A Letter to the Lonely Mom – Loneliness In Motherhood

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Is it normal to feel lonely as a mom? Do you feel lonely, isolated, rejected, and less than others?

Mom, I’m writing this to you, not because I have some secret formula that I have figured out to combat lonely weariness, but to share that, I too, understand the feeling of being a lonely mom.

You are not alone and there is hope.

Is it normal to feel lonely? Unfortunately, if we are answering that question based on the general population, then yes, many mothers are lonely. It shouldn’t be normal but solely based on the frequency, it’s an all too frequent occurrence.

A survey of 2,000 mothers indicated that 90% of them felt lonely!

The transition to motherhood is a significant life change, and for many new mothers, the initial excitement may be overshadowed by feelings of isolation. The British Red Cross reports that loneliness among new mothers is a prevalent issue, with loneliness scale scores indicating the severity of the problem.

The British Red Cross discovered that 8 out of 10 mothers who we under the age of 30 reported feelings of loneliness some of the time. More shockingly the study found that 43% of mothers said they feel lonely all of the time. 54% said they felt like they had no friends. To say that these numbers are heartbreaking is an understatement.

Becoming a mother is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but for many new moms, the journey can be accompanied by unexpected challenges. In the age of social media, where connections are just a click away, it’s ironic that new mothers often find themselves grappling with feelings of loneliness.

It’s obvious mothers feel lonely, so what’s to be done with it?

Lonely Mom

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For a Christian lonely mom, the journey of new motherhood is often intertwined with the quest for meaningful social connections within the context of faith. In the midst of feelings of loneliness, finding a community of like-minded new moms becomes paramount. However, the paradox arises when the digital age, with its pervasive influence, offers both a lifeline and a potential pitfall. The digital world can sometimes amplify feelings of loneliness, as the curated images of seemingly perfect social lives can lead to comparisons and a sense of inadequacy. Navigating this landscape as a Christian mom adds another layer, as the search for authentic connections rooted in shared faith becomes a priority.

In the realm of faith, the local church community serves as a beacon of hope for the Christian lonely mom. Within these walls, she seeks solace and understanding, often finding a best friend or close friends who share similar values. The struggles of new parents, the challenges of mental health, and the rollercoaster of postpartum emotions are openly discussed, fostering an environment of support and understanding.

The church community becomes an extension of the familial support system, offering a sense of belonging that goes beyond the temporal nature of parental leave or play dates. The spiritual bond shared with other Christian mothers not only addresses the practical aspects of childcare but also provides a source of strength and encouragement, contributing significantly to the well-being of both the mom and her child.

What is Loneliness?

Most likely we knew that bringing a child into this world, would alter and change our lives in ways we didn’t anticipate, but did we truly understand the depth of the loneliness that was ahead?

There is a difference between feeling alone and being alone. Loneliness is the feeling of being isolated or having negative feelings toward the amount of social interaction you are receiving. It’s not impossible to be surrounded by people and still feel the pangs of loneliness. In fact, being lonely as a mother may seem a little counterintuitive. After all, once you birth that child, at least for the foreseeable future, you don’t have many opportunities to be alone!

Your children want you and need you, but at the same time, you feel isolated and alone.

Loneliness is something that can affect any stage of motherhood, but it is very common in the early years of having children. As children become older loneliness can take other shapes. Children become more independent and their need for us lessens. As their independence grows and they need us less, we often feel a paradox of emotions. Our children are supposed to grow up and become independent, but the absence of their presence or need for us leaves us with feelings of grief.

Likewise, many moms with young children crave alone time, but once they get alone time, they miss their children.

Many mothers feel like their emotions are at war with each other!

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18 ESV

Social Media and Loneliness

In today’s digital age, social media platforms play a significant role in shaping our social interactions. Ironically, while it provides an avenue for connection, it can also contribute to the loneliness of new mothers. Scrolling through curated images of seemingly perfect lives can intensify feelings of inadequacy and isolation. New moms and seasoned moms alike need to recognize that the reality behind social media often differs from their own experiences.

