Being a new parent is exciting, but it also can be very isolating and lonely. At least for the first few months of your baby’s life, every waking moment will be dedicated to taking care of this very fragile human being. Your body also has to spend six to eight weeks recovering. In many cases, new mothers need anywhere between six months to a year to feel their “normal self” again.
That, unfortunately, means missing a few social events and gatherings to stay at home with your baby. Even if you do find a sitter you trust, you might find yourself lacking the energy to go out with friends.
Loneliness as a new parent is common, and it is a serious problem. One study found that the majority of new parents (68 percent of respondents) felt cut off from their colleagues and friends after the birth of their child. Two of the most commonly cited reasons are the inability to leave the house and a lack of money.
Another survey found that loneliness and isolation is a problem specific to new mothers. While new dads can feel socially detached, too, they rebound after they return to work. Moms, on the other hand, are expected to become the primary caregiver of the child.
It does not matter that you love your child and have longed for their arrival to the world. The experience of child-rearing can still be very lonely. It is especially isolating if you gave birth in the past year while in the middle of a global pandemic. You cannot see your family and friends, fearing that the visit can expose your child to the dreaded virus.
You do not have to be alone in this experience. You can do things to feel connected to other people, especially to other mothers who may be feeling lonely and isolated, too.
Be Social Through Social Media
Facebook was initially intended to forge better connections between people. While the social media site has been embroiled in controversies, it still has the capacity to bring people closer together.
One of the best features of the social media site is Facebook Groups. Essentially, you can join these Facebook Groups and discuss parenting stuff with fellow new moms and maybe meet new friends. It is a great way to find tips, seek advice, or share your thoughts and emotions with people who have similar experiences.
Some apps connect parents with other parents around the world or within your neighborhood. Mom.Life, which is available via Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store, is a popular app that connects parents. Hike It Baby, on the other hand, connects parents and their children with nature by including outdoor activities such as hiking.
Schedule a Get-Together, and See it Through
New parents do tend to cancel plans they made with friends. Often, it is not your fault. You might not find a babysitter to look after your baby, or you do not have the energy to sit with friends in a restaurant. Having a baby is also expensive, and there is no shame in admitting that you do not have the funds right now to spend on a night out with friends.
However, new parents need to socialize. You do not have to go out with friends every day, but you should spend time with your loved ones.
If you worry about childcare, there are other ways to connect with other people. For example, during the pandemic, people found ways to hang out despite the lockdowns by utilizing Zoom. They spent special occasions virtually and ate meals on camera and in front of computer screens. It is an alternative when having in-person meetups is not possible.
New parents can meet their friends more often through video calls. You can order online lunch for yourself and your friends to feel like you are eating in the same restaurant. It is convenient because you would not have to leave your child at home. You can still care for your child in an environment that is safe and comfortable for them while you hang out with your pals.
Accept That Things Have Changed
Being a parent has changed all aspects of your life, including your social life. Things will never be the same from now on, but that does not mean you no longer have the privilege of having a social life.
You might start to notice that you no longer enjoy the activities you used to do with friends. That, however, does not mean that you should stop being friends with them. Instead, find another activity that all of you will enjoy. Perhaps, instead of going to clubs, you can go to a more quiet bar where you can sit down and have a drink.
Being a new parent should not kill your social life. While you have new responsibilities now, you still deserve to have a support system around you. You only have to reach out and make an effort to connect with family and friends to end your loneliness and isolation.