Starting a family is an exciting, nerve-wracking, enriching time, full of ups, and yes, downs, too. It’s difficult to describe how much your life will change the minute your baby is born. You will probably experience exhilaration, exhaustion, tears of joy, tears of frustration, awe, anxiety, incredulity, worry and almost every other emotion you can imagine.
Sometimes it’s hard to find a second for yourself. The pace of life never lets up. Even in the middle of the night. You are never alone, life is a whirlwind.
With all the commotion and activity, it doesn’t seem possible to also feel alone, but it is often the case with new parents. The spontaneity in your life is gone (honestly, for quite a while). The struggle to get out of the house can sometimes be overwhelming. Staying in seems so much easier. However, that can lead to isolation and loneliness.
You may wonder where your social life has disappeared to. Your friends without children seem to be doing activities you enjoy but can’t work into your life now: camping, hiking, weekends away, late nights out, etc. Even going to a movie is fraught with obstacles.
Don’t despair. The search for happiness is ubiquitous. Everyone looks for it. And you will find it.
Here are a few suggestions to combat isolation:
- Invite your friends over for dinner and to watch a film. If cooking for company
seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Order takeout. Your friends didn’t come because of the food, they came because want to spend time with you.
- Make sure you have some evenings exclusively with friends who also have young children. You really will want to talk about parenthood, and you will want to do that with others who also find it a fascinating topic.
- Find a sitter you love and arrange a consistent weekly or bi-weekly date night. And don’t cancel even if you’re tired. Maybe you just go to a bookstore and sit in the café and read. Or go to someone else’s house and eat takeout and watch a film (and possibly fall asleep).
- Plan regular exercise. Besides keeping you fit, exercise improves your mood and lessens anxiety. If you can go for a walk with baby and a friend, all the better.
- Start (or join) a play group in the neighborhood. It’s great for your baby to socialize with other babies, and it’s a great way for you to get closer to neighbors in a similar stage of life.
- Find a family yoga class.
There are plenty more ideas in the same vein but you get the idea. Get out there and have fun!