Babies are innately sociable, and as long as they have someone who is attuned to them, and who loves and cares for them they should have all their social needs met. But, what about mum? Unlike her baby, her social needs are not solely met by the mother-baby bond. Being at home with a baby all day can be tedious, hard-work and extremely isolating. It is not uncommon for new mothers to joke that they need an adult to talk to after talking ‘baby’ all day, but seriously mum’s you do!! Just like your baby you require social interaction in order to feel fully healthy, and any impingement on your wellbeing may mean you are less able to hold the intense bond your baby requires. Mothers who have regular support and interaction with people they trust feel more self-esteem, and confidence as a parent.
You may be thinking, ‘that’s easy to say, but everyone is at work during the day’, or ‘but I’m a single parent’, or even ‘my friends and family do not live close by’. It is true that social engagement can be become difficult due to various practical obstacles, and often the more out of the habit of seeing people we are, the harder it can be to start again. But remember our social needs are essential to full health and wellbeing, so if your baby has a better social life than you it is vital you find some time to let your hair down and have some baby free talk. Remember this is essential! many mums feel guilty about meeting their own social needs, but a happier mum, is a happier baby.
There are many social groups for new mothers in most communities, and a quick internet search will bring one up in your area. These groups are great at bringing women in similar positions together to share experiences and have some adult time. However, these groups are not for everyone, and should you still feel isolated, or believe you may be experiencing post-natal depression speaking with a trained counsellor can help you to reflect on the impact that the new role of motherhood has on your sense of self and identity.
You may be thinking this is nothing new, but how often do we hear advice and never take it on board because we’ve heard it a hundred times. So, what if you tried to change one thing about your social activity this week, just one, and see what an impact it has on you. We often try to change more than is manageable and then tend to fail, so come on mum’s one new social activity this week and see what happens.