Week 4 - The Loneliness of Motherhood
The loneliness of motherhood
Lisa, MumShape Founder
The single parent to baby Mila, part-time dog mama and start-up founder takes us on her 6 week experiment trying to reduce stress, work out regularly and improve her diet.
After traveling the world for several years, living abroad in three different countries, moving into new houses and restarting my life, I would count myself an expert in meeting new people, socializing and making new friends. I landed my dream job in London in one of the best interior design companies in the world and I had the pleasure to meet and work with amazing co-workers. I enjoyed my new London life, quickly made friends, had fun nights out and lazy days in, went on dates, saw exhibitions, explored Londons neighborhoods and hidden pubs, had amazing food and just lived a great end-of-20s life. And I was far from being done with that kind of lifestyle...
Anyone else here who didn't plan their pregnancy? So here I am, nine months later with a crying baby on my arm. I haven't slept in weeks and can't remember what my last warm meal was. I also don't have any family close by and no partner I can count on. I thought I had experienced life before Mila but came to realize that nothing can prepare you for the journey being a mum - and what a lonely one it can be. Over the past couple of months I started to understand more and more about the depths of my mind. I began to notice more how I was feeling and tried to pay attention to the things that would trigger feelings of sadness or loneliness. I kept thinking about mums I know, mums in my circle of friends and thought to myself that some of them always seem so happy and content as if nothing could shake them. But with postnatal depression becoming more of an open discussion, I think that even the seemingly happiest mums can struggle after giving birth, the mum who always wanted kids can start feeling doubtful because she has trouble bonding with her newborn.
The world weights on your shoulders but who can you talk to? Who wants to know about your babies poop explosion, sleep struggles, and vomited milk? Mums need mums to talk to. Apps like peanut and mush totally understand the concept of loneliness and are a great help for mums to connect with local mums. I was also lucky because my area has a WhatsApp group with +250 local mums. These channels are just wonderful to ask for baby-related advice and I even met great friends.
But I am not like my other mama-friends. I am a single parent, which comes with so many more problems, questions, feelings of anger and stress (...just to mention a few) on top of your daily life with baby.
Now, I still had circle of friends who knew me pre-pregnancy; friends who I could still share my anger with about men, relationships, love, hopes, and my personal struggles I went through. On the other side, I had my mama-friends who could relate to and understand my baby-problems. Despite having a network, I feel like I am somewhere in between. One side didn't want to know all my baby stories - cute and gross- and I couldn't share my private adult problems with my happily married mama-friends.
A dilemma that let me to discover Frolo: An amazing networking platform for single mums - women who go through the exact same as myself and who would fully understand me as a woman and mum. I am very happy I came across Frolo... even though I found it 1.5 years after my baby was born. That's a lot of alone time struggling to find that balance between those two lives.
How did I manage? I just lived in the moment and accepted the situation. I built a team, my baby and me! We have lazy pajama days, she takes me to baby parties, and sometimes I take her to business meetings. We even go to the gym together (Thanks to Mark!). I had to find the balance to fully take care of my child but also to take care of myself and to start healing .. and that's how MumShape started.
I had to learn to just breathe through it sometimes in order to stay calm and strong. I had to accept that a few things are just not possible in a certain situation, like seeing my friends going out, looking good and spending money while I am trying to get my baby back to sleep at 4 am. I believe a lot of mums feel alone and that their hard work is not appreciated, especially in the first few weeks after giving birth. Our lives turn around and will never be the same - and it doesn't matter if you are married or single, the happy couple or happy alone. Motherhood is not just a new chapter but the second book of a great story.
Ask yourself this: Have you ever felt so much love? These little wet kisses on your cheek in the morning and these little arms wrapped arround your neck at night. And no other person can understand how much energy this love can release and how much happiness is hidden in the loneliness of motherhood.
There is nothing greater than the love of a child. It is about creating these moments and building these memories.
Thanks for reading!