When a woman is pregnant and thinking about welcoming a little girl or boy, she might not really think that she's going to feel lonely. That's not exactly the first emotion that comes to mind because she's so happy and feels so loved and she and her partner are so excited to start a family. How can she feel alone when she's going to be hanging out with her son or daughter? This is what she's been waiting for, right?
Many (or even the majority of) moms realize that as soon as they can call themselves part of the club of parents who are raising little ones, they have some lonely moments. More than that, they have some lonely days, and for some moms, those turn into weeks and months. Not everyone talks about how lonely being a mom can be, but it's definitely time to discuss it, and when we shine a light on something, it helps us all feel so much better.
There are many reasons why we might feel lonely when we become a parent. Here are 20 real moms on the loneliest aspects of motherhood. These stories are so relatable and it's comforting to know that other moms are going through this, too.
20 The Reality
When you first have a baby, you feel lonely, and that's normal.
On Romper, a mom told her story and really articulated what so many feel. She wrote, "I felt forgotten and left out. I didn’t even have my husband to fall back on to ease the loneliness of raising our newborn. When he came home, I needed help soothing the baby and for him to be “on duty” so I could take a shower. I was often so tired from the long days of caring for our newborn that I couldn’t think clearly enough to talk to him — and even if I did have the energy."
We assume that parents will be a team and of course you are, but at the same time, you can still feel lonely after having your baby.
19 You Can't Help But Feel This Way
What about being a stay-at-home mom? Do SAHMs feel lonely?
The answer, at least according to this mother who wrote an article for Scary Mommy, is yes. She said, "I know being a stay-at-home mom is challenging. It is isolating and lonely, painfully lonely. I mean, you are never physically alone. You share every meal and every moment with your little munchkin. Every trip to the bathroom becomes a full-on family potty party, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel alone."
She brought up exactly what moms think about: yes, you're with your kid all the time, but that doesn't ease the loneliness.
18 The Changing Times
When a mom posted on Reddit, she brought up the point that motherhood today is definitely different from decades past: basically, there is more technology, and less socializing.
She said, "I'm lonely and I want child rearing to be similar to what it was years ago before technology and working long hours isolated us to our homes and communicating with each other through a screen. I want neighbours to drop in for tea, to sit out on the porch on a Summer night talking and laughing while the children of the neighbourhood play hide and seek. I don't see any kids playing on the street these days and it's upsetting."
Many of us can agree with this, and when we think about how it's tough to coordinate schedules and get families together, that can feel lonely.
17 Adult Time
If we have a great support system and have a lot of friends who are moms and know what we're going through, then we might not feel quite as lonely as moms who don't have this.
Moms need to be around other moms (and other grown-ups in general) or feelings of loneliness will start to creep in.
"When I first started joining Moms groups and play date groups, I did it mainly to see other adults and to entertain my kid," wrote a mom on Reddit "I didn't worry so much about making friends. I just needed interaction."
Who can't relate to this? We love our kids, but you really do need to talk to other people your own age (or closer to it than your adorable little ones, at least).
16 Friendship Problems
We all need friends and we often say that our friendships stop us from feeling lonely. When we're having a bad day (or a few days in a row just feel off), we want to know that we can text someone and have them tell us that we're doing a great job. We know that having other mom friends can really help us with lonely feelings... but it's not always that simple.
As this Babble article brings up, it's tough to become friends with other moms, and that can make you feel lonely. This mom wrote,
"When it comes to socializing these days, I’m beginning to notice a pattern: Not many moms seem interested in making friendships beyond one get-together."
15 What If?
Another reason that some moms feel lonely? When they start asking themselves "what if?" and think about the life that they could have had. One mom wrote on Reddit that this is the place that they found themselves in: "The worst part is I just keep on thinking about wasting my potential. I graduated top of my class in university and had big dreams to further my education. Unfortunately, due to several circumstances, I wasn't able to do that. I keep on thinking about the what ifs in my life, which does absolutely nothing for me except cause me to be disappointed in myself."
This doesn't mean that you don't love your children, of course. You do. You just feel lonely sometimes and feel wishful and restless.
14 Growing Up
Do you feel less lonely when your kids grow up and you're no longer taking care of a newborn?
Nope. Not at all. At least, not according to this mom who wrote on Cafe Mom about how lonely it can feel when your children are older. She wrote, "Maybe this loneliness I feel is because my kids are no longer fully dependent on me like they were when they were itty bitty infants. They are starting to do everything by themselves and they need me less and less."
It makes sense that you would feel lonely for different reasons at different times of your motherhood journey.
13 Middle Of The Night
You feel lonely when you're up with your baby, a point brought up by a mom on Mother.ly.
There is something about the hours beyond midnight and before morning actually comes that can make you feel pretty weird.
We've all had trouble sleeping and felt alone, and being up with our baby brings those feelings up.
As this mom wrote on Mother.ly, "Sometimes, you're awake in the dead of night with a nursing baby, your husband snoring next to you, your cat curled up and snoozing by your feet, even your wild, childless friends long passed out, and you feel like the only person in the whole world who's not asleep."
12 No Nights Out
Even before we have kids, we feel less lonely when we have dinner dates to go to and parties on our calendars. We can assume that when we start a family, we'll never feel lonely and will have a lovely, cozy family life... but we just might find that we don't have much of a social life.
That's what happened to this mom who wrote on Reddit that she's a SAHM who has moved with her family and doesn't really have a social life. She said,
"I am always home. I am always with my kids. And sometimes my husband. For the most part, this is OK. But I have NO friends. Zero. Not even acquaintances. So I never get a night out."
