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Motherhood and isolation.

Wanting to belong.

By Divine Del ✨🦋🧿Published about a month ago 4 min read
Motherhood and isolation.
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

There I sat in a class full of other mothers and babies. I’d managed to leave the house today so I could try and attempt to be social after becoming a new mummy. Yet for some reason, at that moment, I felt so alone. I’d find myself avoiding eye contact with others or just looking down at my baby. All the mums just seemed so clicky. It felt like school again. Feeling like an outsider, glaringly obvious that I was different. Or so I felt. Though every week I’d make myself go, for the sake of my baby. He was extremely social from such an early age. I could tell he enjoyed the company of other people because he was so curious and happy to be around them. Here I was, an introverted mother blessed with an extroverted baby. 

As I began to settle in more to the baby classes I gradually started making acquaintances with other mums. Still, it wasn’t with the clicky mums, but I preferred it this way. Soon came the longer conversations with a random question thrown in now and again which would catch me off guard. “How was your birth?” and “Are you breastfeeding?”

4 months postpartum, these questions were real triggers for me. Never knowing how to respond without wanting to burst into tears, yet deep down wanting to feel accepted and make new mum friends. 

At the time I was going through a very difficult and very raw break-up with my baby’s father. Another thing I was trying to hide. I felt embarrassed and had no one to talk to or relate to at the time. So I didn’t belong with the clicky mums, the married mums, or the overly confident mums. Where did I belong?

After seeking help and advice from my local children’s centre, I was referred to MumsAid. It was Counselling specifically for mums of traumatic birth experiences and postpartum anxiety. It was then I finally began to feel like I belonged somewhere as a new mummy. 

As a new mum, it’s already challenging trying to find your place in society, regardless of other factors and lifestyle changes. My friends and family supported me in the best ways they knew how, yet no one understood me like those women in that counselling room. I felt seen, heard and validated. As I began to work through things I started to feel lighter and more in control. That was until I had to move out of my ex-partner's home. 

All the anxiety and scary feelings came rushing back. I’d have to start all over again. Having moved back to North East London after living in South London, I realised that I’d have to attend new baby classes again.

I found the local children’s centre through my GP and started going to classes every week with my son. He loved them, but for some reason, I would always dread them. I felt that awkward feeling again. I told myself that I had to force myself to make friends because it was the expected thing to do. I didn’t feel ready to answer the questions again. Not this time around. 

At the time I’d never felt so alone. The isolation that comes with being a mum has most likely been felt by every mother at some point regardless of their situation. Motherhood can look different in so many ways. 

When my son started to approach 9 months old, I found myself repeatedly trying to navigate the ‘return to work’ questions. “So when are you returning to work?” and “What nurseries are you thinking of?” “Umm”, I’d reply. “I’m not going back to work.” I never realised until asked, that this was no longer an option for me. I was a single mum now, with very little help and whose job was back in South London. I could see the confusion on people’s faces when I replied. Suddenly it dawned on me, there was another category I didn’t fit into, the working mother. 

As time moved on, eventually I started to meet other mums who I could relate to again. Nothing could compare to how much it helped to speak about similar situations. 

At around 10 months postpartum I’d finally found classes that worked for both me and my son. We were both able to enjoy ourselves and there wasn't that feeling of dread hanging over me.

Part of being a mother has made me realise that at times I may be met with uncomfortable conversations and questions in the future. Just last week at a regular class of ours, I got talking to some mums. The conversation started well. We talked about what our children ate and their developmental milestones. Until the conversation turned to their partners and how they don’t have time for date nights and feel like their entire relationships are based around their children. I found myself in a similar situation again where I didn’t want to have to explain my circumstances. One of the mums also talked about how hard it was that she doesn’t have a nanny anymore and that her cleaner also used to help out with the children. I remember thinking to myself I don’t have any of those things and feeling quite bitter about it. Again, I couldn't relate and there was almost a polite pause waiting for me to join in. I didn't, instead I found an excuse to leave.

Upon reflection, I think this is very common in motherhood. It’s a societal norm to want to be recognised and belong to a certain group or community. Especially when you’re experiencing something completely new. I’ve found that with time you do eventually meet the people who are on a similar journey to you. However, I’ve also accepted that being a mother will undoubtedly be met with feelings of isolation. That’s just how it is sometimes. We all have our own personal issues that we are dealing with. Motherhood looks different for everyone and there is nothing to be ashamed of around that.

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About the Creator

Divine Del ✨🦋🧿

Extremely interested in human behaviour. My writing is mainly philosophical with a twist of humour. I welcome you to my own personal journey, ongoing observations, never ending questions, and the world through my extremely observant eyes..

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  • Manikandan Blog Writerabout a month ago


Divine Del ✨🦋🧿Written by Divine Del ✨🦋🧿

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