Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On Feeling Lonely

Me and my little man, the one who pulled me through.

Pushing the bright green stroller that my mother had just given me, my 3-week-old son asleep inside, I circled lap after lap of the closest indoor shopping mall to our house. It wasn't yet 8 a.m., but I was already there, alongside the early mall walkers in their white velcro shoes. I didn’t know it then, but I was doing the exact thing that I needed to be doing for my mental state at the time. I was getting out.

Almost 35 years old when our first child was born, I had worked outside of the home since I was 16. Most of my friends were from work. We stopped at each others' desks every morning before entering our own cubicles for the day, we shared lunch together, on Wednesday nights after work we'd all go out for tacos; then, literally overnight, I found myself alone.

After years of spending 47 hours a week among voices, laughter, whispered confidences, my life was now one of staying home full time, alone, with a baby. I had left my friends behind at work--I knew that none of my co-workers had decided to stay home after their children were born, they had all returned to work after a six week maternity leave. I knew that. But I had been so focused on finally having the baby that I had been waiting my entire life for, that I never thought about who I would be with when I no longer worked.

Who would I be with? Now, I can see how alarmingly unprepared I was for the overwhelming floodwaters of change that came when I went from working outside of the home to just staying home.

I was lonely, and it hurt.

Lonely in the most devastating description of the void and desolate hole I felt I was living in. 4:15 in the afternoon would find me staring out my front window, my quiet baby in my arms, anxiously scanning the road for my husband's car. I was only able to begin breathing again at the sound of his key in the lock. To this day, the turn of the lock and then the push of the door remains one of my favorite sounds.

How would I start to make friends? I didn’t know how. My social world consisted of one. I ached for someone to talk to, the comfort of community, but I never felt ready to meet anyone. I looked a mess, unshowered and in my husband's T-shirts. Any free time I had I thought should be spent in keeping up my home and playing with my baby. Having an infant with colic who only slept two hours at the most at any one time, and then only if Christmas carols played in the background while he faced the fish tank--left me with no time for anything other than trying to get some solid sleep myself.

It wasn't too long before the emptiness that I felt since I quit working began to creep darkly over my entire life, leaving me frozen and numb, unable to smile and worsening the isolation that enveloped me. Even if I were to meet someone, I wouldn’t have had the mental energy to string three words together to form a sentence, much less manage a give and take conversation with interest and a smile.

But here I was, on this early morning, alone--pushing my three-week-old newborn in his equally new stroller, lap after lap, along with the mall walkers. I talked to my baby, telling him stories as if he were 35 years old; I talked to the air, telling it about the upcoming TV shows I was going to watch. I was scared that if I didn't practice talking that I'd forget how. I was lonely, but I was out of my house; somehow, my survival instincts were still intact enough to shout out, “interact, interact!”  And so I did.

On one of these early morning mall walks, I saw that the bookstore at the west end hosted a Toddler Story Time on Tuesday mornings. I decided to go. The first day before walking in, I took a deep breath. I froze when I saw no other moms with newborns there. Immediately, I felt out of place among the put-together moms with toddlers that already seemed to know each other and were there with their friends. But I resolutely made my way toward the back of the children’s section and stayed for the entire reading. I was embarrassed, both at how haggard I knew I looked and at how desperate I must have appeared--a three week old at a story time?? Come on. But I knew I had to keep coming, to show up every Tuesday, making my way past the pretty moms who were there with their crew, to my same spot in the back, where I would lean against the tall book cases and nurse my baby, closing my eyes and losing myself in the sweetness of the sound of conversations around me. Interact, interact. Interact to survive, and maintain sanity–interact.

I was lonely. The solitude sat like a balled up sandwich stuck in the middle of my chest.

I knew I had to find something, some way, some route out of my suffocating existence. I looked through the self-help book section after a Tuesday morning Story Time, and found a study on loneliness published by The Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. They found that loneliness has a broad and profound health effect on our overall well-being. People who are lonely have significantly higher incidences of diabetes, heart related illnesses, sleep disorders, obesity, and high blood pressure. These are just the physical tolls, there is a multitude of emotional, as well: increased occurrence of anxiety, insomnia, depression, and withdrawal from others. As I read, I felt refueled by this information.

Loneliness was as toxic as it felt. Loneliness was a force that needed to be reckoned with.

