This isn’t a pity post. I’m quite comfortable where I’m at right now, but it’s glaringly obvious something in my life has changed: my friends have all gone. As a Stay At Home Mum I don’t have work colleagues to natter with, and those I worked with at previous workplaces haven’t been in touch since the token like on Baby Button’s birth announcement.
The only thing that changed was me giving birth.
Apparently, this isn’t just me. The world over, women like me find themselves forgotten about and alone, in one of their most prone times of life. People move on, and they move on with their lives which don’t revolve around your little person which exasperates the feeling of being left behind. The truth is, having a baby is a wonderful experience for a few weeks but after that, it just blends in to a new life routine which might not always add up with those you once shared your life with.
It isn’t a bad thing. It forces you to adapt, it forces you to get out and meet new people at local baby groups and activities – it pushes you out of your comfort zone. The truth is, you are probably just as guilty of leaving people behind as you feel those around you are; sharing your new life companion when people aren’t ready for that themselves just yet.. Or perhaps it’s something they did a long time ago and they just aren’t interested in exploring it again. Priorities shift and change, for all parties – sometimes the distance isn’t intentional, but that doesn’t help when you feel completely deserted and alone.
Personally, I haven’t helped either. Sometimes with my foggy baby brain, I respond to a comment in my head but not physically – again, another barrier to communication most new Mums face. I don’t use my personal social media in the same committal way I used to – often just sharing a funny picture someone shared with me, and sometimes just sharing a photo or two of Baby Button. Things are a little different on my professional channels, but my personal pages are a little more none-committal these days. I just can’t invest too heavily anymore thanks to new priorities!
How Can We Move Forward?
Well, it’s time to face the truth. If it’s been twelve months since a friend said “hello, let’s go for coffee!” Then I wouldn’t class them as a friend anymore – that ship has obviously sailed. It’s time to move forward and enter situations where you meet people in the same situation as you. Mum and baby groups.
Meeting women in the same situation, or who have been in the same position before has been such a help to me. I worried about joining groups to be honest, for fear of judgement or sheer panic.. What would I do if Baby Button had a meltdown at a group?
Honestly, there was no need to be so worried.
If Baby Button did have a meltdown, he wouldn’t be the only one having one. When I joined baby yoga for the first time, I sat on a mat hating every second for another Mum to plonk down next to me and tell me she felt awkward too. Baby Button did actually cry throughout most of his first session and slept the rest, but he’s blossomed in sessions afterward once he gained his confidence around other children.
Classes don’t need to cost money. There are so many different classes available, but I’ve found the most beneficial ones for myself and Baby Button have been the ones which are free to attend. Community centres and Surestart hubs often have free classes, so go grab a timetable and build up the courage to go.
I found chatting with other Mums at the groups opened up new groups to me, as I found out which other ones they attend through the week. Just attending the one class opened up doors to all the others I attend, and I’m so grateful for that!
Another thing that really helped me, was the leader at my local yoga class. She set up a WhatsApp group for all the Mums attending, so we could share milestones and ask questions in the group. I actually made a pretty solid friend through that group and we meet up almost on a daily basis at various groups – her little girl and Baby Button are often referred to as a married which is amusing.
Can I Have A Social Life?
You can have a social life as a new Mum. It’s just your idea of a social life has to bend slightly – catching up during a mum and baby class, a trip around town after the class to get essentials.. It isn’t a glass of wine at 7pm on a Friday night but it works wonders for your mental health.
Being able to ask questions, offload and feel like you aren’t the only person awake at 4.15am watching Teletubbies is a really liberating feeling, and it really helps combat that ‘Mum Loneliness’ that creeps in after the first few weeks of motherhood.