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Monday, June 17, 2013

Postpartum - Lonely Motherhood

In February, I linked to this article on BlogHer but I want to share actual pieces of it today (because I know not everyone clicks over to links when scanning through blogs). Written by Alexandra Rosas, it's a beautiful description of her experience going from working full-time outside the home to being a stay-at-home-mom.

It discusses a lot of what I felt as I went through that transition myself. It isn't easy to switch gears and suddenly have this tiny little boss who doesn't know how to communicate, but who still expects you to meet their demands.

The ironic thing, for me, was not only feeling devastating isolation but anxiety about getting out of the house and appearing like the perfect mom while doing so. I was afraid to have a newborn/infant in public and have her scream bloody murder, even though sometimes that's just what babies do.

Rosas recalls the following:

"Now, I can see how alarmingly unprepared I was for the overwhelming floodwaters of change that came when I went from working outside of the home to just staying home.

I was lonely, and it hurt.

Lonely in the most devastating description of the void and desolate hole I felt I was living in. 4:15 in the afternoon would find me staring out my front window, my quiet baby in my arms, anxiously scanning the road for my husband's car. I was only able to begin breathing again at the sound of his key in the lock. To this day, the turn of the lock and then the push of the door remains one of my favorite sounds."

To climb out of the hole she'd tumbled into, Rosas made every effort to have something scheduled for each weekday. 100% attendance didn't matter as much as simply having something on the calendar. She states:

"I can't say that I felt that I belonged in every group that I tried, because I didn't. Many of the women at the groups I walked into already had friendships in place, and I often felt like a fifth wheel. Were there sparks of potential friendship at some of these meetings? Sometimes. I longed for a smile from someone who knew me, but what had to come first was learning to find my place in this new world that was now my life. When I was lucky, a bright face eagerly awaited me at one of these groups, but more often not, there wasn't."

Simply going to activities isn't an answer to the problem, but it's a step in the right direction. For me, I gained confidence in myself again and learned that I could handle many difficult situations involving motherhood, even in public. Yes, there were days it was so hard to imagine getting out of the house on time, but it eventually became easier. I especially grew to love teaching yoga and pilates more. It got me out of the house and I had a real purpose for doing so. It healed me in so many ways to exercise and to be useful to other adults.

Rosas wraps up her thoughts on her first year so eloquently:

"Through that almost unbearably lonely year, I grew to realize that life should be lived fully, not merely survived. Just existing did right by no one. Friendships, even surface ones in the form of acquaintances, can tide us over during the changes in life, the transitions to a new being, that leave us stripped of who we used to know."

I like to think that these days I am fully living my life, and offering one to Aspen as well. We still strive to plan an outing for every day and to have meaningful connections with others in our community. I feel like I've gained a lot of support as a parent, and am especially grateful for our new neighborhood that is overflowing with kind neighbors and play mates. If Kev and I are going to have another child, I can't think of a better place to find support, especially now that I know (potentially) what to expect.

3 comments:

  1. This is great. I still love hearing the key in the door. It's one of my happy moments and I think that I will always love it. I think you're a great mom. Not every mom takes their kid out and from your pictures of Aspen, she seems pretty happy.

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  2. loved this post! even though i work from home and feel like i hardly have time to cook and clean (read: busy), i still feel lonely and a bit absent in life itself. thanks for the reminder and tips!

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  3. I felt similar feelings when I became a sahm, especially since I moved to a new town. I'm still working on making new friends and trying to find people with similar interests, and I think it's just something to keep working on. I'm so glad you live in such a great neighborhood now! I need to push myself to become more involved in ours.

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