One of my coaching clients recently admitted to me that they believed having a baby as a solo mum would alleviate their loneliness. (they also agreed I could write about it) Their rational was that they would have someone who loved them unconditionally that would always be there with them and would never leave them, well at least not until they had grown into an adult.
I fundamentally disagree with this idea. A mini human will not replace a partner, or other adult company. Don’t get me wrong, they will bring you bundles of joy, happiness and fulfilment, amongst other things, but you might still get feelings of loneliness, even with a baby to bring up.
I’ve shared from my personal experiences the reasons you might still feel lonely at times when you are a solo mum:
Sharing positive experiences
When things are going great, it’s nice to have someone to share it with. I recently went on a trip to Budapest with my daughter and had an amazing time. As I was walking down the street, the sun was shining, my daughter, Daisy was chuckling away to herself, life seemed pretty darned fabulous and I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to share this moment with. Usually at this point, I take a snap and send it to my family Whatsapp group!
Support at the end of the day
The days usually start off really well (apart from the odd random 5am wake ups) to find a giggling, smiley, happy baby in the cot beside me. We have a bit of a play, then get up, I have breakfast and try to have a shower and get dressed whilst entertaining baby, then there is some more playtime, naps, where I utilise the time to sort the house out, and usually we do one parent and baby class per day or meet up with friends for lunch or a walk.
It’s about 4pm when I often start to flag. Some refer to it as the ‘witching hour’ when baby can start to get a bit grizzly. You can start to feel tired after a full day and there are still 3 hours before bedtime. This is where it would be great to have a partner coming home who might get dinner on, or take over baby duties, maybe do a bit of housework, or if none of those things, is at least someone to chat to.
I’ve started to do an early evening walk at this time with baby in the sling, to try to better utilise the time and stop it feeling like a waiting game until the bedtime routine starts.
Company in the evening
Most babies bedtime is some time in the early evening, say 7pm, or 8pm. Once baby is asleep, you can’t leave the house (unless you have a baby sitter) so it can be hard to find adult company for this time and you might find yourself alone many evenings.
To be honest, I try to reverse things and do all my socialising in the day, so that by evening, I am happy to have a few quiet hours to myself. When I do want company, I invite people round to the house to have a catch up whilst baby is sleeping.
For me, reassurance is the thing I find hardest of all. When things are stressful or something seems wrong, there is no-one there to chat it through with and to reassure or comfort each other.
Is that temperature too high, why won’t baby stop crying, is she getting enough milk, do we need to go to the doctors with those symptoms, is this normal? Some of the many questions most new mums ask themselves at some point. It would be really lovely to have a partner to discuss these things with and make joint decisions on, but as a solo mum all the responsibility and decision making falls to you. This can definitely bring with it feelings of loneliness.
I use my other mum friends to discuss these things with and get reassurance from, or as always, I often turn to my mum, Granny Bev.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not trying to put people off from taking this route of solo motherhood, I just want to highlight some of the realities associated with it. The vast majority of the time I don’t feel lonely, but this is not because I have a baby to keep me company, this is because I put other mechanisms in place to prevent it.
It is also very possible to feel lonely even when you have a partner and I would say that is an even worse feeling. Feeling lonely when you’re with others is not nice at all.
If you are considering having a baby to stop feelings of loneliness, I would very much advise you to think it through in more detail, as you may well find this is not achieved. For any support on the decision or your journey to become a solo mum, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org