when motherhood gives birth to loneliness.


It’s been over a year and a half since I first became mom to a feisty baby girl with a quivering lip and bird cry that I could pick out instantly among the chorus of babies sharing our hall in the hospital. 

I still remember those first months vividly, despite the postpartum hormones and feeling like an legit zombie for at least six solid weeks. 

Such a time of transition and learning and becoming.

My world as a brand new mom naturally orbited around my baby in a perpetual three-hour cycle, day and night, and consisted of breastfeeding (full time job on it’s own – somebody back me up on this), naps, relentless diaper duty, and “playtime”….a.k.a., laying your newborn on a colorful mat to stare at toys they can’t quite reach and can’t quite see. Too nervous to brave outings with my “spirited” newborn, and no close friends with small babies meant I spent most days within the four walls we called home. It was a sweet time, just me and my babe. It was also a lonely time, just me and my babe. 

It doesn’t take long to discover the polarity of motherhood:

lonely and never alone.
chaotic and peaceful.
sweet and demanding.
noisy and quiet.
monotonous and ever-changing.
blissful and heartwrenching.

the best ever and also the hardest ever. 

Glancing over that list, it’s hard to believe anyone signs up for this emotional turmoil. It’s messy. But then, like most great things in life, none of us know what we’re getting ourselves into until it’s too late; and then we’d do it 500 times over. Easy.

//

Feeling the confines of those four walls, I craved connections with people who spoke in actual sentences. That was the only real requirement.

YES. COME AND BRING ALL YOUR FRIENDS WITH YOU was my immediate response to potential visitors. 

They came to my door with smiles and gifts as I welcomed them in with words and feelings. Too many words and feelings, I’m pretty sure. Wow, this motherhood thing – it’s incredible! AND crazy-hard! Giving birth – also HARD! Finding time to take a shower during the day? Hard! How do I get my baby to sleep at night instead of all day long? I know you know the secret. Just cough it up! Is there a Moms In the Know Club you can sneak me into? And pronto?

I couldn’t help it, people. I was “feeling all the feels.”

{Please note: I had help with the baby. Plenty of help. I did not live 600 miles from the nearest relative. No. This was more of a mommy thing than a baby thing.}



I should have seen it coming. 
One day a couple months into this new gig, you wake up, look around, and find that the day has come when you’re on your own. The meals have stopped. The phone isn’t ringing anymore. The check-in texts disappear. Rather abruptly your surroundings are looking less “village” and more “nomad.” 

You squint at your calendar and it starts to make sense: your newborn isn’t new anymore. People have moved on and now expect you to put your big girl panties on and leave the diaper-wearing to your infant. The nerve of these people assuming I know how to be an adult with real responsibilities. 

When things got quiet, what I was really longing for surfaced: a community of women who shared both my season and my heart. Not just someone to bring me a meal and conversation, but someone who knew exactly what I was experiencing to walk this journey with me. Not just for a few weeks, but for the long haul. I didn’t know where to start, so I began to write

I wrote and I wrote some more. To my surprise, other mamas began to chime in with “me too.”  I found encouragement for myself by cheering others on. I was given the invaluable gift of solidarity: Yes, we hear you new mama. This gig is no joke. We see you and we get it. 

I even discovered entire ministries dedicated to building community among moms and providing them with soul-filling, scripture-inspired reassurance. 

This was all an affirming, blessed balm to a new mama’s soul. I was reaching out. And guess what I found? 
My very own little village. 

P.S.,  It was there all along. I had been sitting around waiting for it to come knocking. 

And for some, maybe it does come knocking. Maybe you are blessed enough to have a mom village at your fingertips. But the rest of us will have to seek it out and plant our feet firmly among those who are walking our current path. Among women who understand implicitly and can laugh or cry through the crazy with you. A safe haven to be honest about the radical changes in your life – good and  bad.


This might feel awkward at first – like where to sit at lunch on the first day of school. But it’s worth it to cultivate community. Invite a mom over for a playdate, even if you don’t know each other that well, and go from there. Start a supper club. Start a mom’s night out. Heck, start a blog! 

If you already have a strong sisterhood surrounding you, or once you find one, WHO CAN YOU INVITE IN?  Put “new mom” on your radar – is there someone at your church or workplace that needs support? Welcome her in. The more the merrier.

//

No, motherhood was never meant to be a one woman show. So stop trying. It takes all kinds. It takes everyone pitching in, showing up, speaking up, providing the shoulder, calling, texting, listening, praying, cooking, baby-rocking, insisting yes you will go take a shower while I hold this baby to get this thing done. No mom should feel alone in this. Let’s not let that happen anymore. 

Let’s all jump in and help. You’re gonna get dirty and that’s okay. Sometimes you have to get messy to experience the magic in life.  





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