Loneliness is not an uncommon emotion in early motherhood. If you are not experiencing it, that is wonderful; if you are, that is very normal. Whether moms are working or staying at home, little ones are most comfortable and can be taken care of most easily when they are at home. "All the comforts of home" has a lot of meaning because it is true. We have all the supplies we need at home (typically), children sleep best in their own beds or the bed they are used to, time outs are much easier to implement at home - the list could go on and on. But being at home a lot and spending nearly all of our mental energy caring for children can be lonely, especially during the early years. A big concern about loneliness is that it can easily lead to anxiety and depression, which can be very scary for you and your loved ones. Sometimes the loneliness of new motherhood is directly related to not knowing enough women who are also new mothers. Other times it is more about not knowing new mothers who are like minded. Some women find comfort in joining a playgroup while others find playgroups difficult because the conversations are completely about children. If you are suffering from loneliness, know that you are not the only one and that there are many ways to find relief. Here are a few suggestions: If you find yourself needing to be home a lot with the baby, find a social networking site that you like and try to dedicate some time each day to connecting to people you like in that way (i.e. Facebook, Myspace,Theskinnyscoop.com). If you don't know anyone in your area, find a populated place like a coffee shop and spend some time there with the baby. Although this will not directly fulfill your need to connect with others, it does help to just be around other people. Try to get to know a neighbor, even if your lives are vastly different. You may be very surprised when a great friendship develops with someone who is in a very different time of her life but lives very close by. Being neighbors allows for spontaneous get-togethers and you may be surprised to learn that your new friend wants to help with your baby.
For more information on parenting and motherhood contact Gretchen Placzek, LCSW at (925) 878- 5616 or visit my website at www.eastbayfamilywellness.com.