A thought that often goes through my head which makes me feel even more guilty. But it shouldn’t, it should be spoken about more as I didn’t realise how common it is until you push past all the ‘you should only feel love, joy and tiredness’ posts. Like yes, I feel all of those but can we talk about how it also makes us quite lonely too?
I knew having a baby was going to be tough, and in turn would take an effect on my social life. To be honest, my social life wasn’t great to begin with because I prefer to spend time with myself and Mathew and i’d be content with that. That’s just what i’ve always been like. However, that choice of whether or not I could go out was my choice and could take my friends offers up whenever I pleased. Since having a baby, that has taken a knock on effect and also taken away that ‘me’ time I treasured so much. It’s who I am and it restored my energy after social gatherings. It gave me a chance to unwind and relax, I had the freedom of choosing whether or not I wanted to isolate myself from the world and binge watch tv or go on an adventure with Mathew.
Since having a baby, organising things with friends is difficult. Mainly because most of the time you are forgotten about. I’m at that age of 22 where the majority of my friends are at university and their favourite past time thing to do is go out to town. Now that i’m a mum, I rarely am acknowledged and normally when I am, I’m asked last minute. Not very convenient as I have to plan it around Mathews shifts. I can always give Joseph to my parents sometimes but they have work too and still not comfortable giving Joseph for that long as I don’t think it’s quite fair!
Priorities change when you have a baby, the last thing I want to do is drink alcohol and stay out late when I could be having a cuppa, playing with baby, spending time with Mathew and unwinding when he goes to bed with the little time I have. And then getting in as much sleep as I can.
Loneliness can hit you hard. Mathew most of the time can work six shifts in a row ranging anything from a 6-3, 11-7, 2-10. And quite often I find myself clock watching waiting until he comes through the door (selfish, I know. Sorry Mat!). I go for a week sometimes without speaking to an adult that isn’t my partner or my mum and dad. I get that it isn’t bad, and I treasure my time with them. But sometimes it is nice to catch up with friends that isn’t by text message. And days can be long, so long without any adult contact. I spend my days routinely taking care of Joseph and talking to a baby that doesn’t talk back. Putting 100% in day in, day out to entertain him. Not even getting to unwind until late hours of the day when I’m too tired to even be bothered with getting stuff done.
Some days where i’ve spent day in, day out in the house doing the same thing is where I really get envious of Mathew going to work wishing I could too just so i don’t have to worry about the baby for one minute. I could leave the house without wondering ‘am I actually going to speak to anyone today?’ or not worry about packing babies bag, etc. And I feel jealous of Mathews work xmas parties, secret santas. And me? Well for someone who used to love their job is just titled as a mum now. And the maternity pay is so dire that it’s not like I can have a ‘treat yo self’ moment.
I tend to use social media a lot more than ever before. I find myself constantly on my phone, even around Joseph. I feel bad, and I do give Joseph my attention 99.999999% of the time but when he’s sitting on my lap or rolling on the mat, I use social media as an escapism and post a picture of him as a kind of ‘Im still here, look how well i’m coping’ when really I often feel quite isolated and lonely and when I do feel really down in the dumps, just wish I could have aspects of my old life back.
I tend to be house bound a lot of the time, especially now that the weather is so pants. I haven’t passed my driving test yet and going out for a walk is rare due to it being raining the majority of the time. I did use public transport once and it was horrific as when Joseph gets agitated, you get the whole bus just staring at you and judging you. So instead of people thinking that you’re struggling, it’s just best to stay inside. And quite often I’m thinking, why do I do this? Getting outside will do us the world of good.
In turn, I don’t find myself wanting to take care of my appearance. I do have plenty of times where I could do my hair, do a home work out. But I choose not to because I think well what’s the point? I’m not going anywhere, not seeing anyone.
As much as I love Joseph being a baby and I always tell Mat how I want him to stay this small, I am looking forward to him developing and growing so he can become my little best bud and we can do lots of fun things together. This post may seem all doom and gloom but I promise you, it isn’t all that bad. I do have the off day, like today where I do need to let off some steam. I would never feel begrudged of having Joseph, him and Mathew are the light of my life.
I just don’t think women should feel embarrassed to admit they’re struggling with loneliness and isolation. It’s inevitable if you’re in a similar position to myself. You’re not the only ones, and times will get better for you. I think I just need to force myself out a bit more, make an effort with myself and something as small as that could perhaps be a big difference!