I once wrote that being a mother is the best job in the world, and I stand by this statement whole heartedly.
After enduring five and a half long and extremely difficult years consisting of four cycles of IVF and a miscarriage, to name a few things, I eventually and incredibly fortunately got my happy ending, girl/boy twins. Having had a daughter prior to this I was now an extremely lucky mother of three.
I was taken aback by the emotions which engulfed me though, the first time I realised that, as happy as I am to be a mother, there are also unwelcome feelings, which come creeping in. I argue the case that, as it was not a walk in the park so to speak, for me to get pregnant and complete my family, these emotions were even more displeasing. I could not accept that I was feeling this way for a long time, even writing this now fills me with guilt and I am reluctant to admit to feeling this way.
So why am I doing this? For two reasons really. I believe that many people have been and are in a similar position and I know (well, I hope) that by reading this they will be relieved and assured they are not on their own in how they feel. I also think that by admitting my feelings to myself it helps me cope with them better. Acknowledging how we feel is healthy, whether these are positive or negative feelings. Denying them or pushing them away does not make them vanish or lessen.
My husband works hard and long hours. He leaves the house very early in the morning and returns most evenings for bath time for which I am grateful and he and the children love this time spent together. We all do and of course the extra pair of hands is an advantage! My mother lives two hundred miles away, so as much as she wishes I could, I cannot rely on her for help. Simply put, I get very little help with child care. As well as this, the amount of time I spend each day with other adults is limited, some days none existent.
Once my eldest has gone to school, it is me and the little ones. This equates to no adult conversation, unless I were to pick up the phone. But to who? The majority of people are working or with their children, which means any conversation that can be had is often short and shouted over crying children. Unsurprisingly, I feel extremely lonely.
Days when the children are ill were even worse. Whilst cleaning up sick or giving regular doses of calpol, you find you have time to think. Too much time to think. This makes the feeling of loneliness intensify. Finally, when they are a bit better and you can go a walk with them, it is like being set free. Simply speaking to the cashier at Tesco or the local shops is a treat! Sometimes, you talk so much the person in the queue behind you gets annoyed, but it is worth it, because you feel a bit better now you have had that adult contact. Often, I found myself telling them too much, but it all just comes pouring out and once you get started you cannot stop. I leave the shop berating myself for telling them what I had had for lunch or what time I got up that day. They do not care!
So what did I do to help myself? Joining baby groups was a start and proved a big help. Just getting out of the house, though it may be a struggle to do so, definitely eased the loneliness. Once the children began to sleep a little better at night, I made a social arrangement a week, so that I had something to look forward to as well as that important adult conversation and interaction I craved and needed. Date nights, though infrequent, also help. Though of course, paying a babysitter becomes costly if you are doing so to go out for supper. But every so often I guess you have to bite the bullet and do it! More often than not the benefits in doing so outweigh the stress of having to pay a fortune. Who are we to put a price on the cost of sanity?!
I guess that is what it boils down to really. Trying to have a good quality of life as a mother, for your sake and the children's. Obviously every experience of motherhood is different, but having that adult company and interaction is vital. Without it loneliness creeps up on you and unless action is taken to stop these feelings, life becomes a struggle and the joys of motherhood are replaced with feelings of desperation and anxiety.
A happy mother will find her happy medium and in doing so avoid becoming lonely. Everybody will have a different idea of what this is, but as long as they reach this goal, they are less at risk of becoming lonely.