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.
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?