Having your first child is an emotionally overwhelming experience. After the birth, family and friends surround you, welcoming your new addition and offering gifts and support. Maybe your husband is lucky enough to work for a company that offers paternity leave or your mom comes to help for a week or two. But as time goes by and the visitors, gifts, and congratulatory phone calls fade, you might find yourself feeling alone, despite the bundle of joy in your arms.
Leaving the house with a newborn can feel like an impossible task. The hours between your spouse leaving for and returning from work can seem endless. And suddenly you can't remember the last time you put on makeup or wore anything but pajama pants, and — even worse — you can't imagine a scenario in which you'd be inspired to do either. You are officially in baby isolation, and it can be a lonely place. If you are looking for a way to reconnect with the world, here's how to start.
- Talk about your feelings. There's no reason to feel guilty or bad about feeling less than overjoyed to be home alone with a baby all day, and sometimes just speaking up about your feelings to a spouse, parent, or friend can be beneficial. Once others know you're struggling, they're more likely to make an effort to help by visiting, calling, and giving you baby breaks more often.
- Make an effort to get out, even when it feels hard. Leaving the house with an infant often feels like it's just not worth the effort, but it totally is. Some excursions will be more successful than others, but getting some fresh air, grabbing a coffee, or just picking up a few things from the grocery store with your child will not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but it will also remind you that the world is still there for your enjoyment.
- Find a moms' group. Find a moms' group online through Meetup or look through your local hospital, church, library, or park district. These groups allow you to connect with other moms in similar situations to socialize and offer one another support. Just having something on your weekly calendar can be an instant mood-lifter, and who knows? Maybe you'll meet some new mom friends.
- Register for a local baby class. Baby swim, music, and movement classes will get you out of the house and present you with an opportunity to meet moms with similarly aged little ones. Win, win.
- Join a gym. Finding a gym with a great childcare program can be a lifesaver. Not only will you get a break from your little one and have time to take care of yourself, but attending classes regularly is also a great way to meet other moms in your area. Hello, play date potential!
- Schedule a night out with your spouse and/or friends. Put on a real pair of pants and some makeup, no matter how exhausted you are. Drink a glass of wine. Laugh and gossip. You won't regret it.