Let’s talk about new mum loneliness – you’ve given birth, have a happy and healthy baby and everyone expects you to be on cloud nine. Yet once your partner goes back to work, life with a newborn can feel a little, well, lonely. We reached out to our Mother & Baby mums to ask ‘how many of you felt lonely or isolated after giving birth’ and the result was shocking, with 74.8% of our mums answering yes.
In her honest and therapeutic book ‘Welcome to the Club: 100 Baby Milestones You Never Saw Coming’, author Raquel D’Apice wrote: ‘Parenting is lonely. I did not know this going in. There were days when being home alone with a baby felt like – you know what moment in a game of hide-and-seek when you realise that no one is looking for you? Like that but lonelier.’
Michelle Kennedy, founder of Peanut - an app that is described as 'Tinder for mums' told us: 'Peanut was born out of two main issues. The first was the emotional aspect of becoming a mother. Before Fin arrived, I felt prepared. I had bought everything I needed, I'd read a few books. Turns out, the arrival of a baby isn't just about planning. There are feelings and demands that you can't plan for. My girlfriends weren't at the stage in their life where they were yet having children, and even if some of my wider friendship group were, we all lived in different parts of the city (and leaving the house to go anywhere further than ten minutes from home with a new born felt like a military operation). I suppose what I felt most prominently, which isn't particularly comfortable for a 30 something woman to admit, is that I was lonely.
A little like dating, I also experienced a lot of "I have to introduce you to my friend, she's a new mommy too", only to go through an awkward date where you realize the only thing you have in common is the fact that you both have a child.
'I had lots of friends, I was successful professionally, and yet, when I was at home, I felt lonely. This was further compounded by the fact that I was working in an industry (dating), where it was my day to day to produce products people could use to find a match, or a date, and I was struggling to find a woman who was like minded to go for a coffee with. A little like dating, I also experienced a lot of "I have to introduce you to my friend, she's a new mommy too", only to go through an awkward date where you realize the only thing you have in common is the fact that you both have a child. You don't share the same outlook on life, values, interests. That's actually even more isolating to be honest.
'The second was my frustration with the existing products on the market aimed at Mothers. I didn't recognize the tone of voice the products used, or the look and feel of the products. They felt outdated, old fashioned, and in some cases patronizing. To me, I didn't feel like I'd suddenly aged, or become less modern, less cool, just because I'd become a mom, and yet, the products seemed to have that expectation. I found that confusing. I still had an expectation of great user experience, from products like Uber, or Instagram, but I wasn't getting that.'
Whether it's downloading an app, or finding a toddler class nearby, we take a look at new mum loneliness, and the best ways to help overcome it:
How to beat new mum loneliness
- Find your ‘mum squad’ – The group of mums that parent like you. Set up a group Whatsapp Group and share the high and lows together. With plenty of apps developed to help combat new mum loneliness, from Mush to Peanut, finding new friends can be as easy as pressing download. What’s more, take a look at Mummy social – a website set up by Devon mum-of-two Josie Barron who found it difficult to make new mummy friends. With Sarah Turner (aka The Unmumsy Mum) and TV presenter Helen Skelton on board, there are plenty of events all over the UK.
- Recognise that you’re feeling lonely – It’s normal to feel a little blue after giving birth, but loneliness shouldn’t be disregarded, or confused with hormones. If you are worried about your mood after giving birth, check out the warning signs of postnatal depression, and the best places to look for help.
- Have your family on speed dial – Whether it’s your mother-in-law or your sister, don’t be afraid of asking for support when you need it.
- Chat to your partner – Explain how you feel and let them know how they can help. Perhaps they could work different hours, or just take over baby duties one weekend so you can get your hair done, needing some time to yourself is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Sign up to some baby and toddler classes – Whether it’s baby yoga, or Tumble Tots, these are a great way to help your baby develop social skills, and chat with mums living in the area. Take a look at the best baby and toddler classes to try with your little one below.
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Read next: The best baby and toddler classes to try with your little one
babyballet is a fun, award-winning pre-school dance class for girls and boys from 6 months to 6 years.
With a real focus on learning through play, babyballet, which runs across the UK, allows babies, toddlers and young children to enjoy the physical and social benefits of ballet, song and dance in a safe, caring, positive and informal environment.
Little ones will build their confidence and social skills, while developing basic ballet technique, coordination, musicality, balance, posture and rhythm. babyballet’s fully qualified teachers are joined in class by the babyballet bears, Twinkle & Teddy, who help to encourage all the little stars to interact and share as they learn to dance without any pressure.
There is also a line of merchandise and parties available.
9) First aid classes with nct.org.uk
If you’ve already gone into new mum anxious mode, checking smoke alarms and practising infant choking positions, sign up for a first aid class run by the National Childbirth Trust and the British Red Cross.
The course covers health issues such as loss of consciousness, CPR, choking, bleeding, burns, high temperatures and meningitis.
While we’re not expecting your pre-schooler to be doing back flips and triple flip twists quite yet, a Tumbletots class will encourage him to climb, jump, and roll while learning how to control movements more precisely.
It uses soft play equipment for children to clamber over and under and it’s a great way to make friends.
Encourage your toddler to help prepare food and he’s more likely to have a healthy relatonship with food.
During each Kiddycook session the children have fun creating recipes, which encourages them to learn about good food and explore new flavours in a fun way.
Its Cookie Tots classes are perfect for 2-4 year olds and after creating a dish, children then join in with music, games and activities based around preparing and enjoying food.
If you can see your little one as the next Beckham or Rooney, sign up for a Little Kickers football class.
They run a Little Kicks class for children aged 18 months to three years, and then you graduate to the next level – Junior Kickers which goes from 2 years to 3½ years.
Classes will help your little one gain better body control and co-ordination skills.
As well as being a fun way to connect with your baby or toddler, Sing and Sign classes can help your little one communicate with you before she starts speaking.
She’ll learn words such as “milk”, “hot”, “thank you” and “more” but there’s also plenty of singing and games.
If you’ve experienced the *joy* of peeling dried Play-Doh off the kitchen floor, you’ll appreciate the Creation Station.
It offers arts and crafts classes for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers without the mess for you.