The pressure to be a “good mother” can be overwhelming, especially for first-time mothers. Society’s expectations, coupled with the portrayal of flawless parenting on social networks, can create a sense of inadequacy. It’s crucial for new moms to acknowledge that negative feelings are normal and seek social support to navigate the challenges of motherhood.

The Lonely Mom

Why do moms feel lonely?

Becoming a mother for the first time is an indescribable moment, filled with wonder and awe. Yet, as the initial excitement subsides, a paradox emerges – the realization that, despite being surrounded by a new life, a sense of loneliness can pervade. This paradox is not uncommon and is intricately woven into the fabric of modern motherhood.

Maternity leave, often seen as a period of bonding with the newborn, can paradoxically lead to a sense of isolation. The demands of round-the-clock care, sleepless nights, and the relentless focus on the needs of the infant create a vacuum where personal interactions outside the family unit become scarce. The isolation becomes palpable as days blend into nights, and the routine becomes a solitary journey.

Bringing babies into this world changes our lives in countless ways.

  • Our body doesn’t feel the same…like ever!
  • Our interactions are limited, especially for the stay-at-home mom.
  • Our careers may have changed, or we now work from home.
  • Our priorities have changed…forever!
  • Our relationship with our spouse may look different.
  • Our friendships are forever altered.
  • Our expectations of ourselves are truly unrealistic.
  • And if we are being truthful, many of us struggle with mom guilt as our motherhood journey continues.

The list probably could go on and on. As different seasons of motherhood come and go, the list will look different for everyone.

As a stay-at-home mom, the struggle with loneliness takes on a unique dimension. The daily routine of caring for a child, while rewarding, can be isolating. The lack of adult interactions, intellectual stimulation, and the sense of contribution to the external world intensify the feelings of loneliness. It’s a delicate balance between being present for the child and yearning for personal connections outside the confines of the home.

A recent study found that loneliness is more deadly than obesity and it is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

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Being a lonely mom can be a unique challenge, especially when you’re the “kind of mom” who values quality time with your family above all else. When you welcomed your first child into the world, it was a life-altering experience filled with joy and responsibility. However, it also introduced the double-edged sword of solitude.

While you cherish the moments spent with your little one, the demands of motherhood often lead to a significant reduction in free time. The hours once spent within a bustling social circle have now transformed into quiet moments of solitude, as nurturing your child becomes the priority. This shift, while fulfilling, can leave you longing for adult conversations and connections outside the realm of diapers and bedtime stories.

As a mom committed to being the most important person in your child’s life, you find yourself grappling with the isolation that accompanies this noble pursuit. Your flexible work arrangement, although a blessing, sometimes exacerbates the loneliness, as colleagues and friends become distant memories in the wake of endless baby bottles and playdates.

The concept of “me time” feels like a distant luxury, and the challenge lies in striking a balance between being the nurturing, ever-present mother and maintaining a sense of identity beyond the role of a caregiver. Despite the loneliness that creeps in, your dedication to creating a loving and secure environment for your family remains unwavering, illustrating the sacrifices and rewards that come with being this kind of mom.

4 Tips for Addressing Loneliness in Motherhood

How can we combat loneliness in motherhood? As I’ve added more and more children to my posse, started working more, and pursued homeschooling I’ve concluded that this season of life is just that, a season. This season may be more lonely and sometimes that’s okay. It shouldn’t drag us down though, so here are five small tips to think about if you are combating loneliness.

  1. Let go of unrealistic expectations.

I cannot state this enough. Your expectations of motherhood most likely are unrealistic. How do I know this? Because none of us can foresee the future, so whatever God has in store for your motherhood journey is going to be unique and beautiful to you and no one else.

Can I be honest, my expectation of motherhood, the motherhood I long for, is to be a stay-at-home mom. To bake sourdough bread every week, homeschool my kids, paint a white picket fence, have a ridiculous amount of animals to tend to, and grow big gardens. Kind of sounds domestic, doesn’t it? My 20-year-old self would be shocked. Do you know what my reality is? My reality is that of a working mom. I work in the mornings, I have an office, and I drop my kids off at their grandparent’s house so I can drive to work. I long for the day that I can stay with my children, but God may never hand that to me.

