Motherhood can be a Lonely Place

me and jocelynThis past weekend I really reflected on why I started this blog and what I wanted out of it. Often I can get discouraged when my ‘big ideas’ don’t turn into success overnight. And then I realized, in just a few weeks time, I’ve reached more mothers with my mission than I could have ever imagined. If I have made just one mom feel like she is not alone out there, than that is a success in itself. Which brings me to why I’m writing today’s post… Motherhood can be a lonely place.

As I’m writing this, I can tell you that my eyes are glossing up at this very moment. I am writing from my heart and pouring out so much honest reflection in an effort to help just one mother, and I hope that this inspires you to do the same. Those first few weeks after you’ve given birth can be overwhelming with visitors, flowers and gifts. And then, slowly the weeks go on and the phone calls stop, perhaps your partner goes back to work, and there you are… you and your baby… or babies… or small village of kids.

There are so many challenges that we face as mothers, and most of the time we face them alone. If you are lucky enough to have a partner to help you with the demands of parenthood it certainly helps, but realistically there are some things that only mothers can relate to. My husband woke up for every feeding to support me, but while I was breastfeeding (or trying to), all he could do is show his love by being there… he couldn’t relate or tell me he understood the tears that rolled down my cheeks. So many mothers keep their lips sealed about feeling lonely even when they are in a room full of people. If no one can relate to what you are going through, than it doesn’t matter how many people you interact with… you still feel lonely. And even though most moms struggle at some time or another, it seems to be the norm to just be mute about it all.

We often hear about postpartum depression or the ‘baby blues’, but what about after that first year? Sometimes moms can struggle even more as children get older and lives get more hectic.  A reader shared with me her experience of being exhausted and accidentally falling asleep while caring for her young sick children. She described feeling a tremendous amount of guilt, probably because she thought she was the only mom who had ever done this.. I can guarantee you that  these things happen to mother’s every day, we just don’t talk about it. As a society, it has become our instinctive reaction to judge one another. If we could just share our moments of weakness, it would make it feel like no matter where we turned, we were not alone.

Every now and again I hear a mother jokingly say, ‘Been there, done that.’ Hallelujah. I’m not the only one who’s child has put a foreign object in his ear. I’m not alone in my battle to get my kids to pick up their toys. I’m not the first mother who’s fallen asleep caring for sick kids. I don’t have the only kid with a silver tooth. I’m not the first mom to have a kid with a broken bone.  I’m not the only one who forgets lunch boxes and backpacks. I’m not the only one who is exhausted most of the time. I’m not the only mom who feels like she probably won’t win ‘mother of the year’. (I wonder who actually wins that prize? I bet she doesn’t read my blog)

So if you go to your weekly mommy groups and meet up for playdates, and still feel alone… know that you’re not. As mother’s we’ve become dishonest somewhere along the line, not about everything, but mostly about motherhood. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to make mistakes. What I think is not okay, is that we’ve forgotten that as mothers we all have something in common. We all struggle now and again, and it’s important that we offer one another support. We need to embrace each other and be honest so that we can start to feel like no matter where we go, we are not alone. Motherhood can be a lonely place… but we can change that. Tell another mom that you’ve been there… that you’ve cried too… that being a mom is hard work. But most importantly… tell another mom that she’s not alone.


Motherhood can be a Lonely Place — 11 Comments

  1. Very nice, I think that we should remember this as moms and people as a whole. No matter how alone we feel in something, the chances that we really are, are low.

  2. I so agree. That’s why I totally switched my blog. I wanted to be more honest. What I’m finding is that I think I’m making some people feel a little uncomfortable. Mostly I’m talking about people that know me in real life and I guess didn’t want to know I had any problems! A blog post I might write about here soon….anyway, I did a lot of reflecting about my own blog this weekend too. It’s hard to not have it be amazing overnight, but I want you to know I’ve found your voice in this blogging world very refreshing. Keep it up! You are helping moms.

  3. Janet, I absolutely love your blog and your mission. When I became a new mother and had a husband who traveled 3-4 weeks out of every month, I thought I would die from how tiring and lonely it was to be a new parent. It was only in talking and sharing with other moms that I learned I wasn’t alone. It’s so important to lift each other up and let each other know that we can lean on one another.

    Thank you!

    • Thanks so much! It’s amazing how alone we can feel when we don’t support one another. It’s great to hear you had a few moms you could share with.

  4. Wow this story just described the first 12 months of being a parent for me. Looking back at it now I can see that I wasn’t the only person going through what I was experiencing, but being a mum is right up there with menstrual cycles and bodily functions as something you just don’t discuss in public. It’s actually part of the reason I started my blog too, just to reach out to other mums (and dads) and say “you know what? sometimes I get it wrong, and that’s ok.”

    Thank you for writing this, it feels good to know that there are others out there trying to break down these walls too.

  5. I love this and I am a huge proponent in this as well. We need to lift each other up and not tear each other down. Thank you for writing this. I have a blog too, let me know how I can help in your mission. It’s a worthy and noble one.

  6. I felt so, so lonely after the birth of my first baby. To make it worse, a month later we moved house. I never felt at home at the new house. I remember a week or so after moving into the new house, my husband was away on a business trip. I took care of the baby all alone and when the baby slept for a while around 7 pm, I felt so lonely and sad. I had no one to talk to at all. Washing his bottles at 2, 3, 4, 5 am made me so very sad because I could see outside my window that all houses around mine had no lights on whatsover, meaning that they were probably sleeping tightly. One night, I was so desperate to eat a decent meal so I ordered a take-away. The delivery guy never found my house. I tried desperately to explain the location but after 2 hours of driving, he finally gave up. That night I ate nothing. I never cooked for the first two months (no time to even buy groceries, let alone cook), therefore relied completely on take aways and junk food. I ate chocolate, nuts and bananas because these things you don’t need two hands to eat (one hand is forever holding the baby)! Finally, I told my husband that we had to move house, to somewhere in the city. When we did, things got slightly better and I started to cook again, therefore started to keep things under control, in a way. I discovered that motherhood is so lonely because with a newborn there is no eye contact, no laugh, nothing. Things started to change when the baby was four months old; he started to sleep longer (3 hours straight which was a miracle) and started laughing.

    • I totally relate to the feeling lonely. Even though I had help from family, I always felt that no one could really relate to what I was going through. The constant screaming really go to be, but at least there was a light at the end of the tunnel. THanks for sharing your experience!