarket. We need quality social interaction but we are not getting any.


4. Feeling overwhelmed


The flood of information from different people and sources can be overwhelming. You don't know what to do.


Your experience of motherhood may also be different from what you expected.

  • You find yourself not loving every second

  • You’re not immediately in love with your baby

  • You’re feeling more negative emotions than positive ones

And so, you start to see yourself as the reason for the disconnect. On top of that, the perceived pressure of “having to get your act together” can cause you to distant yourself and feel completely alone in your struggles. Mothers often dont tell anyone that they are struggling because they 1) think that people who are not mothers will not understand 2) people who are mothers have a different experience from them 3) I am the “bad mom” or the “mom who cant seem to cope”


As a result, so many of us bottle it up, alone.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. There is help, mama.


There is a whole community out there.

Support for mothers

You are not experiencing this alone. Out there, while you are browsing through social media and resenting yourself for not taking that YOLO trip before your pregnancy, there is another mother with a spit-milk in her hair rocking her crying baby, there is another mother crying in the shower hoping her baby would not need her for just 15 minutes.


You’re not failing


You are enough


You are a good mom.








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