When I found out I was expecting my first child I was of course delighted and couldn't wait to meet my baby but with all the lovely thoughts that began running through my mind there were also those niggling thoughts that wouldn't go away, ones of dread at the thought of losing my friends. Can you believe that I was terrified of telling my friends that I was pregnant? In fact, instead of telling them face to face I told them via text and Facebook messenger, I feel quite silly now when I think about the fear that overtook me, it was like something from my primary school days, but I honestly thought they wouldn't want to be my friends anymore. Of course this wasn't the case at all, however, I am sorry to say that I wasn't prepared for the loneliness that would come with becoming a new, young mother.
I am the first lucky person out of my close group of friends to have a baby and although I still hear from them from time to time everyone is busy getting on with their own lives and don't have a lot of time to meet up during the day, the time when I am always free. This is also the case with my family, I have realised that people cannot be around all the time and I just have to get on with things. When I thought about spending each day with my baby I wasn't aware of just how lonely my days would be. Although I have a beautiful, smiling baby to look after he can not yet speak and the lack of adult conversation and interaction sadly does really get me down. My fiance works a lot and also studies for his law degree two evenings a week so as you can see I am on my own a lot. When I look back now I wonder how I didn't even think about this and realise just how isolating my life may become, I was simply too caught up in the joy of pregnancy and wondering so many things about my impending baby boy to spend anymore time thinking about any negative implications which may apply.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not completely cut off, left outcast from society and all social interaction. I was fortunate enough to join the Eumom forums very early in my pregnancy and we formed a group on Facebook for all of us expecting in February 2013 and thankfully I have become quite close to some of the lovely ladies on there, but still, I miss speaking to people face to face. I wish I was brave enough to join a mother and baby group but I have been put off by some horror stories I have heard about new people joining and being ignored by other mothers and I would be humiliated if this happened. I am currently looking into bringing my son to a gymboree, it would be great for him to interact with other babies and perhaps it would help me to escape out of this new mummy isolation which I have fallen so deeply into. It's amazing that as a child people find it so easy to make friends but as we get older this skill seems to decline a lot making it harder and harder to approach people even though you share a common interest, I know it's not just me who feels like this!
The sad and unfortunate thing is that I know there are other new young and not so young mothers out there who feel exactly like I do. They probably too wish that they could get over the crippling awkwardness and just reach out to fellow mothers, just to have someone to meet up with at least once a month and have a drink, lunch and a chat would be heavenly! Recently when I took my son to his public health nurse appointment I plucked up the courage and began speaking to another young mother and unsurprisingly her and I seemed to be in a very similar situation, I really wanted to ask her if she wanted to swap numbers and meet up someday with the babies but I chickened out, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It seems years of texting and chatting over the internet has left me unable to be brave enough to do simple social things in 'real life' which I wouldn't even bat an eyelid doing in virtual reality, how unfortunate for me. I have spoken to other first time mothers from my pregnancy group who also feel very lonely. I really wish they lived closer to me and I know they feel the same as it would be great to have the support, chat and friendship face to face rather than over the computer.
I would urge other mothers, no matter what your age, if you're in a similar situation as I am and find yourself feeling unbelievably lonely then try to do something to combat this. Since I began writing this I have searched Facebook for groups in my area where mothers can arrange meet-ups and coffee mornings, there seems to be a lot of things going on every week in these groups, I hope I'll build up the courage to go along to one of these meet-ups soon, I know it would not only be beneficial for my baby boy to interact with other babies but would also be great for me to get out of my shell and have the chance to possibly make a new friend. I cannot recommend enough to expecting mothers about the benefits of joining the Eumom forums, not only did I receive a fountain of baby knowledge from the ladies in my pregnancy group I also gained some friends for life and although we can't see each other that often our friendship is still a very special thing to me as it was formed via one of the happiest experience in our lives.
Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change my mothering experience for the world, I just wish I knew other mothers in my community and didn't feel this terrible loneliness most of the time. It has come to the point now where I am both touched and flattered when someone texts or messages me to see how I am or wants to arrange to meet up. Hopefully when the time comes for my second pregnancy I will have convinced myself to go to one of these mummy meet-ups, I may even enjoy it! I know my parenting adventure would be made all the more enjoyable with a friend for both my son and I who know what we're going through and to exchange tips, general chit-chat and a laugh with! My baby son is my entire world but every mother needs a good friend outside of home too, simple everyday moments are made better when you have other people to enjoy them with.
Have you ever felt like this since having your children?