New to Bounty?
Nobody told you there'd be days like this. You're recovering well after the birth and having a baby is a dream come true. You should have nothing to be unhappy about … so why do you feel so alone and isolated? Our rescue plan will help you break out of the isolation trap.
"Everyone thinks you're living this idyllic life and you're rushed off your feet, but it's not always true. I'd say that 80 percent of the mums I see admit to being lonely," says Brisbane midwife Bridie Johnson.
It's difficult to admit that, although you adore your baby, you miss your old life. The good news is that it's common, that it doesn't mean you're a bad mum, and that there are lots of ways to help ease your way through your loneliness.
Enlist fellow recruits
Part of the loneliness of becoming a mum is feeling alienated from your pre-baby friends who don't have kids – they're still at work, going for a drink after hours, while you're stuck at home changing nappies, feeling like you need a drink after hours!
You need a new set of friends (don't worry, you can keep the old ones too) who understand motherhood. Join a mum's group, try a local playgroup, or even put up a sign advertising for local mums to get together at a cafe. You'd be surprised at how many other isolated women will come out of the woodwork.
Too isolated or shy to catch up with local mums? Try joining an internet forum, or connecting with friends with kids on Facebook. Women from all over Australia chat every day about everything, from baby-related topics to what was on TV last night, bridging the gap between you and the "real world". Forums can also introduce you to mums in your area who'd like to meet up, too.
When your partner leaves for work do you despair about filling the hours ahead? Giving your day a structure will make you feel in control, which is great for your sanity. For now, all your baby wants is your round-the-clock attention so your daily routine should revolve around his needs. Make sure you eat, rest and get out at least once a day to meet another adult.
Out and about
"Being in the house with a crying baby can make any loneliness worse," Bridie says. So even if you don't feel like mixing, you should at least try to get out for a walk or have friends over the key to making yourself feel better is not to isolate yourself.
Stay in the loop
Your colleagues will love to see you and your new baby, so arrange a visit or two. Check that your buddies are free for lunch and pre-book somewhere quiet where you can have a catch-up. And email them to keep up with the gossip!
Just the three of us
Don't forget that before your baby came along, it was just you and your partner. Now your relationship has fast-forwarded to a different level – one where you probably don't get much time to stop for a cuddle or a few loving words. So arrange to meet your partner at lunchtime, or book a special night out. And have fun with your baby together.
Plan your escape
Arrange to hand your baby over to your mum, partner or a friend for an hour or two while you use that time to "escape". Go to the cinema, book yourself into a class, go on a shopping spree, or see a friend for coffee. Having time out to do something unrelated to your baby can make you feel human again.
Struggling to cope?
If your loneliness is coupled with struggling to cope with your new life and you're lacking energy, not eating properly, or finding it hard to bond with your baby, you could be suffering with postnatal depression. It's vital to speak to your GP or midwife, who can offer counselling or medication. Postnatal depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and with the right help you will conquer it.