There I was, head over heels in love with my new baby, but at the same time, being swallowed whole by one of the bleakest periods that I have ever lived through. I remember how robotic I felt during this time when I knew no one, as if I were watching my life through a video camera--feeling untethered from any identity I once had. I was alone, so alone, and when my husband traveled, days could go by without the sound of another human voice in my life. The silence around me so deafening that not even every radio turned on in the house could drown it out.

Clearly, changes had to be made, for me and my new family. I had a child now, and he needed a happy mother, and I needed to be a happy mother. And so one morning, as I held my infant close to me, my silent tears wetting his little cheeks, I planned a path to dig myself out of the dark tomb that was choking me. I began by looking through church bulletins and joining their moms groups. I then checked the newspaper for diaper bag clubs at health clinics, and joined their morning sessions. I joined a stroller walk club from a posting I saw up on the Y's community board. Since I was breast feeding, I looked for a La Leche League and found one through The Quaker Society.

Whether I made the meetings or not, it didn’t matter, I was part of something. On my calendar, I had a place to go penciled in and scheduled for every day of the week. When I had had enough sleep the night before to be a safe driver in the morning, I went to whatever group event or activity I had written in on the calendar. Monday through Friday, getting out of my house had become my new job.

I can't say that I felt that I belonged in every group that I tried, because I didn't. Many of the women at the groups I walked into already had friendships in place, and I often felt like a fifth wheel. Were there sparks of potential friendship at some of these meetings? Sometimes. I longed for a smile from someone who knew me, but what had to come first was learning to find my place in this new world that was now my life. When I was lucky, a bright face eagerly awaited me at one of these groups, but more often not, there wasn't.

I never knew what would meet me on the other side of the door when I walked into these places; I was grateful when the atmosphere was an open-armed welcoming one to strangers. But when it wasn't, I kept my chin up and promised myself to return the next week, to try again, despite the disappointment of being the one there without a friend.

I didn't click with everyone at these outings, but I did make the friends I needed to. Women like Anne, from across the street, who come springtime, shared walks with me. And Carrie from The Quaker Society, a single mother who gave me courage to do more things on my own by setting an example; and Laura, from Ireland, who had a baby boy, Devon, on the same day that I had my Alec.

These women, these once wonderfully steady fixtures in my days, have since drifted out of my life. I don't remember how. I get misty eyed at this loss because they were an essential part of the fabric I was then weaving of my new life as a stay at home mother; they were the golden threads throughout this new tapestry, holding the loose stitches in place for me when I couldn't.

It took the entire first year of my new life to find people to talk to, to have phone numbers that I knew by heart. It was almost fall when I finally met someone I could call spontaneously to spend the afternoon with me at the park. I had survived what I now think of as the most bewildering, pathless year of my life.

During this time, I found a book called Lonely; a memoir written by Emily White. Inside these pages, I had just what I needed then: manageable action items to finding friendship. There was a checklist in the book that I followed like a tourist depends on his travel map: volunteer, create park play groups, start a church play group, attend free lectures, form a book club. Emily White's book offered limitless ideas for starting points in looking for friendship.

In the midst of feeling hopeless for myself and for my baby--for having a disconnected mother--there was a light bulb moment. As overcome as I was by my life that was now barely recognizable from what it once was--it hit me, the critical importance of being proactive in creating a social community.

Passively hoping for people to come into my life was not a plan. I had to find my friends. My mental and physical survival depended on it. Interactions and smiles with my child depended on it. My little boy needed a happy, unlonely mother.

Through that almost unbearably lonely year, I grew to realize that life should be lived fully, not merely survived. Just existing did right by no one. Friendships, even surface ones in the form of acquaintances, can tide us over during the changes in life, the transitions to a new being, that leave us stripped of who we used to know.

Some people are in our lives forever, some are our life lines for just that moment that we need them--neither less precious than the other. If you have to work to find people, to have them be your oxygen during these achingly desperate times, then that, I determinedly whispered to myself one winter morning while my beautiful son and I walked to our Friday morning Moms Club, then that, is what you have to do.

I smiled with the hope that maybe this time, there might be a new mom there, and she'd be looking for a friend.


***

87 comments:

  1. smiles...you have a story that touches lives for sure...because you are not alone...and there is so much that happens in our coming together in community as well...

