on loneliness in motherhood

Motherhood can be lonely. Especially the first time.

When you don’t know anything much, and you’re overwhelmed by this small, soft, wriggling being for whom you have suddenly become responsible.

When it’s your first child, and you have no toddler or pre-schooler to keep you busy, but keep you company and keep you laughing, while you tend to your new baby.

When you have no friends nearby who have babies.
When the initial rush of visitors has ebbed away, and the house is quiet, so very quiet.
When everyone is at work. When it’s Winter and it’s raining outside.

When your baby doesn’t nap like the book said babies should.
When you try to transfer her to the basket asleep but she wakes up every time. Every single time.
When you try putting her down awake as the parenting experts advise, but she cries.
So you carry her around the house, wandering from empty room to empty room, wondering what to do next.

When there is nowhere to go but the supermarket again. Or the cafĂ© for a solo coffee and a silent prayer that baby doesn’t wake and cry. Because then you’d have to leave, you don’t want to irritate other customers.

When you physically ache for Friday to come around, so that you have co-parent company for the oh-so-short weekend.

When you think about going to a mother and baby group, but they’re all on very early in the morning. Being organised so early seems an insurmountable task, the Everest of daily challenges.

When you roam around the local shops yet again, pushing the pram, afraid to let go – the pram that has become a security blanket as well as a vessel for it’s precious inhabitant.
When you gently rock the pram incessantly while standing still in the bookshop, in case she wakes. You don’t want to leave the bookshop, but you will if she cries.

When you attempt to play with your baby on her mat, trying to interact with her just as the book suggested, but you’re not sure what you’re doing. It doesn’t feel like it’s working but you don’t know. You’ve never had a baby before.

When your baby cries a lot. All evening. And you don’t know why.
You feed and rock and feed and rock, watching the clock.

When co-parent arrives home, for that’s what he is now, and you hand over the baby, guilty but relieved.

When six months roll past and it’s time to go back to work, guilty but relieved.

When you vow it will be different next time, and it is, you feel absolved.


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17 thoughts on “on loneliness in motherhood”

    1. thanks Maud – it’s on my mind a lot this week as my little girl turns six. I wish I had known that it might be lonely, I think I would have done more to fix that

  1. Very true words. I think that’s why I started my blog. I’m lonely. I love my child so very much but no one ever told me how alone I’d feel some days when the only conversation I have out loud consists of ‘did you make a poo?’

  2. And that is the truth, right there. Lovely post. This would have made me feel a lot better the first time round. Really identify with the solo coffee and being afraid he would wake up.

    1. Thank you Gwendy, I was worried that it would sound very negative, and that someone expecting a first baby would feel anxious reading it, but I wish I had known what to expect, I wish I had known that it could be lonely, and that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. I wish I’d known to get out there and meet people. My two subsequent experiences were totally different – I think that’s how it goes…

  3. Just found your blog and I love it! I am expecting for the first time but a friend of mine said she felt this way too and it’s nice to know this beforehand so I can be prepared. I think this is something very few people talk openly about so I think the post is great, thanks for sharing.

  4. Aw thanks Denise, and congratulations! I think there are loads and loads of people who have a fantastic experience after the birth of a first baby, but no harm being prepared. Even checking out what kind of mother and baby groups go on in your area would be good – then when the time comes, you can decide if you’d like to go or not. Best of luck!

  5. Beautiful post and so true…wish people were more honest with first time mums…knowledge is key to realising that it’s ok to feel like this and to maybe do something positive about it. Well done xx

    1. thanks for that – you’re so right, knowing it’s ok to feel this way and that it doesn’t mean you love your baby any less is critical. Instead mothers spend time agonising over not loving motherhood every second of the day…

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