Being a new Mum can be lonely, even if you do have the company of your baby 24/7. Talking nonsense in that high-pitched baby chat can slowly take its toll, especially when the replies consist of cooing, babbling or crying. All mums need to ensure they take time out for themselves and socialise with other like-minded ladies with whom they can share their experiences, get over hurdles and gain support from. Although I do get it’s not for everyone and a lot of people might enjoy their own company, remember, just because your a Mum doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a life.
Ever since being pregnant, I was adamant that I would attend various mother and baby groups with Baby Stephens. Now, I’m out of the house three to four days a week attending different fitness and development groups, meeting lots of new people. It’s not just beneficial for me, as George gets to interact and socialise with other babies, as well as develop and learn new things. Only recently he’s begun smiling and chatting with his other baby buddies, which makes it even more worthwhile. Sometimes I find myself just going for a stroll with George either in his pram or carrier, to get some fresh air. It can be tiring staring at the same four walls for a whole day!
Face-to-face contact is free therapy for us – avoiding isolation and building or joining a social community is so important. Your partner might be working full-time, meaning they feel kinda normal and automatically get that adult interaction every day, which a stay-at-home parent doesn’t without being pro-active about it.
Various studies have shown that mums without a strong support group have higher levels of stress; these mums tend to be more worn down and pessimistic about parenthood. The opposite was found from mums who did have a strong support group.
It really does take a village to raise a child – the more people you have around you, for someone to turn to, the easier and more manageable it is to look after your baby.
Apparently, mums make an average of nine new friends in the year after having a baby. This is primarily down to mums not wanting to bore their friends (who aren’t mums) with their moaning of poopy nappies, sleepless nights and hours of crying, all of which other new mums are too familiar with.
These days, there is so much choice out there with various groups offering trials to see whether they suit you. You might feel that your baby is still too young to attend these groups, but from personal experience, I started taking George at around eight weeks and didn’t find it a waste of time. Yes, he might have slept most of the time, but it meant I got to chill out and have a cuppa and a chat with the other mums.
As a Mum, you have two really important jobs. Looking after your baby and looking after yourself. Without looking after yourself, mentally and physically, who’s going to look after your baby?
So make sure you take the time to research and attend groups, meet-ups or classes in your area to establish a group of Mum friends. Always remember, a problem shared is a problem halved. Who better to speak to than someone who’s going through similar things themselves?
A happy Mum makes a happy baby!
This article was first published by Mumma in Training