No One Ever Tells You About the Loneliness

In the Comfort of Strangers

In the Comfort of Strangers

There are a million books and websites on post-partum depression and the baby blues. You’re given pamphlets of signs to watch for before you leave the hospital with your newborn baby in hand. You read about it in magazine articles and hopefully, your doctor asks you about it at your six-week check up. What wasn’t discussed and what I wasn’t prepared for is how lonely I would feel, passing the hours, days and months with my new baby.

When I found out I was pregnant with my second child I made so many promises to myself about all the things I wanted to do. I was going to take the pre-natal yoga class, Baby and Me classes, swim class, gym class, walk every day until that excess baby weight melted off, take baby sign language classes…I had all these grandiose plans, but then reality hit me like a ton of dirty diapers. Most of those things not only cost money, they take motivation. And these days, Shayden, my sweet baby boy has drained me of both.

With an active 14-month-old on my hands, I spend my days trying to figure out how I will entertain him (entertaining me is a notion of the past) on a shoestring budget. I’m thankful for Baby Storytime at the public library. After all, now that the rain has set in, it’s the one thing Shayden enjoys that’s not depleting my bank account. But how long before the librarians tire of the cute little boy who pulls all the books off the shelves?

Each day, I try to plan something fun and interesting for him. If he’s happy, I’m happy, or so the saying goes. I thought being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) would be great. I could write, I could go to the park everyday, go shopping… I wouldn’t have to drag myself to a job where I’m underpaid and underappreciated. Little did I realize that as a SAHM, not only would I still be underpaid and underappreciated, I’d also be incredibly lonely.

No one ever talks about the loneliness.

While on one hand I adore watching Shayden surprise me with his miraculous feats of development each and every day, I also find myself also struggling with the isolation being a new mom can bring.

I envisioned sharing playdates with my mommy friends spending the days drinking coffee taking pleasure in our child’s misdeeds. Actually, I don't even drink coffee, but what I didn’t take into consideration is that my son would be on a different nap schedule than every other baby in town thus preventing us from enjoying those playdates and coffee that I don't even like. Additionally, it seems that unless the planets, the sun and the moon are all in perfect alignment, Shayden’s nap schedule makes it difficult to attend almost any classes (why is that most baby activities seem to be scheduled between 9-11 in the morning, don’t other babies nap?). Invariably, this leaves me scrambling to find somewhere to take him (other than the mall please) where he can burn off some energy and work on his developing motor skills (like pushing the shopping cart through New Seasons market – as we did today to the amusement of the kind, patient and generous staff).

Sometimes I feel as though I’m stranded on a deserted island, cut off from the rest of world, longing everyday for the company of others. I avoid calling my friends for fear they will hear the neediness and desperation in my voice—I don’t want their pity or their sympathy. I skirt the issue with my husband, for although he tries his best, I know he can’t relate and doesn’t fully understand what I’m going through.

Lately, I find myself turning to complete strangers; looking to exchange just a few intelligible words with another adult (the women sitting next to me at lunch, the person in line behind me at the grocery store, the teller at the bank). Thankfully, somehow my baby draws the world in a little bit closer. His magnetism enables other to reach out and open the door to conversation. Where I once went about my business not paying much attention to those around me, in a hurry and trying to just get things done to get home and keep up with my busy schedule, now I take delight in the chatty cashier I once avoided. Who would have thought that people I didn’t know would provide me with the necessary nourishment my soul so desperately desired?

Shayden has opened my eyes. It is through him I’ve realized how interconnected we really all are. I don’t need to be able to have coffee with my favorite friend to feel less alone. All I have to do is go out and the world provides me with all sorts of companions. Granted, I may not be able to share my deepest secrets or all my hopes and dreams with the gentleman behind me in line, but I can connect with him in some way. So, in a beautiful way, I’ve come to realize that I’m never really alone. There are people all around me, wanting similar companionship, offering their support in small but very measurable ways.

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Comments 18 comments

amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

Thank you for sharing - I can completely relate to everything you said! I too have a 15 month old (as well as 4 and * year-olds) and I have the good fortune with my oldest to do the coffee with friends thing. Now, all of my friends are back at work and scheduling is a nightmare. Being a stay at home mom is not an easy thing, and the loneliness is the worst part, in my opinion. I would never talk to people in line at the store - before - now I do it all the time!


tbelgard profile image

tbelgard 8 years ago from The rainy but beautiful Pacific Northwest Author

Thanks Amy Jane! I don't know how moms like you do it. I'm too much of a coward to have another baby, though I do have a 20-yr-old that's just moved back in. My hats off to you though, juggling multiple children, and now talking to strangers - for me it's been a strangely wonderful experience!


Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN

I think at some point all moms have felt like you do. I have a 22 year old (who's now married) and a 9 year old who has asperger's syndrome, and I've made the decision to stay home because of him. There are days I really miss working (I used to be a high school English teacher), but people remind me that my most important job is being a mom to my son. Hang in there, I think it does get easier!


bettiegurrl profile image

bettiegurrl 8 years ago from Portland, Or

I have a 9 year old daughter and I used to work. For the past year Ive been at home. No desire to work and no need. I also want to be there for her when she gets home from school unlike my parents were able to be for me. She enjoys it. I don't get lonely though. I can always find ways to entertain myself. You said you're a writer I believe? Then you must love books! Must get more! If Im not online, Im reading something. I also do online school (writing). You should be able to do that when your little one sleeps. Figure out what interests you and go for it!