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    1. Thank you, Brian. I am so grateful for this platform, for being able to write, for hopefully providing a place for someone to find understanding, and acceptance.

      xo

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  2. I used to get lonely on the weekends of the last year I lived in NYC. Such a big city, so much to do. I used to take the crosstown bus to Central Park and walk around for hours. And now, as I age, which I'm not by the way, I prefer to be alone. Different from lonely, for sure. I just love the silence.

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    1. Yes: HUGE difference between lonely and alone.

      i love my alone time, but those lonely days. I can still feel the heaviness of those times.

      Delete
  3. I have been away from the full time workplace for almost 15 years now. I find that as the years go by (and especially when you throw in a long distance move that put me in a place where I knew no one), it gets easier and easier to just lock the doors and stay in my own little world. I, like Suzy above, enjoy the silence and solitude. But, on the other hand, I know that it is not always healthy for me and there are times when I crave companionship beyond my family members. It becomes harder and harder to put myself out there and some times I need a little push from a friend, like the one I got today from reading this post. Thanks, friend.

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    1. You are my dear friend, Shannon. Thank you.

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  4. Your beautiful honesty is amazing. As I went through this and found myself alternating between your words and my own memories, I know that this will touch many. I fear our whole society is traveling towards a more isolated existance. That this pervasive loneliness is hauntingly behind so much of the rage and despair in the violence we've seen. Every chance we have to encourage connection, nourish friendship, and bridge distance, moves us to a better place.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. I agree with you. the disconnect that's happening juxtaposed with the ready accessibility of people.

      It's mind boggling.

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  5. Hitting the nail on the head again.
    I read somewhere, years ago, before I became a mother, that the first year of motherhood is the loneliest.
    It hits hard, it hits suddenly, and it takes your breath away. I just wish I had found blogging then.

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    1. Oh, do I ever know that. Do I ever.

      I still remember waking up, barely able to breathe from the pain in my chest of the loneliness.

      Sad times. And yet , I survived.

      xo

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  6. Great essay. Though I never had a baby, I understand that type of loneliness. I work from home and when we moved to a small English village where I knew no one I had an extremely hard time making friends. Loneliness is a terrible thing.

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    1. Loneliness, that time in my life taught me so much about the elderly. I visit them now with my children, because those feelings, of falling off the face of the earth--still make me shudder.

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  7. There always seems to come a time in life where we find ourselves lonely and wanting ... I have to trust in myself, and those around me that they will pass. Like now ...

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    1. Work, determination, faith, hope. Reaching out, prayer. WORK.

      Over all, the work.

      So good to see you, N.Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  8. What a lovely post, Alexandra. As someone who is aching to have children and thinks a lot about the possibility of staying at home (or not), this was very interesting and helpful to read. I veer towards shy, so these getting out of the house things are sometimes hard, but clearly so important.

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    1. It's those hard things, the ones that are difficult but necessary. It was hard to get out, I was tired, I was a physical mess, as soon as I'd get the baby in a snowsuit he'd poop his pants and we'd have to start all over again.

      But he was my soldier in the war, fighting alongside me. That's us in the top picture, me and my little faithful soldier. He never gave up on me. His smiles and gurgles kept me going. I did it for him. To be the best mother I could be.

      Delete
  9. I underestimated the loneliness that I would feel. I was home with both girls for only three months, but I let that loneliness consume me. I had to force myself to get out of the house and be with other people. Hugs for sharing this, A.

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    1. I was totally bowled over, Jen. NEVER imagined what it would feel like. Like someone had taken all the air out of the room.

      It was frightening.

      Delete
  10. I love how you embraced what you needed, though. You recognized it, you didn't belittle yourself for the need, and you continued to act on it. Even today, amid feelings of loneliness, it is still good for us to remember to seek out others, if for nothing than a smile and a knowing nod.

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  11. The best part of the lesson here is that it doesn't necessarily pertain to *just* new mothers. Anyone, no matter where they are or what walk of life, needs to actively pursue what they need and not, as you said, passively wait for it.

    It's not easy. Sometimes it doesn't work the way we envision. But it's what we need to do.

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    1. Need to do.

      So right. We need to do. We have to make a decision: fight for our lives, and not let the waves of despair slap us down. Keep on fighting that current.

      Hope you are well, lovely lady.

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  12. I feel the same. Odd, isn't it? Being newly retired and starting a business, I am feeling that feeling all over again.

