You Are Not Alone
Since I have dipped my toe into the world of blogging for KeepEmQuiet I have discovered a community that goes above and beyond to support each other as parents. It has been an eye-opener discovering super mums talking about everything from how to dress their mum tums, to how to deal with feelings of anxiety and depression with little ones. No content is off limits and there is a camaraderie and humour that can lift my mood on those days when I've been pushed mentally and physically by the little people in my life. However, this community is all relatively new to me and when I had my first son 4 years ago I wasn't prepared for the feelings of loneliness that lay ahead with those early weeks with a newborn.
Loneliness is not something that people talk about with mums to be, or really that people talk about at all. To anyone that knows me they will know that I am surrounded by the most wonderful friends, I have a huge incredible family and extended family and tend to have a jam-packed calendar. Loneliness is not something that one would think comes into play. But that's the thing with feeling lonely, it is not always to do with those around you, but much more to do with your internal mind. I had felt loneliness before having my babies. When my mum passed away I could not have been more supported and loved, but the intense loneliness with my grief often clouded this support. Grief is so individual and so I expected to feel alone, and unable to let people into my true emotions. But I never thought loneliness would enter my house again when I filled it with a beautiful newborn, a time of happiness and love and wonder, and quite literally never was actually alone.
But spending most of your time with a little bundle of deliciousness, as delicious as he was, led me to feel incredibly lonely at times. A shadow of my former self, and unsure of my new self yet, I no longer knew my place. I had a loving supportive husband, so many special friends, loads with newborns of their own, and a wonderful NCT network of new mums in my neighbourhood but making plans with my newborn overwhelmed me. Working around the babies schedule, as well as my phobia of breastfeeding in public meant there were only small windows to get out, or only certain plans I felt comfortable and confident making. It took me so long to pluck up the courage to go and meet my NCT friends in a local pub. I felt so silly once I did for putting it off, as that was the exact support I needed. Women who were experiencing the exact same stage of a newborn as me, some also struggling with adjusting to their new life of motherhood. There were tears and truths and no judgment.
And that is what I completely love about the world of social media mummy bloggers. There is no judgment. We understand how hard parenting little people is. We understand that you can love them unconditionally yet also want to run a mile when your husband walks through the door after a long day. We understand that you can feel so alone despite having so much company. As I adjusted to my new life as Mummy and my priorities shifted, I missed the old me less and less. And the old life. Instead of FOMO (fear of missing out) I now had JOMO (joy of missing out). Something shifted in my world and home became my heart and place of peace and feelings of loneliness subsided. What felt like groundhog day originally became my everything that I lived for each day.
Nowadays new mums are incredibly lucky to have such amazing innovative communities to help ease the transition into parenting. If you have no friends of your own with babies, then it is just an app away that you can hook up with supportive mums. The Peanut App has revolutionised parenting, billed as 'Tinder for Mums', you can make plans with local mums at any time. From a lonely perspective I really think this would have helped me - on those days when I hadn't made a plan and I didn't know how to fill my day as well as entertain my little boy and I just wanted some conversation, something like this could have allowed me the confidence to get in touch, knowing that any mums also on the app must be feeling the same overwhelming feelings I was, which led them to be on there too. It's that common ground that brings us together. Bonding over explosive nappies, late night feeds, and pelvic floor strength. If you are new mum struggling with feelings of loneliness know that you are not alone and download Peanut for a start.
There is also the fabulous Mothers Meetings proving that Mum's can achieve amazing things with the support of others. These events empower women, give them the tools to face their new world with confidence and you cross paths with some sassy females who will support them in any new ventures. I've met some incredible ladies since launching KeepEmQuiet all happy to support small businesses and tired mummies.
Finally, one of my closest Insta friends which the world of blogging introduced me to is the amazing Jenny Raymond, who founded Mamazou, a parenting community that's sole purpose is to not judge, be kind, be open and allow all parents a platform to engage, support and share their stories. With the motto being perfectly imperfect parenting, this community understands that parenting is tough and allows you to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly.
All these platforms would have totally changed those early months for me allowing me forums and a community to learn the ropes of parenting with. In lonely times if you hear that someone else also felt the same it makes you feel lighter - it lifts the burden to know that you are not alone despite what your mind might be tricking you into thinking, and sometimes it is easier to talk through these feelings with strangers as a form of therapy. So new mums, old mums, mums to be or anyone who is reading this that might be struggling with loneliness, believe me when I say that you are not alone Reach out, even if anonymously on a platform, and I can assure you that the response will shock you. Because people may not like to talk about feeling lonely when they should only be feeling joy and love and happiness, but they are. Feeling lonely doesn't make you a bad person, it just makes you a person. It doesn't make you a bad mum, but just a mum who is learning to be one as she goes along. It is not talking about these feelings that can be dangerous. Social Media can have its downfalls but it will forever be a place I go to for support and recognition that we are all doing alright!