The Loneliness of Being a New Mom
complete guide on how you may deal with feeling loneliness and depression as a new mum
Like most new moms, hormonal changes and changes to your lifestyle often can leave you feeling alone in this very big world. When a new baby arrives, despite the obvious exhaustion due to sleepless nights, comes several social changes that can often leave a new mom depressed and lonely, even if they have support at home.
Time off work, lack of social outings, and friends who seem to disappear once a new baby comes into the picture are all aspects that affect our mental wellness after childbirth. It is often difficult to find the time to blow-dry our hair after a shower when a newborn is in the home, let alone find the time to plan a nanny, pump breast milk, squeeze into something fancy, and head out for a night with the girls.
This can lead to a severe feeling of loneliness, especially if you were more of a social butterfly before having a child. However, you are definitely not alone as hundreds, if not thousands, of women in Australia, are going through the exact same feelings you are having at this very moment.
Thankfully, with advancements in technology, there are now numerous ways for you to interact with other moms in safe, welcoming online communities dedicated to people just like you! A quick online search will reveal many different groups for moms in your area, allowing you to find one that is suitable for you.
The Australian government has also recognized the essential need for support during early child rearing and offers a multitude of support programs such as the two listed below.
- PANDA - Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia, is support for women, men, and families who are affected by anxiety and depression throughout pregnancy and the year following childbirth. www.panda.org.au/
- Relationships Australia - A non-for-profit Australian group that offers services around the country that include counselling, family dispute resolution (mediation) and a range of family and community support and education programs.
It is important to remember that you are not alone. Even when sitting in your housecoat, rocking your baby to sleep for the 15th time that day, with spit-up in your hair, bags under your eyes, and the feeling of loneliness surrounding you...there are other moms doing the exact same thing at that exact same moment who are feeling the same way.
Being a mom can be the most rewarding experience you can have, and also one of the hardest. Recognizing you need support is the first step, as we all need help now and then no matter how strong we may believe we are.
If you find yourself falling deeper into depression and loneliness, it may be more than just a change in social behaviour. Know the signs of postpartum depression to be sure you get the support you need, as you are not alone!
Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
- You feel saddened or cry a lot, although you may not know why.
- You’re completely exhausted, but you can’t fall asleep.
- You find yourself sleeping too much.
- You have unexplained aches, pains, or illnesses unrelated to childbirth.
- You are often angry or irritable for no apparent reason.
- Your moods change suddenly and without warning leaving you to feel out of control.
- You have difficulty remembering things, concentrating or making simple decisions.
- You have no interest in things you used to love.
- You feel disconnected from your new baby and cannot understand why you’re not filled with overwhelming joy.
- Simple tasks seem overwhelming and hopeless.
- You find yourself feeling guilty about your feelings.
- You feel like you can’t talk to anyone because they’ll think you’re a bad mom.
- You wish you could just escape from everyone and everything.
- You have intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby.
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, please seek a doctor’s advice and medical treatment, as these are treatable ailments that you do not have to live with.
If you or someone you know has been experiencing postpartum depression and has thoughts of suicide, call the LifeLine at the number below for help. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
CALL: 13 11 14