By: Lauren Fuhrer
“You’ll feel lonely:”
That's the one thing I wish someone had told me before I became a new mum.
Instead, everyone told me “It goes by so fast,” or "You should get your baby on a sleep schedule," or they wanted to know "Are you going to breastfeed or use formula?" Nobody mentioned the lonely hours of having nobody to talk to other than my newborn. Although I felt unbelievably connected to my new son, I also began to feel more and more disconnected from everybody else (family, friends, neighbours, etc.…) and I felt lonely. Really lonely.
Whether you are already a new mum or are about to become one, understand that feeling lonely is not unusual.
Having a little one changes your lifestyle. How much it changes your lifestyle is up to you. Meeting a friend for coffee after work or swinging by your 7:30 pm yoga class isn't as straightforward as it once was. Now you have to factor in the baby's needs of course. It's easy to decide that the extra effort required to go for coffee or yoga just isn't worth it anymore. Before you know it, those things have made their way to the bottom of the totem pole.
And even when you do make it out of the house with your little one, you can’t help but worry…
‘Am I going to be able to get through the meal without my baby crying?’
‘That damn stroller. Once I get it out of the car will I get it back in?’
‘I hope my baby doesn’t have to eat while we are there. I feel so uncomfortable feeding in public!’
It can all seem overwhelming and not worth the hassle.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
You can make your own rules. My son is older now, but I wish that when he was a baby I had realized that becoming a parent doesn’t have to mean throwing on "mum jeans" and going to the park or a “kid friendly museum”. I could take my son with me to do the things that I wanted to do. I didn't have to isolate myself. I didn't have to stop going to the places I love simply because I became a parent.
I'll now see a new mum out with her baby and make a point of encouraging her. When she looks at me with that apologetic look or actually says "Sorry," I make sure to respond with, "No apology necessary. I think it's great you are out and about with your baby." Motherhood can be lonely but with a little encouragement and sense of community it doesn't have to be.
I hear some of my friends say it’s too hard to take the kids out- especially new mums with their first kid. It’s so challenging. You have to bring all the baby stuff and most of the time, no one wants to eat or go where I can take him or her. How awful to feel that way?!? How lonely?!?
It sounds crazy, but after traveling to other countries I realized how intolerant the USA can be of children. It went from the 1950’s, “Kids should be seen and not heard” to “Let’s just not see them either.”
What if you could do adult things with your kids? I know... Crazy, right? Like going to a nice restaurant. Or seeing a play. Or just doing something that you would want to do even if you didn’t have a kid? I’m not talking about an all-night binger, but if you want to have a drink in the afternoon while you are out and about, shouldn’t that be okay?
I love online lists about Top 10 Things to Do with Kids because they mention the parks, museums and good schools within each city. These are all places kids “should” be.
Here's my question: why isn’t everywhere in America kid-friendly? Why is our culture more dog-friendly than kid-friendly? I love dogs don't get me wrong, but it feels like my dog is more welcome than my kid in a lot of establishments.
mimijumi mums, tell us where you take your kids. Do you feel judged when you do? How do you overcome the judgement? Empower new mums to take the plunge to be part of the world outside their home instead of letting "loneliness" win.