I Feel Lonely: I'm the Only Mother in My Group of Friends
Becoming a mother is a life-transforming experience from start to finish. You’re still you, but now a little creature depends on you. This means that priorities change. At least for the first few years, your child has virtually unlimited access to your hands and your gaze. With enormous fatigue but deep love, you spend most of your time with your little one. This can leave you feeling lonely–especially when you’re the only mother in your group of friends.
We know that both pregnancy and the first stage of motherhood are intense experiences that involve major physical and emotional changes. This is when we need the support of our loved ones more than ever. The closeness of our family, partner, or friends becomes essential. But what happens when you’re the only mother in your group of friends? In these cases, the feeling of loneliness and incomprehension is often very strong.
Being the only mother in a group of friends: An increasingly common situation
Fortunately, the cultural representation of the concept of motherhood has changed a lot in recent years. Many social preconceptions about motherhood have been demystified.
Starting with the fact that, if you’re a woman, you no longer have to be a mother to fulfill yourself as a person. If you don’t want to be a mother, it doesn’t mean that you’re selfish, less of a woman, or that you hate children. Besides, today there are several ways to assume motherhood. You don’t have to do it before the age of 30. These realities explain why being the only mother in your group of friends isn’t a surprising situation in the least. It can be truly painful, though.
In the sociocultural sphere, new models, schemes, theories, and cultural elaborations on motherhood, sexuality, and couple relationships have emerged.
– Bringas, Á. S., Espinosa, S., Islas, S. E., Ezcurdia, C., & Torres, E. –
“I feel like my friends don’t understand me”
Once you become a mother, the topics of conversation become pastel-colored: Breastfeeding, hygiene, the baby’s room, crawling, holding their head up, and so on. While the main topics of your lifelong friends may have to do with weekend outings, work, or romantic dates.
Logically, your interests have changed. This can make you feel misunderstood by your friends, which distresses and worries you. You have a bitter feeling: They’re on a different wavelength. They get bored listening to you talk about the adversities of motherhood because they don’t identify with you, and you stopped caring about keeping up with the latest band or dance club.
It’s sad. But the truth is that life’s transcendental events can lead us to lose friendships (and gain others, of course). A move, a job change, a decision to make a major lifestyle change, or having a child. In any of these cases, your routine is altered. These are significant growth and learning events. And as we grow older, it’s natural to leave certain bonds behind.
However, there are relationships that grow stronger over the years, whether or not the paths continue to be similar. Other bonds go through different stages depending on the moments in life that each person is experiencing. What we mean is that nothing is set in stone when it comes to determining the length of a friendship.
Even though you may feel like you no longer have as many issues in common with your girlfriends, keep in mind that bonding with them can help you reconnect with your most personal side. With the woman you still are. Getting together with them for a coffee or a few beers can be more valuable than you think: It will make it easier to disconnect from your routine – now covered by maternity issues – and clear your mind.
The importance of having a group of belonging
It is very likely that the news of pregnancy and the subsequent birth will mean a change in your social needs. People need a g roup to feel safe and supported. Identifying with the people around us positively influences our mood because we know that we have someone who understands us. Either because they’ve lived the same experience before or because they’re living them right now.
Therefore, don’t deprive yourself of seeking new friendships with people who are in the same stage as you. Life itself will lead you to form bonds with them. The pediatric waiting room, the kindergarten pickup line, or the neighborhood playground are great places to connect with other families with young children.
Becoming a mother and father is, in short, an important personal and family transition that tests the coping resources of the adults involved, which tends to be associated with a particularly unstable and vulnerable period at the individual and interpersonal level, and in which, therefore, important support needs are generated for the people facing this significant life experience.
– Hidalgo García, M. V., & Menéndez Álvarez-Dardet, S –
Having a group to belong to will ease your fears and anxieties. Support among mothers (and fathers) is essential to navigating the often confusing and unexpected journey of motherhood.
It’s not about replacing your initial group of friends with a new one. Rather, it’s about including new people in your repertoire who can provide you with the support you need right now and thus mitigate the feeling of loneliness.It might interest you...