Local GP and Mum Dr Stephanie Ooi talks about struggles with loneliness as a new mum and how we can combat it.
Life as a new mum can be extremely rewarding and at times feel very lonely. If it’s just you and the little during the day, it is very easy to find yourself longing to speak to another human. While taking time for ourselves is often not our top of our priority, taking time out to socialise does have a number of health benefits including helping to lift your mood.
Personally, I have found spending time with other new mums, whom you can share your experiences with and get advice or support always helps.
Becoming a new parent is life-changing. There is so much to take in and learn, its definitely one of the hardest jobs out there! Maternal mental health is so important; 1 in 5 women will have a mental health disorder during pregnancy or during the postnatal period.
With the never ending list of questions you think about, coping with sleep deprivation, social isolation and the small task of caring for a tiny vulnerable human, it’s easy to see how this can happen to anyone. Talking and meeting up with others who were going through the same thing made a huge difference for me. I met some lovely people through my antenatal course and we would text each other at any time of the day talking about anything from breastfeeding, bottle feeding, dirty nappies, sleeping. Sharing our experiences and worries with each other was so helpful.
I also joined some local parent and baby classes which gave some structure to the day and also gave me the opportunity to just get out of the house and meet other people. Another great way of meeting local parents is using apps such as Mush or Peanut that puts you in touch with other like-minded Mums and Dads.
A number of studies have shown that mums without a strong support group often have higher levels of stress. These mums also tend to be more pessimistic about parenthood and feel more worn down. While mums who have a strong support group were found to be less stressed, feel more optimistic and less worn down.
If you are struggling then I encourage you to speak to someone – a close friend or even your GP. If you haven’t heard from a new parent in a while, maybe check in on them and see how they are doing.
Local Mum Silvia from Cupcake Family Club also found adjusting to life as a new mum difficult. Silivia says “Being a mum in my forties has been a big a challenge for me. I was so happy to have the baby I have been looking for so long in my arms, but at the same time I wasn’t prepared for the effects of sleep deprivation. Meeting new mums at Cupcake Family Club has helped me a lot, I have found new friends and stopped feeling isolated. I could ask all kind of silly questions and share my emotions without being judged and anytime I needed help there were always someone there for me.”
They say it takes a village to raise a child and it really does. I have been fortunate to have a strong support network and met some friends for life through local groups as well. We have teamed up with Cupcake Family Club to bring you Mummy Meet Ups with a difference. Our teams will provide free support and advice from GPs and specialists in an informal setting. Cupcake Family Club also offer mum and baby fitness classes to help new mums get active and social.
Join us for our next Mummy Meet up – Friday 19st July at 10 am @ Market Halls Fulham
Refreshments are free and open to all new mums, so come along and join us. Spaces are limited so let us know you’ll be attending in advance.