Isolation of a New Mom, Part II

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Isolation of a New Mom, Part II

So I recently wrote a post lamenting my feeling of isolation as a new mom. As I reflect on that post, I wonder what advice I would give myself if I could go back in time to try to prevent this sort of quandary.

I have really not come up with any answers.

 

 

Blame

I really want to blame the people I interact with. Blame them for not offering to help when I wasn’t sleeping for months on end. I really want to blame them for not dropping off little packages of food for us to eat so I wouldn’t have to worry about that for a day.  I wanted them to offer to come and just sit with me for an hour to make me feel like a human being.. I know there are people out there that do this for their friends, and not one ever did it for me.

So you may wonder if I was that kind of friend to anyone else? Well, most of these friends as I said, had older kids. Their days of child rearing are over.. so I would not have done that for them.

Certainly they have had other needs. Was I a good friend then? There were some situations I could have done better with. Yes. Certainly. But as I look back- I think of helping people move from one home to another. I think of parties we had at our home. I think of people we gave rides to when they needed them. Nothing big. No, but if help was ever in need, I would like to think that I would have responded and did.

Certainly MANY of these folks have had kids and know what it is like. Seeing me post day in and day out about my exhaustion and frustration certainly must have been some clue of my need.

I can blame all I want, but in the end, did I ask for help? No.  I suppose I was just too overwhelmed mentally and not in the mindset to even consider it. Looking back though, I wonder if anyone would have even responded? At this point, I am thinking no.

So I find myself here.

What could I have done better?

I suppose the best and easiest answer was to make more effort to find friends with similar situations sooner.. to interact more with the moms that I met at the Birth Center we had the baby at. It was my best option really.. but I think unless I had had more help to keep me from being exhausted at home, I never would have been able to support the time required to maintain those relationships.

The other answer was to pay someone to help me. I needed more help than my partner could give most days. He was working A LOT to keep us in the green. He would take care of the baby while I showered or even just went to the bathroom alone. But it was not the time off I needed to maintain any kind of friendship. That route would have required that I go back to work or risk not having money to stay home. Not really practical for the goals we had set.

So really, I have no answers on this.

Family doesn’t come around much. Most family is plane rides away. So most people don’t have that network of caring aunties and such to come help out.

Unless the child is in school, you don’t have that network.

Unless you are working, you don’t have that network.

The isolation of a new mom is such a western phenomena. We have kids, we stay in our homes and we just don’t have the community that other countries seem to have (or so I read.)

What are your thoughts on this? Did you experience the isolation of a new mom?

Isolation of A New Mom

Isolation of A New Mom

Staying home with my daughter for the last 2.5 years has been an interesting social experiment. But when I say social that does not really describe what has been happening in any way.

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I suppose it really isn’t shocking how it happened to me, or how isolation of a new mom happens to anyone, but for some reason, I just over estimated the social network I had built and grossly miscalculated how it actually worked.

What does that mean?

 

Well, I have/had a few different circles of friends. Each of them was formed based on a similar activity that we would engage in together. Although there were outside activities with some of these folks, at the heart there was still that particular activity at the center of it. Once I stopped participating in those activities due to pregnancy or the care of the newborn, I was no longer in any actual contact with any of those people outside of Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong- interacting on Facebook has saved me from going insane on those long nights breastfeeding my daughter, zombie like at 3 am etc. I was sleep deprived and really was not in any kind of mindset to go and do anything. I was barely able to keep myself fed and bathed on some frequency because I was so completely overwhelmed with the care of this child that needed to eat every 20 minutes to the most 3 hours for almost a year.

I am not whining. This is the path I chose, and I do not regret it. But, at 2.5 years later, I wonder what happened to my friends?

I went to a children’s museum last week and saw some awesome moms and their friends with their similarly aged kids playing together. They were having fun, the kids were having fun and I pined for this kind of interaction with anyone at all.

I realize that none of my activities related friends have kids under 10. The activities they partake in are generally not going to be suitable for a toddler.

I am not really great at making new friends. I have always been this way so most of my people that I call friends are probably more like – people I keep seeing at the same place so at some point they talk to me because otherwise it is awkward…

I did have one mama that I did these kinds of things with a few times, but she moved away, and it made me realize how I wish I could go back and have more of those fun times together. I was so completely tired and burnt out that it felt exhausting to just take a shower some days, so we stayed home. She also worked and it placed more limits on the time we could really hang out.

 

Work

Over the past year, I have been really working hard on my blogs, and also doing the freelance work. I still barely went anywhere. The way my work was, if I had any free time from caring for the toddler, I was building the blogs, editing my freelance work. I need to have money after all!

Suddenly, I have no freelance work to do. I still blog, but it does not need to take my entire day to complete the posts and reviews I have on my plate. My deadlines are my own for the most part. So NOW I am missing the ability to interact socially with anyone else besides the close family. But seemingly, all of a sudden, I have no friends.

Of course, we know this wasn’t sudden at all. I have spent 2.5 years not having (many) friends and not noticing it.

Where did I go wrong? Has anyone else experienced this isolation of a new mom, and what did you do about it?