Now that you’ve had your baby, you may be wondering how you can still stay connected to the outside world. Babies can be demanding, time-consuming, and obviously require a lot of care from you as a mom. They can also be loving, cuddly, and completely rock your world in a good way. But sometimes, it’s just difficult to even get dressed and shower, much less try to leave the house on a daily basis. You may be used to going to work every day and socializing with adults other than your partner, and now being at home, perhaps on maternity leave or afterwards, with your baby is making you feel isolated and alone.
There are several ways you can combat the isolation and pain of loneliness that comes with having a newborn. Continuing to isolate yourself in the house, with your baby, could even lead to longer-term postpartum mood issues, so trying to limit your seclusion is healthy for you in many ways. While it may be difficult and it may require you to put forth effort when you least feel like it and may be still healing from your delivery, being out there and less by yourself during this time period will result in feeling better about yourself.
Benefits of Combating Isolation:
A Sense of Connection: You will want to get connected again to the outside world, or even to another adult during the day. Connection with others allows us to get out of the rut of daily baby care and stimulates our emotions in a positive way. It also decreases depression and anxiety and can help combat postpartum mood issues.
Less Dependence on Your Partner for Your Emotional Needs: Most women have intense emotional needs after your delivery. Your hormones are getting back in whack, you are healing physically from your delivery, and you now have a newborn that is completely dependent on you who cannot communicate their needs other than crying. This is an emotionally taxing time, and you need the support of more than just your partner.
15 Ways to Decrease Isolation After Birth:
If you are breastfeeding, join a breastfeeding support group to connect with other moms
Call a neighbor or friend and take a walk together in nature, putting your baby in a carrier or stroller.
Meet your partner for lunch, bringing the baby with you
Join a local mom’s club or new parent group, and attend at least one activity per week (more if possible!)
Plan to see at least one friend/family member per week, on your own terms (you name the time and place)
If your family is out of town, do daily video or phone calls to check in and for extra emotional support
Leave your home daily, even if it’s just to run a quick errand, and interact with the check-out clerks or other customers
If you are on maternity leave, take your baby to your job to show him/her off and check in with your coworkers and peers
Take your baby to your partner’s work to show him/her off
Attend story-time at your local library – even if your baby is too little to benefit, you’ll meet other local parents/grandparents
When your doctor clears you for exercise, join a baby and mom class (yoga, swimming, etc.)
Decrease or eliminate time spent on social media – this leads to more feelings of isolation and loneliness
Meet a friend for lunch, bring along the baby
Go to a nearby playground and start a conversation with other moms/dads/grandparents
If you belong to a church, check out their daytime activities and join one
Having a newborn can bring intense joy, but also may bring intense loneliness. Beat your feelings of loneliness and isolation by implementing the above ideas and, despite the effort involved, you will feel better. Connecting with others is something we used to take for granted in our daily lives before we had a child, and now you may need to make more of an effort to seek out others to get that sense of belonging.
If you are feeling isolated, perhaps even depressed or anxious after having a baby and how you feel is impacting your ability to take care of yourself and your baby, talk with a medical provider, your partner, or a professional counselor right away. These could be signs of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, or PTSD and all are treatable.
If you are interested in how the licensed therapists at Catalyss Counseling can help you adjust to parenthood after having a baby, contact us for a free 20-minute phone consultation. Or, you can book directly online with our maternal mental health specialists, Kristen Dammer or Shannon Heers