God’s plan is always better than mine. God’s plan is always better than yours.

Your expectations of motherhood most likely look different than my own, but they are no less valuable. I had a friend once say to me “My difficult circumstances do not invalidate your difficult circumstances.” I have honestly clung to those words more times than I can count. We all have different stories, and different expectations, and God’s plan for our lives is all different. Motherhood is messy and chaotic, but it is also beautiful. Even when your expectations are not met in what your dream of motherhood was, remember what a gift you have been given.

2. Embrace the changes.

 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV

Some of you may have rolled your eyes when you saw that verse. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tends to be a bit overused to emphasize seasons of life. Yet, I continue to find it helpful. Your season of life will go through changes. Your motherhood journey will look very different on day 1 than on day 10,000. The key is to know your season and have the self-control to embrace it.

3. Don’t underestimate the value of professional help.

There is a time to seek professional help. It is normal to feel lonely from time to time, but if loneliness is just a symptom of a greater issue like depression, postpartum depression, or a trigger from trauma, I implore you to find professional help. If you even suspect that you need mental help, it’s time to get it.

4. Debunk the Myth of the Perfect Mom

The societal expectation to be a “good mother” can add an extra layer of stress for moms. It does not matter if you are a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or somewhere in between. Often we find ‘ideal’ image to look up to and assume that everything would be ‘alright’ if somehow we could obtain that perfect mom life. The pursuit of an idealized image may lead to self-doubt and a sense of isolation. Especially with that first baby, we are in the trenches of trying to figure out our new identity.

You are a good mom. Read that again. You are a good mom. God has equipped you with every good thing you need to parent the precious life he has given you. You don’t need to ‘try’ any harder than you already are. God has already claimed you are good enough! You are not a bad mother just because of your loneliness or feelings of depression.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 ESV

5. Turn to Jesus who understands and can relate to all our feelings.

One of the best things I ever did for my motherhood is read the book “Real Moms, Real Jesus” by Jill Savage. I had never before contemplated that Jesus truly understands and can relate to every emotion that we experience as moms.

“Have you ever felt alone? Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that “nobody’s ever felt this way before.” Have you longed for a friend who understands? As we’ll discover together, Jesus was fully God, yet fully man. It is His human experiences we’ll focus on over these pages to discover new perspectives about this Friend who really understands us.”

Jill Savage, “Real Moms…Real Jesus”

Jesus understands the interruptions of motherhood. Jesus understands the interruptions of motherhood. Jesus understands the stress of motherhood. Jesus understands those kids pulling on your clothes over and over again for your attention. Afterall, he experienced it here on earth and he lived a perfect sinless life. He can understand all our frustration and feelings of motherhood. Turn to him and trust in him for your beautiful motherhood.

Books for Christian Moms Real Moms Real Jesus

What is the Solution to Loneliness?

Are you a lonely mom? Are you lonely new parents? The loneliness of motherhood is something that won’t just ‘go away’. Are you a lonely mom? There are so many different layers to this topic and we haven’t even scratched the surface. What about the added complication of being an extrovert or introvert? I’m a pretty extreme introvert and I tend to love some elements of isolation, but an extrovert…it’s very different.

Maybe you have read this far and are wondering what the solution to loneliness is. Being a lonely mom is not easy and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, I do have a challenge for you today. Make one small step forward. Your children are watching you. Chances are they know that you are lonely. Maybe they are lonely too. Be an example to them, and take a step forward to find community.

Take one small step forward to combat being a lonely mom. Make a phone call to a trusted friend and tell her how lonely you feel. Make a coffee date with a close family member. Schedule some playdates with some mom friends. Maybe even go so far as to look up local churches that you can be a part of if you are not in one already. Perhaps look into your local ECFE program if you have one. Find those social connections that make sense for you. Maybe it’s as simple as a video chat with a trusted college roommate or an old best friend! Don’t overthink it!

It’s worth the effort to find a connection in your community. And mama, you are not alone, chances are many other mamas are feeling the same thing you are. Press into Jesus, remember above all else that he is the ultimate friend that can relate to every feeling you are experiencing in motherhood.

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