Becoming a new mum can be a lonely and isolating time if you don’t have the support of family and friends you on your doorstep. A new 'mum friend' can really help.
Before having a baby it’s possible that you worked and/or were busy in the working day. You had a social life with friends in the evenings and or at the weekends, correct? Suddenly you’ve now been catapulted into a world of ‘daytime’. A potentially lonely daytime where your partner, your friends and even your family are at work/busy with their normal routine. Your day begins in what seems like the middle of the night with baby’s first feed. You head out into the big wide world with your baby and all of a sudden life is a little unfamiliar.
After a few weeks, it’s a good idea to research where your local mum and baby group is on. Suddenly your day may have a new additional purpose. You'll have already spent a few weeks/months adjusting to being a mum. You've cracked all the baby basics (nappy changing, feeding, and leaving the house with a bag the size of a small suitcase of essentials!). It’s time to go out there and embrace the new daytime world and be part of it. Strongly consider a trip to the nearest mum and baby group and see how you like it.
It is good to get out of the house and chances are your baby will enjoy all the new experiences too. You’ll likely meet so many new people on your first visit that you won't even remember their names. You may remember them as Tom’s mam, or Emma’s mum!
With friends who have known you for a while you can relax and be yourself. With brand new friends whom you don't know very well yet it’s understandable if you feel a little more vulnerable. It's always hard to make new friends in any situation, whatever your age. Throw in a week of sleepless nights and it is tougher still. It's a bit like when you started at a new school or a new job. You find it hard to relax and be yourself at first. Part of you wishes you could fast forward a month to a time when you feel surer of yourself and more like you belong. Take your time. This is a marathon, not a sprint and try to enjoy meeting new people.
Sleep deprivation can make you feel inhuman! Couple that with some post baby hormones too and it's no surprise if you don’t feel like yourself. This new friend’s lark is not easy. As mentioned above it takes time and although you’re tired you've still got to summon the energy to smile and chat to try to make new friends. All you might want to do is cuddle up and sleep. Also, spending time with new folk is tiring. It takes concentration. Trying to find conversation also takes up energy. It's hard sometimes to show your 'best side' if you're knackered and you're baby is cranky and you're feeling a bit unsure of yourself. It is also all too easy to believe that every other mum in the world is happy and perfect and sorted. But we’re going to let you in on a little secret – you are not alone!
Staying indoors can get you into a rut. Quickly you can find yourself going days without speaking to another adult until evening time comes. I found myself talking endlessly to the milkman when he came collect his money or the postwoman just to ensure I had an adult conversation. I blush now at some of the odd conversations.
It’s likely that the 'other mums' are feeling just as anxious and insecure as you and are doing this for the same reasons as you. Pretty soon the more you arrange to go places where you meet other mums, you will find some who you start to feel comfortable with and can start to relax with and drop your guard. So it is worth getting out there and persevering.