Find ways to overcome loneliness as a new mom when you’re in the postpartum period, isolated at home with a newborn baby.
The recent days and weeks have been challenging for everyone, but might especially feel like a big punch in the gut to new moms everywhere.
Why the pandemic is HARD for new moms
The postpartum recovery period (typically seen as the first 6-8 weeks after birth) can generally feel like an isolating time for new moms. This is the time when a mom is taking it easy indoors as she heals and spends time with her new baby. Usually, she has a support person there to assist.
If you’re going through this and following the recommended guidelines from most doctors, you’ve kept the baby away from large crowds or groups for several weeks or even months. You may have even missed out on get-togethers with friends and family.
In many cultures, it’s normal for new mothers to be in this period of confinement for up to 40 days.
You’ve sacrificed your sanity, feeding a crying baby on demand like a milk machine. You’ve lived in a blur of sleepless days and nights. You’ve given your postpartum body time to heal, all while managing a whirlwind of emotions — from pure bliss to postpartum depression.
It can be a very emotionally trying and socially isolating time.
But now during a global pandemic, just when you feel ready and comfortable enough to take your baby out of the house, you’re told to stay at home…
Visiting family, meeting up with mommy groups or simply venturing out to normalcy must take a long pause.
Saying it’s a tough time is an understatement.
This has, of course, contributed to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and even more depression.
And it hurts.
But as much as it does, it’s something that must be done to get everyone safely through this time.
And it makes you feel stuck even more.
If you’re home with a baby, you might fall into one of the categories below:
- It’s you, baby, and your partner
- It’s you, baby, your other children, and partner
- Or it’s just you and a baby/babies
And that last one is the MOST difficult situation to manage.
Maybe your spouse needs to go out each day for essential work, leaving this time to “stay at home and bond with family” feel really unfair. Because at a time when you need the MOST help in your life, you have to go at it alone.
So what can you do when you are feeling lonely as a new mom and need help?
What you need to focus on FIRST as a lonely, overwhelmed mom
Try not to lose hope or become despaired. There is still a way to overcome these feelings and manage your mental health.
And it all truly starts with your mindset.
For a while, I always thought that just meant being positive…and all this nonsensical talk. It sounded hopeful but felt impractical when you needed immediate solutions.
But the truth is, if you can’t change the way you see things, you will not change your experience.
“The mind can make a heaven out of hell or a hell out of heaven.” – John Milton
Let that sink in.
For as tough and isolating as being home alone is, if you find a way to see the positives in it, you start to be able to cope with the hand of cards you’ve been dealt with.
- Stuck at home with a baby then becomes -> being there for major milestones
- Surrounded by wild kids means –> embracing the chaos and silliness with little ones
- Trapped at home for months means –> keeping your family and friends safe
- Alone and without help can still become –> learning to adjust and grow stronger in the process
Perspective can really change everything.
The Best Ways to Overcome New Mom Loneliness at Home
Now let’s talk about more specific ideas to help you stop feeling so lonely at home.
Join an online support group
You may already be a part of numerous Facebook groups for pregnancy or local events, but now more than ever do you need to seek comfort in a new mom support groups close to you.
When choosing a support group it may be overwhelming with all the options — there are some groups with tens of thousands of members…all over the country. I would recommend starting local whenever possible — do a search for “New Moms of [Insert Town Name]” to get started. This will provide a much more intimate experience with moms who are in or around you and is a plus for later when you are finally able to get out of the house and connect in person.
If that doesn’t lend too many options, do a wider search for “new moms” — keeping in mind that you can narrow your criteria most of the time. Example “new moms with twins” or “new moms nursing group” can provide a more narrow, targeted result.
You can also opt to join our own Mom Village community to get started and provide positivity during this unprecedented time.
Connect with others virtually
This is an ideal option to catch up with family and friends you already know. And in today’s day and age you have an abundance of options — Facebook, Zoom, Google Hangouts — are the most popular video platforms to connect with.
They may not be physically there with you, but that face-to-face connection time definitely can be so comforting during hard times.
Take classes online
While these zoom calls are suddenly all the rage, did you know about the plethora of online support classes available for moms everywhere?? Classes provide a little educational distraction to take your mind off the loneliness.
The options range from everything between labor and delivery prep to postpartum and mental health support. Plus most of these online classes come at a fraction of in-person cost.
Below are some of my top picks based on the recommendations of many:
- Birth It Up – online birth preparation class for moms looking to go the natural route
- Birth It Up 2 – online birth preparation class for moms looking to get an epidural
- Milkology – affordable online breastfeeding education classes that set you up with the basics whether your a new breastfeeding mom, exclusive pumper or mom heading back to work
Get out of the house
While you may feel stuck at home during these stay-at-home orders, that doesn’t mean you can’t step outside for fresh air. Of course, you want to stay away from crowds, public spaces and keep your 6 ft distance on daily walks. But you can still step out of the house for a change of scenery and to maintain your sanity.
Studies have shown the wonders getting outdoors into nature can do for all. A Harvard Medical study found a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety and depression.
The reasoning? According to Dr. J. Strauss, focusing on nature helps to “distract your mind from negative thinking, so your thoughts become less filled with worry.”
The research is clear.
Find a way to take a nature walk with your babies — strap them to you in a trusted carrier or break out the stroller. Even a few minutes outside appreciating life has the power to change your mentality and fill you with a sense of peace and happiness.
Everything you need to overcome feeling lonely at home.
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.