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    1. What a point you hit: the periods of change and transition in our lives, it puts us out on new shores.

      Thinking of you, hoping for friendship to float your way.

      xo

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  13. I was thinking that it's too bad you didn't blog back then, but I changed my mind. You needed to interact with real life people and get out of the home, and blogging would have released some of the pressure, but perhaps not fixed everything at that time.

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    1. Right.

      I think that happens a lot now. People stay inside, so lonely, they turn to the computer, which makes them even more lonely in real life.

      It can be a vicious cycle, lonely, internet, lonely, internet.

      Round and round and nothing changes.

      Delete
  14. I remember that kind of loneliness myself. We moved from all family while I was eight months pregnant. When our little boy came, there was no one to celebrate with except each other. I continued in isolation until several months after our daughter arrived. By then I was so desperate, I practically jumped on a lady I met at church, shook her and demanded if she wanted to be my friend. It wasn't until she had her first child that we really connected. Until we did I started a Mom's Group at my church. It was and continues to be a lifesaver!

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    1. YAY!!

      THat's exactly turning good from bad.

      So many women must be grateful to you.
      THis is no small thing, to provide a harbor of friendship to others.

      No small thing, Hillary.

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  15. I love how you can tell the story, and make us feel it...feel it so deeply that we quickly run through the list of people in our lives, wondering if any of them are lonely for reasons even beyond your specific tale...wondering who we need to share your words with. Much love to you for always being willing to share your story of a bad time, and showing us how you found strength to turn things around.

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    1. I'm so lucky to meet you, Andrea.

      You are a great boost to me. Thank you.

      Delete
  16. This

    "life should be lived fully, not merely survived"

    is probably the best lesson a human can be taught.

    But oh, is it ever hard to learn.

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    1. So much a matter of self talk.

      I try hard to let my children know what dialogue to have in their heads. Because just one too many things on the wrong side of the scale, and it all goes crashing to the ground.

      It's a fight, Julie. xo

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  17. This is a beautiful line, A - "to have phone numbers that I knew by heart."

    My kids tease me that I have to go out with friends once a week and to a concert once a month. I look at them and think, "If you only knew what I'd be like if I didn't."

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    1. Your kind words, you have always been so supportive of me. Thank you so much, Nancy.

      Thank you.

      Delete
  18. Oh Alexandra, I lived your life there in your first year of motherhood and you wrote mine. Honestly, I could have written this word for word...I even became a mother at the age of 35 after working daily since my teens. The things people don't talk enough about, eh? I was overseas at the time, and just had no friends. How I made it through that first year with my baby still happy-go-lucky I don't know. After my son turned 1 my husband left his job to work from home and be more available, and I started taking free Japanese lessons in the community, volunteering to read English to toddlers at a local community center, and even teaching a couple of classes at a high school. If I remember correctly I may have literally wept the first time I went to my lesson. I did a lot of self-isolation too, believing that a good mother has to be able to sacrifice self for her children. I have a lot of time to myself now, now that my son is older, but I still feel guilty about it.

    Thank you for writing about this. I think it's important for mothers to know they're not alone and to find ways to cope. And of course, that first year of motherhood is not the only time we get lonely. Being able to reach out - we will need to be able to do that again and again.

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    1. I say it every time we talk, Ceci--we are a lot alike.

      I truly love you.

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  19. Thank you for writing this. I have struggled with making friends for most of my adult life. I finally found a group around here... and then I got pregnant. While they're all excited for me, they're mostly single twenty-somethings with no plans for children any time soon, if ever. They go dancing and drinking and suddenly I don't fit into that. I'm starting all over. I will look into that book you mentioned, I really need it.

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    1. The book is amazing. It's practical and you can do as much or as little as you want and it saved my life.

      I clung to it like a 3rd grade workbook. It helped me. And I was able to see and feel hope, because I was doing something, not just disappearing in to my sofa at home.

      GOOD LUCK.

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  20. Oh, my dear Alexandra, this is so beautifully written and so honest and true. Especially for those of us whose community of friends stemmed from work, those who waited a long time to have kids so our friends were mostly the "non-kids" variety, the sudden and complete narrowing of our worlds was quite the shock.

