You don’t know about loneliness until you have a tiny human attached to you 24/7. Sounds a bit counter intuitive doesn’t it?
I am a mother to a 20 month old toddler with another tiny human on the way. I work full time and struggle with day to day life just as much as the next mom. Balance sometimes seems like an unattainable illusion.
When I was pregnant with my first, my partner and I enrolled in our local government run prenatal classes because, let’s be real, we needed all the help and advice we could get. While I frantically wrote out every word the nurse instructor said I looked around and saw all the other moms doing the same. Can we all be this clueless?, I asked myself. The answer is YES! We are all so innocent and ignorantly unaware of what’s to come before we become parents. We didn’t know that with incredible love sometimes comes incredible loneliness. With the adrenaline high would come a crash so hard it could rock us to our core. Motherhood for me has been by far the hardest most challenging time of my life, BUT it has also been more rewarding and fulfilling than I ever would have known.
Anyways, while I looked around this room in a hockey arena basement and saw all these other parents in the same anxious/excited phase as me and I wondered. Where have all these people been during the first ⅔ of my pregnancy? Being newish to Hamilton and not having any family here, I didn’t know one other pregnant woman and I was already starting to feel isolated. Having an outgoing personality is a blessing and in this situation I have no doubt that it changed the course of my life. I spoke up and started chatting with the other moms to be and starting building connections. I found a group of women who were going through the same pre baby struggles. How to manage an extended family? What on earth do I put on my baby shower registry? Should I even have a baby shower? What about the birth? What about after?? OMG!
After exchanging numbers and starting a group text chat the number of women in it just kept increasing. There is such a strong pull to the community and a real need to talk to women going through the same thing as you are. After the birth of my beautiful son, I spent the majority of my maternity leave struggling with PPA and PPD, however I didn’t know it. I was stuck in my house under an infant for so long, afraid to move for fear of waking my colicy baby. I was so deep in my own thoughts that I wasn’t able to see my mood shift. I had a text group yes, but I was still so alone in the house. I KNOW there are other women in Hamilton right now experiencing the exact same thing. And to those I say, reach out. Talk to other moms about how you are feeling. Ask them how they manage to go to the park and have a conversation with other parents at 1-2 months postpartum, because I sure as hell couldn’t. Ask. Ask. Ask.
Nearing the end of my maternity leave I came out of the fog that was weighing me down and was able to see the state I was in. I knew that what I had been feeling was ok, but not something I should have gone through alone. If I had been able to recognize it earlier it is very possible I would have been able to manage my low mood.
A few of us knew we needed something more from our local community, so The Sinking Mothership was created. We now have a thriving local community, especially on our Facebook Group (of the same name) where new and experienced moms come together to share their experiences and offer advice in an open and supportive way. I wish I could turn back the clock and reach out to my peers and ask, is it normal to be feeling this way? How do you go grocery shopping with an infant without being crippled by fear? I know if I asked that question on our group today many amazing local mothers would offer me their real life support and suggest local services that may help me. The majority of the members of our group and mothers with children under the age of 5, but there are a number of active members who have older teens and even adult children. We also have an active ND in our group who is always available to help out, support local Mama’s and posts regularly offering free advice.
So, if you are a new Mama and you need a local Hamilton group of strong, fierce, supportive mom friends, join us.
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