tbelgard profile image

tbelgard 8 years ago from The rainy but beautiful Pacific Northwest Author

Thanks bettiegurrl, you're absolutely right. I'm starting to come out of the fog after that difficult and trying first year, and just now finding myself again. I've resumed my writing and I am a huge reader BTW, but in my free time. I guess the lonliness I was referring to was when my little one's awake and I have no one to have a conversation with all day long. As my article suggests, strangers have taken on a whole new role in my life - who would have thought? Did my baby make me more friendly? Hmmmm.....


bettiegurrl profile image

bettiegurrl 8 years ago from Portland, Or

I have no friends outside of my home. Family yes, friends no and its because I don't keep in contact with anyone except for on myspace and those are old friends Ive had for years. They all live in So Cal and Im in Oregon. I go absolutely NOWHERE. Its weird. I wont even go to the grocery store. How I don't get lonely I don't know. I thought about it after reading your post and it kinda baffled me that Im not lonely. I guess Ive always been able to entertain myself, I cant stand boredom for long so I always find something to do and its usually alone. Since (I think) we live nearby, we could always find something to do. But I will warn you, I don't go out much. :) Strangers are a comfort to a lot of us these days in the computer age. Nothing wrong with that.


Katherine Parsons 8 years ago

Tamara, I really loved this article and I can COMPLETELY relate. I too had all these ideas about being a SAHM; I would do photography, freelance, etc. After a grueling work schedule in L.A., I thought motherhood would be a breeze. I can now humbly admit my ignorance and inexperience. Also, it has been very isolating for me as well for all the reasons you mentioned above. I guess some woman have no problem entertaining themselves, but I can't seem to stop chasing my toddler around the house to do much else...

Keep up the great work!


bettiegurrl profile image

bettiegurrl 8 years ago from Portland, Or

For some reason I found myself thinking about lonliness again tonight because of your post. I think Ive figured out a better way to say what I meant before. Ive been alone for most of my life, that is probably why Im able to be by myself and not ever actually BE lonely. Does that make sense? Im just used to it so its normal for me. I understand what you were going through though, being a new mom and having a lot of changes going on with your body and your surroundings is never easy. Im glad you found this place to help with that. Writing is a great outlet for emotions and what better place to do it than here?


magriet profile image

magriet 8 years ago

This has really touched me. I know now that I was very ungrateful for what I had when my kids were small. They are 34 and 37 now. My mom was close by when they were small and she was always there whenever the going got tough. I do not think I appreciated it enough.


tbelgard profile image

tbelgard 8 years ago from The rainy but beautiful Pacific Northwest Author

Hey bettiegurrl! I'm glad I got you thinking. I too have been a loner much of my life. But I learned a lot being home with my baby though this past year. There's something about having a new child that makes you want reach out to the world. I felt a need to connect with others like never before. Getting lost in feedings (yes, bettie, I breastfed with modesty for one full year) and diapers and tending to someone elses needs all day was a lot different than hanging out by myself, reading, listening to music and beeboping around the house. Writing has been an amazing outlet, and look at the connections I've even made here! Thanks for reading!


tbelgard profile image

tbelgard 8 years ago from The rainy but beautiful Pacific Northwest Author

Hi Magriet, I'm so pleased that this piece touched you and made you think about how much our mothers sacrifice for us. You and your children were/are very lucky to have her support.


tbelgard profile image

tbelgard 8 years ago from The rainy but beautiful Pacific Northwest Author

Julie Johnson - it sounds like you continue to make sacrifices for your kids, I know how difficult that must be. I see it getting easier already, thanks for reading!!


Agro Donkey 8 years ago from Ohio

I'm a stay at home dad and I know what you are talking about. My soon to be wife works weird shifts and hours due to her job. I am left with my little girl for 16 hours a day a lot of the time and then she is only here long enough to sleep befor going back to work. The bordom is a killer but the lack of adult conversation makes you want to pull your hair out. My little one is only 10 months old so when I finaly do get to speak to an adult I've found myself speaking to them as I would speak to her. I actualy said Oohh! There is Uckies on it to a friend of mine who had handed me a spark plug with oil on it. I felt like a complete moron. I hope that you find a way to fill the void and if you do please share.


desert blondie profile image

desert blondie 8 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

Yes, the loneliness. My first baby had colic something horrid, and my husband had just gotten a promotion that had him off traveling much of the time! Man, did I feel isolated! And now, with my girls grown and gone...there's often another kind of loneliness...how I miss them! Oh, we talk and text and email like crazy, but the house is soooo quiet, so un-active, un-lively. And both moved far away, so we only see each other two times A YEAR or so!!! What a shock to my system. BUT, as you say...there are people all around us. I've connected more with neighbors, and am really getting attached to hubpages and lovely hubbers like you! BEST!


tbelgard profile image

tbelgard 8 years ago from The rainy but beautiful Pacific Northwest Author

Agro, thank you so much, your reply had me ROTFL. I too have had those embarrassing mommy moments, but I imagine far more so for a dad in front of his manly friend. Great job staying home with your daughter. It is a wonderful sacrifice to make for your child, I have seen the benefits in my son and it does get easier as they get older and you begin to find yourself again. No secrets to share, but I'll keep you posted!!


tbelgard profile image

tbelgard 8 years ago from The rainy but beautiful Pacific Northwest Author

Oh Blondie, I feel your pain. My oldest (20 yrs) just moved back in, I think I like missing him better :) I hope you find the fulfillment you need!


manzoorqureshi 8 years ago

Its really nice I could hardly ever access to such site


juda 2 years ago

I am five months pregnant and I just realized my life is over

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