9 loneliest motherhood moments in the first year

Becoming a mother is a blissful experience, but you'll also experience feelings of isolation, especially when you’re a first-time mum…

Welcoming a baby into the world is one of the most intense and joyous times of a mother’s life. But for many women, especially first-time mums, it will also be the loneliest.

In the blink of an eye, your life changes completely the moment baby arrives. At the same time, you’re cut off from family, friends, work colleagues and your usual routine. So, it’s understandable that women who enter motherhood with rose-tinted glasses struggle with the reality of life as a parent. Very often, it’s the direct opposite of what they had imagined it to be.

“The life you once knew suddenly comes to an abrupt halt. And in its place is this cute, crying, fussy baby who takes up all of your time and energy,” notes Joyce Selvathurai, 36, a mum of one.  “You will eventually get used to your new lifestyle ― and in my case, end up loving it ― but the road to realising it can be a very lonely one.”

Here are nine scenarios you will very likely encounter in your first year as a mum. You will probably not see them coming, so it’s going to be a surprising and lonely experience. But chin up, mamas, because this, too, shall pass!   

Loneliest moment #1 When it’s just you and bubba during those never-ending night feeds 

Night-time feeds are very calm and enjoyable as everything is quiet and there aren’t any distractions. After all, it’s just you and your little one, snuggling together as you breast- or bottle-feed. And indeed, most night feeds are so soothing that both you and bub can easily fall asleep again right after a feed and a cuddle. Other times, not so much. “I remember those all-night feeding marathons. Everyone else in the house would be asleep,” says mum Theresa Tan. “Sometimes, after my baby fell asleep, I would stay up looking out of the window at random people walking by, wishing I had someone to talk to while waiting for baby to wake up again. It was incredibly lonely.”

Loneliest moment #2 When the husband returns to work

Once you bring baby home, you can expect a plethora of visitors and well-wishers to stop by for visits. You will also be surrounded by family, friends and, of course, your husband, who is at your beck and call. Those days will be exciting and festive as you celebrate bub’s arrival with company. However, too soon, the visitors stop coming, your family and friends return to their usual routines and your husband goes back to work after his paternity leave! “That was when reality really sank in for me,” recalls mum-of-two Vanitha Devi. “The first day I was all alone with my baby, I had my hands full caring for him, but I couldn’t help but feel a little sad, because I had nobody else to connect with or share my day with.”

The first day I was all alone with my baby, I had my hands full caring for him, but I couldn’t help but feel a little sad, because I had nobody else connect with or share my day with.”

Loneliest moment #3 When you’re breastfeeding alone in a room while everyone else is outside socialising  

Imagine this scenario. You’ve been cooped up at home with baby for a few weeks since giving birth. So far, your only interaction with the outside world has been at the paediatric clinic for baby’s checkups, or the nearby grocery store when you’re buying diapers. Then, you receive fabulous news. Your friends are planning to drop by to visit you and baby! All week, you look forward  excitedly to their visit – finally, some adult conversation with your favourite people! Two minutes after your friends arrive, bub starts fussing and you know it’s time to breastfeed. Since you’re still learning the ropes of breastfeeding, you excuse yourself to feed baby in another a room. But you end up staying there for an hour, because it’s seems like junior’s gunning for a cluster feed. Vanitha can relate to this all too well. “It’s been three years but I can still remember the intense loneliness I felt when I heard my friends in my living room, laughing and talking with my husband while I was alone in the room breastfeeding,” Vanitha adds. “By the time I finished, my visitors were ready to leave as well. It was very disappointing.”

Loneliest moment #4 When the husband has to travel

If you think staying home alone with baby for an entire day is isolating, wait till you have to do it for a few consecutive weeks because the husband has to travel for work. “The first time my husband had to go on a work trip, it was disastrous,” says mum Lucy Chan. “I was too afraid to venture out on my own with baby, so we stayed home the entire week. By the time he got back, I was suffering from major cabin fever!”.