Are you a new mom with no friends? If you describe yourself like this, you might feel like you’re the only one in the world in this situation.
But trust me, this feeling much more common than you think. Lots of new moms struggle with feelings of loneliness. I remember this feeling all too well, but I overcame it after becoming friends with lots of local moms. So I wanted to share my story to encourage you to go out there and make the early years of your baby happy ones.
“Wow, you’re pregnant! Congratulations! Welcome to the club!” I wasn’t sure which club people referred to when they said this, nor whether I would be joining this magical sounding society before or after birth, but it did make me feel like I belonged. I could never have imagined then that shortly after I would feel so lonely when I was a new mom with no friends to speak off.
You see, a sense of belonging is a great feeling. In this world of increasing loneliness and alienation caused by our technology-fuelled lives, feeling like you are part of a community is good for the soul. In fact, people who feel like they belong have a greater sense of wellbeing and can even live longer. The research was undertaken by Belgian demographer Michel Poulain and the Italian doctor Gianni Pes bears this out.
People in blue zones live longer
According to The Conversation, they marked the region Barbaglia in Sardinia, Italy, as a blue zone (an area where people live longer than average). Why? This remarkable place in Italy houses a chockfull of people in their eighties and nineties. And they are joined by centurians and even some supercenturians (people who have reached the age of 110).
The secret of living longer summed up in two factors
Building on their study, American researcher Dan Buettner found four more regions he classified as blue zones. Those regions, based in Japan, Costa Rica, California, and Greece, shared a similarly high proportion of healthy elderly people in their populations.
After many years of research, his team figured out what the secret was behind the long lives of their residents. They listed 9 factors, which we can sum up in two (genetics aside):
- Healthy lifestyles, including healthy ways for coping with stress and a healthy (mainly plant-based) diet without alcohol.
- Being part of a community with common goals, whether it be family, friends, social groups, or a religious community.
Becoming a new mom
So, when feeling part of a bigger picture is so important, it increases longevity, it’s even more crucial to feel like you belong when you have just gone through the transition of becoming a new mom.
Yes, ironically, just when you thought you’d never be alone again, spending what feels like 24/7 with your baby is no guarantee you won’t feel lonely as a new mom. Especially when you don’t have other local mom friends to hang out with.
What causes new moms to struggle with feelings of loneliness?
When you announce to the world, you’re pregnant, and people are happy for you, it can leave you feeling euphoric. As a visibly pregnant woman, you get plenty of attention from family, friends, and even perfect strangers on the street.
Everyone wants to know your due date, what your gender preference would be, and some even try to tease out the top of your name list. So far, so good. Once your baby is born, and the emotional roller-coaster of the first few weeks have passed, new mom reality sets in.
New mom reality
Going through a rite of passage like that can really throw you. Suddenly, your new responsibility sinks in, and that can hit you hard. This new phase of your life, coupled with reduced self-confidence, struggling to lose your baby weight, and a chronic lack of shut-eye, can knock you sideways.
When you’re up all night with a crying baby, you’re never without anxiety and loneliness leading you a merry dance. Trying to soothe your little one for hours on end can make you feel sad and alone. This, in turn, can affect your confidence leading to a perfect storm..
Mom needing mom
In some cases, these feelings can multiply if family and friends don’t live close by, you have a challenging relationship with your mom, or sadly your mum passed. When you become a mom yourself, suddenly nothing matters more than having your own mother by your side.
I know what that feels like. While I’m lucky to enjoy a healthy relationship with my mum, she does live over 700 miles away. I had been living abroad before getting pregnant, and I had gotten used to seeing my family every couple of months.
I was a new mom with no friends
Suddenly, as a new mom, that didn’t make sense anymore. I felt so alone and experienced an almost primal need to have my mom nearby, plagued as I was by questions about my own babyhood that my partner couldn’t answer.
I’m not going to lie to you, the first few months were tough. They weren’t at all how I had imagined being with my baby would be like.
You see, both my parents and sister lived far away, and so did most of my friends. While my partner tried his best, I could only talk to him so long before he zoned out (I suspect from tiredness).
Living abroad didn’t help me much in the friend department either. Most of my friends at home had their babies a few years before me, and here I hadn’t found anyone in the same situations. So trust me. I know what it feels like to be a new mom with no friends.
New mom friends were my lifeline
By chance, I did have a great health nurse who brought me into contact with other local moms, and friend-starved as I was, I jumped at the opportunity to meet other women going through the same stuff.
In some weird coincidence, most women I met were as eager to meet other new moms as well, since most of them didn’t have much family close by either. A life of playdates, park outings, and many, many (lukewarm) cups of herbal tea began. (We were all on parental leave, so funds didn’t stretch to more than that.)
Connecting with other local moms was the savior of me. Just being able to call upon a mom at the next road up from me was wonderful. Commiserating with other moms on their sleepless nights felt good too.
Also, my little one enjoyed hanging out with his little buddies; learning to crawl with a captive audience was great for his confidence. But most of all, the feeling I wasn’t alone in this weird and wonderful new world of parenting was incredibly cathartic.
Who knew there were so many local women in the same boat? Suddenly, I felt myself part of this community of new moms and a fully-fledged member of the buggy brigade pounding (or stumbling when sleep-deprived) down our local roads and parks.
Slowly, I felt myself getting back to normal. I still suffered from lack of sleep, but I didn’t feel the effects so much because I knew I wasn’t the only one. You see, when you can share your anxiety with other moms who know what you are going through, you start to feel less alone.
So what are my tips for you?
6 tips for connecting with other mom friends
1. Baby classes
Sign up for any baby classes you can find.
Once there, you will find other local mums desperate for some adult chat. You see, though circumstances, not of their own making, plenty of mums find themselves in the ‘new mom with no friends’ phase at the start.
2. Make for your local park
Take yourself and baby off to your nearest park in the morning. You will find other moms there, trying to give their baby some fresh air. Just strike up a conversation with them, and make it a habit to go there every morning. I have met a few mom friends this way.
3. Frequent your local library
Find out if your local library has (free) storytelling sessions for little ones. Once there, ask a friendly-looking mom if she will join you for a coffee afterward. Chances are, she’ll be delighted to accept.
4. Check out play cafe’s
Check if there is a play cafe around for little ones. This is a great place to meet other new moms in need of some adult company.
5. Visit your local cafe
Go to a local cafe around half nine in the morning
Any later and moms might be at home for nap time. Once there, start chatting to other moms about their babies. Believe me, other new moms always want to talk about their little ones.
6. Look out for local playgroups
Most towns and villages will have locally run (free or cheap) playgroups for new parents and their babies. You can usually find their flyers at your local health clinic, library, or community center. If not, ask around or check your town’s local FB page.
Worried about your baby’s development? Check our convenient 12-month guide, and find out what red flags to watch out for.