Loneliness: guest blog


My guest blog for Hotmama is online now. It's a personal one about loneliness in new mothers- you can read the start here, but you'll have to hop over to the HotMama Diaries for the rest...

Can you be lonely as a new mother?

In a world where millions of people can be reached in the time it takes to post an emoji, these are meant to be the most connected, the most engaged of our history. And yet despite all of these advances, these opportunities and methods of communication, people, including new mothers, are still suffering in silence from something that you would think no longer exists in the 21st century: loneliness. Myself, as a first-time mother, included.
According to the Office for National Statistics this year: "In the UK, 5% of people aged 15 and over reported feeling lonely most or almost all of the time in the week (...)"
I'm a happily married 31 year old who had her daughter 'R' fifteen months ago. For context, I live with my husband in a lovely small town in Cheshire but sadly, our closest family live 120 miles away. My friends consist of a mix of ex and current colleagues, university friends, and a new social group of local mums who had babies around the same time I had mine. Little R is my only child and I have felt repeatedly lonely since she was born.
A few hours after my daughter was born, she was taken away from me and admitted into Special Care with suspected meningitis. Even writing this, I can't stop the tears smarting my eyes. It should have been the most joyful, love-filled memory and yet I can still picture myself sitting in a side room of the hospital, with an empty chair where my husband should have been (he was sent home), and an empty cot where my baby should have been. That was the first, but not the last, moment I felt truly lonely.
Loneliness should not be confused with being alone. You can easily be alone, or be just you and baby, and not feel one iota lonely - in the same way you can be in a room full of friends or other new mothers and feel so desperately isolated from everyone in that space that you hide in the toilet with your baby and cry (she says from experience)...

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