    Like so many others who have read this post I can relate so well. Fortunately for me I am in New York City, where there are a million older moms and, as a city of walkers, places to meet up, and I did eventually find my cohort (and now have a wonderful and supportive community of mom-friends).

    Also, may I be the first to say: Happy (nearly) 3rd Bloggaversary! I always remember yours because it is just a few days after mine - which was yesterday. I LOVE being blogging twins with you my friend and can't wait to see you - hopefully this summer. xoxoxo, lovely lady!

    (Oh, p.s. - this post is DEFINITELY making it into my monthly round-up of what I loved on other people's blogs.)

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    1. Varda, do you know that even your comments are like something that falls from the stars? Really.

      You have such a gift of language. Thinking of you during this time, dear Varda, and so sorry about your profound loss.

      Delete
  21. What a lovely post, Alexandra. I know you help many people when you write so vividly and honestly about the challenges of motherhood...and life.

    You are one of the blog-world's treasures.

    XOXO

    A.

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    1. I am humbled, Anna, because I feel so very fortunate to have met you.
      BLogging changed my life, the women I know now, so many intelligent, sincere, down to earth women.

      This is what I mean when I say I LOVE THE INTERNET.

      Going to email you soon. I met Ann Leary and she reminded me of you the entire evening.

      Delete
  22. See!!! THIS is why I love you. You aren't afraid of keeping it real.

    And I also nominated you for a blog award because of your amazingness. ♥

    http://musingsofamanicmama.blogspot.com/2013/02/blog-award.html

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    1. Alisha, beautiful Alisha. When are you going to put up some more vlogs of that amazing nightingale voice of yours??

      You have such a gift.

      Always wonderful to see you, kind woman.

      Delete
  23. Oh my God. You took me right back to the winter Miss D. was born. We'd just moved and I didn't know a soul. She had colic. From 4-7pm every day, she'd scream and I'd rock her and look out at the snow falling and pray for salvation.

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    1. I can't tell you how many times I sat with my baby on my lap, my tears falling on his face.

      I consider that first year, survival.

      One of the hardest, most deliberate, purposeful years I've ever knocked down.

      I did it. I did it.

      Delete
  24. --Your voice is strong and authentic. I really love it.

    One of my favorite quotes about lonliness is from Sarah Silverman. She said, "How can I be homesick and lonely when I'm alread home?"

    I understood immediately.

    Xxx kisses from Minnesota, Alex.

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    1. Thank you, My Inner Chick, you are very special in the online world. We all love you, and your ferocious spirit to make the world a better place through love, not hate.

      You really do.

      Thank you.

      Delete
  25. Oh, Alexandra. I wish we lived closer so we could talk/have walks together more often. I read this and was drawn into the story with you... And this post makes me want to be more of a friend to the girls I know who are nursing young ones at home.

    Loneliness isn't something we should ever feel ashamed about.

    Love especially how open and honest you are with your words always. XOXO

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    1. You adorable thing. You know what you'd love the most? My teen boys. My teen boys--they are so funny and boundless with energy and so interested in life around them.

      You'd love spending time with my teen boys.

      xo

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  26. This was beautiful. Achingly so. You know I relate to every word you wrote. I had no idea what it would mean to be a stay at home mom when it came to loneliness and friendships. Like you, I never thought about it and it HIT me like a train. It was so hard, so painful. The lack of fitting in, the rejection from the "pretty" moms, etc. Two years in and I do have places to go and I'm finally, finally, making some connections. Thank goodness.

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    1. I'm so glad, Rachaey. I wish the stigma against admitting "I'm lonely," would just disappear.

      When people talk, good things can happen. Maybe a post like this, to the person who reads it t the right time, can convince them it's worth the effort and trouble to get yourself out of the house.

      It's essential to survival.

      Loneliness is an ache.

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  27. Sobbing right now. Stop talking about me in such a personal way. You + Me = scary-alike. xoxoxo

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    1. We never forget , do we? I try to keep an eye out for "the lonely ones."

      xo

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  28. I remember the loneliness of my first. He didn't sleep. I had given up my career path. My husband worked long hours that year. I found moms and even though I didn't click with all of them, I kept at it because I needed to belong. But I still remember crying because we had no plans on Memorial Day and Scott was working. It took time to make friends but also to be comfortable in my new mom skin. It took years really

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    1. Oh, the pain of those days. Almost impossible to put into words.

