Updated: Apr 29, 2019
New research published by the Co-Op and the British Red Cross has found 'having a baby' to be one of the top ten causes of loneliness. Whilst not surprising to me, it still upsets me.
This video shows two mums being interviewed, and expressing the difficulties they faced and how it contributed to being lonely.
I vividly remember a time when one of my boys had chicken pox, and no one (understandably) wanted us to visit them. I was so intensely lonely, as 10 days of isolation out of the blue in the middle of winter was hard to deal with. I remember my baby struggling with reflux, refusing to breastfeed before I was ready to stop, screaming for much of the day. It was difficult, and so lonely. I couldn't ring anyone, they couldn't hear me for the crying! I wanted to see people, but I remember worrying about going to groups, pacing the room while people asked what was wrong with him. "Disturbing" the room with his volume, being concerned at people judging my actions as I tried many things to console him.
Some places were harder than others - and I soon found my 'safe' places. Places where people wouldn't judge my actions, but offer me cups of tea, some cake, and even offer to hold him despite the screaming. Places where they'd offer for us all to go for a walk if that would help him. My church where the person speaking told me mid-preach that I didn't have leave if the baby cried unless I myself wanted to, because we're a family together, and this sometimes happens. Myself and some ladies from church actually set up a mother, baby and toddler group with a few aims, but one of the major ones being to help stop the loneliness.
Finding those 'safe' places took courage, It took a lot of effort for me to try something new, unsure of how it would be. We realise that, and we're trying our best to help. At our drop in sessions, at my house for consultations, and at the group I help at, we are first and foremost 'for you'. We are looking to help make your life easier in any way we can, if you want us to. Need to breastfeed but want space, we'll find you some, need to make some formula, I'll go boil the kettle and shake that bottle under water for you until my fingers are numb. Need to bath the child in my bath due to the dreaded poonami - no problem. Child screaming in the corner - tell us what we can do to help, and if you don't know that's fine too.
Come with your 'problems', come with your worries and concerns, because what's most important to us is that you're not sat at home lonely, or lonely in a group, but that actually you can come and make friends with us. Let us help you when you need it, knowing you'll do the same back to others. We're in this together.
And as a PS - People with no interest in baby carriers are always welcome to come.