11 Lonely And Insecure
Have you found it easy to make friends as a grown-up? What about as a mom? Before you become a mom, you would assume that it's simple and you can bond with other women in two seconds, but chances are, you find it pretty tough to make other mom friends. As a SAHM wrote on Every Mum,
"It's so hard to put yourself out there and meet other mums. it's very easy to lose yourself too. Then, in turn, you lose confidence and it's a bit of a vicious circle!"
She articulated this issue perfectly. It seems like something that many moms can relate to because no matter how much you want mom friends, it's not like you can force it, just like you can't in any other situation.
10 Feeling Isolated
We can all benefit when a mom shares her story, and no matter how unique her family life is, there are always going to be others who can relate. A stay-at-home wrote on Baby Center that she enjoys her role but she feels lonely:
"Maybe my growing sense of isolation has something to do with the changing of the seasons. There are fewer park play dates. Plus, now that my two older kids are back in school, I am spending more hours alone."
That last part is so important for moms because we know that things change and kids get older and we assume that it'll be easier when our kids are in school. After all, we can get stuff done a bit easier. But we miss our kids, too.
9 Goodbye, Friends
We would all love for our friends to have babies at the same time as us. We imagine coffee dates and play dates and lots of comforting words. Unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone.
Sometimes you have friends who don't have kids and that can make you feel lonely and change the relationship, too. As a mom perfectly shared on Reddit, "I felt a little hurt by many of my friends. I am the only one of my friends who has a child and sometimes it sort of feels like they have written me off. I try not to take it personally. They probably just figure I'm super busy (which I am) and don't want to bother me."
8 Baby Talk (And That's It)
Before you have a baby, you don't realize that being with your baby 24/7 means not talking to other adults quite as much as you did before. It's a huge change and you love your little one so much... but that's not enough to stop how lonely you can feel.
Jance Dunn, author of the relationship-mending book How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids, was quoted in Psychology Today talking about the loneliest thing about being a mom: going hours without speaking to anyone. She told the publication, “I started feeling very lonely probably about three weeks after giving birth" and mentioned that after walking her baby in her stroller, "I'd get sort of pierced by feelings of isolation.”
7 The Teen Years
This mom finds it hard to talk to other moms who don't have kids who are also teens, and she feels judged. We probably all want to give her a hug and say that no one should judge any mom.
She wrote on Grown and Flown, "I’ve found raising my teens has been the loneliest part of parenthood. There are certain things that seem to off limits, things you desperately want to talk about and share because you need to talk to someone. Then you regret it because you feel judged way more than you were back in the day if you had the child that was being disobedient, or the child that cried at the drop of a hat, or the child that wouldn’t nap and was a bear every day at school pick up."
6 It's A Twin Thing
Being a twin mom is a unique experience and it can be especially lonely to be a mom of twins, as this mom of twins brought up on Kid Spot. She wrote, "The loneliness of being a twin mum has caught me by surprise. I’m surrounded by the people I love the most, yet I’m lonely.
There can be days on end when the only adult I speak to is my husband. In seven years of parenting I’ve never felt this isolated.
Perhaps that isolation comes from life with two babies. There are things that are manageable with one baby but a struggle with two."
That last part is exactly it: every twin mom would agree that having two babies who are the same age and taking care of them at the same time is a lot.
5 Single Mom Story
Just like the experience of being a mother of twins is unique, it's also uniquely lonely to be a single mom. You feel much more isolated.
On the forum Beyond Blue, a 36-year-old single mom with four children shared her story. She wrote, "Friends" started to fade away from my life several years ago, just the usual with people moving and people growing and changing and taking different life paths etc... I have tried playgroups etc and found them to be like high school, with how mums have their groups and can be very [clicky] etc unfortunately."
She brings up two equally lonely things: not having a partner to share the parenting journey with, and having trouble making mom friends, which is something that many moms struggle with.
4 This One Part Of Motherhood, Too
Breastfeeding can make a mom feel lonely, which might not be something that you would have expected. Maybe you have felt this way, too, or you know some moms who have.
A mom shared on Babyation.com that this has been her experience. She talked about going to a "mommy and me yoga class" where the moms all breastfeed at different points of the class. She wrote, "My baby lay on my mat in front of me, and as I did my Chaturangas I became unexpectedly emotional. Breastfeeding can be quite lonely and challenging. And for the first time in seven months, I felt a sense of community as a breastfeeding mama."
That sounds like an awesome yoga class, doesn't it?!
3 Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
This mom lives far away from family so there's no support and that makes her feel lonely. She talked about her experience on Mom.me and articulated something that might seem like a small thing but is actually a huge thing: "I know what it's like to wish you could just call someone over to your house to watch the baby while you take a shower, but have no one. I know what it's like to be the first in your friend group to have a baby and have no one understand what you're going through. I know you feel isolated."
We might take for granted that we have family nearby who can help us out, even if we just text them with five minutes' notice, so it's good to hear these types of stories, too.
2 Setting Rules
Her View From Home points out that there is another way to feel lonely as a mother and it's something that we might not think of at first: when you "say no".
As this post says, "It’s lonely when you are the mom saying no in a world that always seem to say yes. It’s not only about social media. It might be about curfews or sleepovers or Fortnite. And being the only mom to say no—regardless of how right you are—can come with consequences for your tween and teen."
This is so true and also proves that when you stand up for yourself and your family, you might feel a bit lonely. But it's also the best thing that you can do.
1 Long Days
Being a stay-at-home mom and not having a routine can make the day seem very long and can make a mom feel lonely. As this mom wrote on Quora, there are ways to make it less lonely, and that includes creating a routine.
She wrote, "Create structure. If you have older kids, school drop-offs and pick ups are a natural structure, you just need to fill in the gaps. If not, you can plan for a morning activity, lunch, nap, and an afternoon activity leading up to the evening meal prep/eating/bedtime." She added,
"My rule was to get out of the house every day for at least 2 hours, even if there was nowhere to go."