      But it is a very much physical pain.

      xo

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  29. this is exactly what it was like.

    i remember.

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    1. Dear Anon:

      I hope things are better for you now.

      Aren't you proud we made it through?

      We are so strong.

      xo

      Delete
  30. This was beautiful... and heartbreaking... and uplifting all at the same time. BOY, could I relate (in fact, I just wrote a book about experiencing this!). Thank you for sharing this so those of us who felt the same way can feel just a little more confident about saying out loud how lonely and lost we felt.

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    1. Thank you, Tracy. I am excited to host a giveaway of your new book. Can't wait.

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  31. Oh how I love the descriptive honesty of this post. The loneliness for me began during pregnancy, when I was placed on bed rest for the last three months. I desperately missed the simple "How are you?"s and "Did you watch __ last night?"s. The small questions and basic interaction that I NEEDED to feel alive. I had a difficult recovery that involved postpartum depression and, like you, I just couldn't even find the strength to get dressed to try to make new friends.
    We moved when my son was only 9 months old to a town where we knew no one. Though overwhelming, this gave me a push to establish something, anything, if even for the fact that we needed to know SOMEONE. I did wind up meeting 2 friends and they are very precious to me. My son is three now, and it is truly just recently that I have come back into myself and entered back into a social life through church, mom groups, and taking some dance classes.
    I once heard that the thing you spend the most time with is who you are in a relationship with. I was in a relationship with an infant for a long time.
    The loneliness is scary and surprising. Thank you so much for writing something so many new moms can relate to.

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    1. You said it all so perfectly, Julia.

      Off to meet you, you sound like a kindred spirit.

      xo

      Delete
  32. Wow. This was absolutely amazing. You know, just today my husband and I had a long talk about our new roles as parents, and how our attitudes differed. I've never wanted to be a working mom, but it's just not in our means right now for me to stay home. And that's a hard, hard thing for me to come to terms with, especially since I'm falling more and more in love with my baby every day!

    Reading this helps me understand more of the reality of being a stay-at-home mom, and I'm glad for that (even if I still wish I could be at home with my little girl after maternity leave ends!).

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    1. How about the comments, L Diggitty? There is never a perfect answer. Those who work feel like they miss so much, those who stay feel like they fell off the face of the earth.

      It's hard, either way, it is hard.

      Much love to you!! Happy to have met you via Suzy.

      Delete
  33. Alexandra, this was hauntingly beautiful. And so familiar. When I moved to Texas, after 10 years in Atlanta, with my new husband 4 years ago, I knew no one. One month later, we found out we were pregnant, and 2 weeks later, hyperemisis gravidum kicked in with a vengeance. I was desperately lonely and sick as a dog. Eventually, I got out and made friends, but it did seem like it took a long, long time, especially after having such close friendships in Atlanta.... many of which have since faded through time and distance.
    I love this post and I love your beautiful talent!

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  34. I so badly want to travel back in time and place and be that smiling face who greeted you. I was lucky in that I started looking for baby groups right away and found them, and I met an amazing group of women that I'm friends with still. But it's not easy to do. It's not easy to walk out the door of your home and into a group you don't know, and it's not easy to make those first overtures of friendship. But so, so essential.

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  35. That was my EXACT experience. I would cry each morning because I knew that my day was a black hole with nothing to fill it.
    I was desperate.
    Years later, I remember with total clarity the excitement I felt the morning of my first La Leche League meeting.
    I had a place to go.
    I also remember the isolation of busting in to an established group, but I hung in and one by one I made friends. Those women saved my life in a very real way and set the standard I maintain today for all new friendships.

    Tip
    I made up business cards which read:
    Loving wife & mother
    Coffee drinker
    Potential best friend

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  36. I LOVE this post. I can feel the loneliness. I am so thankful that I had my moms of multiples club that connected me with other women before I even had my babies. And I'm also thankful for those women who reach out, because that's where I struggle. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. xo

      Starting to talk about, can spur action.

      xo

      Delete
  37. I worked from a remote office for about seven years. I can't say it was exactly the same as your experience I do know there were times where it was exceptionally lonely.

