Isolation. Loneliness. Guilt. Worry, Shame. Paranoia.
These are not the typical emotions you may associate with motherhood, yet, here we are. So many women feeling isolated in their worry. Feeling lonely in their guilt. Feeling alone in their shame. So many women who feel that they are the only one. I too, spent many hours wondering the same thing.
“Am I the only one?”
I have been inspired today by a dear friend and transformation coach, Liah, who posed a question in our Soulful Mamas Tribe, about feelings of loneliness and isolation. And oh boy, did this strike a chord! So many of us were relieved to have the opportunity to open up and to share our stories of loneliness. So many women found the courage to share and so many women discovered the desire to reach out, to comfort one another, to say…
“No, you are not the only one.”
For me, it began as a newborn mother. The day after Luca was born the doctor told us that he had a bit of jaundice. I was so in love with this little baby and felt completely responsible for his well being. It was a painful love. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and worry. The kind of worry that is all-consuming. The kind that comes with a seemingly, endless, depth. The kind only a parent might feel. The kind that maybe only a mother might feel? I realized the scary truth and shared it with my husband.
“I am going to feel like this, every single day, for the rest of my life”.
The worries began to multiply and expand into every decision I made.
“Am I the only one who checks on my baby 15 times a night to makes sure he’s still breathing?”
“Am I the only one who has no idea what I’m doing?”
“Am I the only one who feels bound to my home, but who is also afraid to leave its safety?”
“Am I the only one who is smiling, but feels torn apart on the inside?”
“Am I the only one with a baby that doesn’t sleep?”
“Am I the only one who is angry and frustrated because I have a baby that doesn’t sleep?”
“Am I the only one who doesn’t really love breastfeeding?”
“Am I the only one who feels sad and depressed?”
“Am I the only one who feels guilty about being sad and depressed?”
“Am I the only one who actually likes leaving the baby at home so I can go on a date with my husband…. and then is terrified and worried every second of the night?”
“Am I the only one who still hasn’t had time to shower today?”
As the time passed I was comforted by many groups of mothers, both in Spain, as well as back at home in the states. I felt more connected, more reassured, less lonely. I realized there were other children who still didn’t sleep through the night. I realized there were other two year olds who threw themselves on the floor in the supermarket. I realized there were other children who hated to eat. I realized there were other children who hit, and bit, and screamed. There were other children, just like mine.
But, was I the only one who still felt exhausted, frustrated, helpless, and fearful?
“Am I the only one who wants to throw a fork or hit a wall out of frustration?”
“Am I the only one who is terrified of my child falling out a window, getting hit by a motorbike on the sidewalk, falling off the slide at the park, choking on a blueberry, suffocating under his blankets, and dying of a fever…. all in the same day?”
“Am I the only one who screamed at my child today and then crawled in bed with him and apologized 100 times over while he so peacefully slept?”
“Am I the only one who took my exhaustion and frustration out on my innocent, loving husband?”
“Am I the only who worries about being judged because my three-year-old still has a pacifier?”
“Am I the only one who still feels alone? Isolated? Exhausted?”
No. No. No.
No. You are not the only one.
I hope this brings comfort to at least one other mama who has felt some of the not-so-beautiful-emotions that often come with motherhood. I hope these words, which are not spoken often, resonate with at least one woman who has cried, out of isolation and loneliness. You are not the only one. You are not alone.
Photo credit to Pat a Cake Photography