    There was no one to talk to and all I had was the dog and work. Sometimes that can get old.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right. IT's that silence in the house, that no matter how many radios you turn on, still comes through.

      xo

      Delete
  38. Yep. And yep yep yep yeppity yep. You somehow knew what you had to do for yourself and it's almost funny, sometimes, looking back, how hard it was to just "get out of the house," but truly, it's one of the hardest things. Ever. Get out. Talk to strangers? BE with people when you have no idea who you yourself are, in this new identity of sleepworn wild-eyed bleak-souled woman? This post should be required reading for all new parents, letting them know that joy can co-exist with these darker feelings, which need to be brought into the light so they can start to float away on the air of companionship.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I am so proud of how much work you put into finding friends. Putting yourself out there is HARD. Especially since it won't (can't!) result in perfect friendships every single time.

    I wish more pregnant first time moms could really understand what they were getting into beforehand. I think we just assume that they'll figure it out (and they mostly do) but how much more lovely would it be if they already all HAD the groups to lean on? Pregnancy boards and groups are nice because the sense of comaraderie is so great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's shocker, it's such a shocker.

      Of all the things I knew I had to deal with, loneliness never ever crossed my mind.

      Blindsided, like a train off the rails.

      Delete
  40. I have always been lucky to have an assortment of great people in my life, and have the greatest friends in the computer I ever could have imagined. But the past year was one of my loneliest ever, in my town and daily life. (Part of how my depression manifests when it's wide awake is isolation, and that caught up with me the past couple of years.) Now that I'm functional again, I'm doing what you said and that I agree is critical: being proactive in making and fostering connections in my life here. I'm going out, making plans, focusing on fun in a way I haven't for a long time. And guess what? It's working. And it feels really good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOrk, work, and more work.

      But it can pay off, not every time, but it can work.

      xo

      Delete
  41. This is so lovely and honest. I definitely can relate to the fear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Renee!!

      I have to come visit you.

      xo

      Delete
  42. beautiful post. I can relate a bit to the lonely. both before kids and after. when Hubs & I were first married I knew no other police wives, and none of our family or friends could relate to how our life changed, how stressful the job could be for both Hubs & I, and I often found myself driving home from work to an empty house with tears rolling down my face. Hubs was on the night shift for the first seven years of his career, which included the first 3 years of Goose's life. He just switched to days almost a year ago, just a few months before Gator was born, thankfully. :) that has been a HUGE help. also, I'm (unfortunately?) a full-time working mom - for financial and insurance purposes and I would so much rather be home with my girls (4yrs & *almost* 9mos) but I always knew that I wouldn't make a good stay at home mom/wife. I used to get a bit stir-crazy and nutso when Hubs worked nights and I spent so much time with only a baby/toddler... even the short 6weeks of maternity leave I had was both too short and too long at the same time. I'm very much an extrovert. I need daily social interaction, and I previously thought that wouldn't be possible if I stayed home... of course now I've met so many amazing ladies through my local LLL and several mom groups on FB who have real live playdates- and I long to be able to go with them to these... which I, of course, cannot because of work. I'll be sharing this blog post with those groups as there are many new moms who have yet to put themselves "out there" in person, and I think this could be just the "push" that they need to do so. thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope for that.

      The effort it takes, is something that is worth it tenfold.
      I remember, I'd get my baby ready and he'd need to have his diaper changed all over and we'd start again.

      ANd sometimes I'd get there and there wouldn't be a soul that would even look at me BUT then there'd be that one time, I'd connect with someone.

      And if I didn't get myself and Alec out there, we might have missed it.
      Gotta play to win.

      xoe

      Delete
  43. I love every last bit of this.

    These are such hard lessons learned, aren't they?

    {I really and truly believe what you wrote about people and how and why they enter and leave our lives.}

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  44. You struck a chord here! It took me a while to realize that I needed to make mom friends while I was drowning in 3 back-to-back-to-back babies. Once they came into my life, I was astonished I had ever survived without them. I try now to bring moms into the fold as I know how much it meant to me. BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL piece. Once again, I am fully expecting you to submit this for publication. xoxo Bossy

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    Replies
    1. Same exact story here: 3 babies, and I was submerged in motherhood and I just wanted a friend to confide in.

      xo Thank you for your kind encouragement--it means so much.

      Delete
  45. A powerful, honest look at early motherhood, exquisitely written. Thank you for sharing your story here. I'm glad I read it--and I hope many young, new mothers find their way here to read it, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, aren't you wonderful. THANK YOU SO MUCH. xo

      Delete

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