Surviving Newborn Isolation
While pregnant with my first child, I dreamed of bringing the snuggly newborn home from the hospital and basking in the newborn bliss. My reality was a little different from that. I did, in fact, bring that snuggly newborn home. And I did breathe her in and bask in our life as three, just our perfect baby girl, my husband and me. It was exactly as I thought it would be—at first. Fast forward two weeks. My husband returned to work, and more time passed between our families’ and friends’ visits. Life was getting “back to normal.” I was at home day after day, alone, with our baby. I never thought about the isolation I would feel as all my friends and family went to work every morning, and I went from the bedroom out to the kitchen and living room and the occasional grocery store errand run.
The newborn experience was a learning process for me for many reasons. I learned how to take care of my baby, but I also learned how to take care of me. You’ve heard the saying “a happy wife is a happy life.” I agree with that, but I think having a happy mommy and a happy baby are equally important.
Getting to know other moms who stay at home during the day before you deliver can be beneficial. Work to meet other moms in the same stage of life who can offer resources and maybe mental relief from isolation. Many studios around the KC area offer prenatal yoga classes for moms-to-be. Drop in for one class or purchase a monthly membership. Not only will you meet other moms in the same stage of life, but these relationships have the potential to continue to grow and develop after Baby, giving you another person who is staying at home all day long and can relate to your feelings.
If the days are becoming long, plan something to look forward to. Maybe twice a week a family member comes over to snuggle your baby so you can go out for a walk. Or plan the long overdue girls night out or a date night. Prefer alone time? Schedule an appointment for a haircut or massage. Plan something—anything—that will allow some time outside of the home with an activity that you enjoy.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is often okay to take Baby out of the house and into the public. Don’t want strangers touching your child? Consider wearing Baby or keeping Baby covered in a way that is not only safe for Baby but also deters others from getting too close for your comfort. Go out for lunch just the two of you. Before leaving your house, change and feed Baby. You should be able to enjoy a quiet hour—maybe two—while you are out.
Join a club or take a class. Kansas City Culinary Center offers cooking classes, many churches have book clubs and mommy groups and Hobby Lobby and Michael’s offer sewing, cake decorating and many other classes. If you are a person that plans ahead, look at the city or county you live in and find a class or activity that interests you.
Being a new mom is a wonderful experience and rewarding in so many ways. However, even the best of moms have down days or moments where they need some time to themselves. There is nothing shameful about asking your partner, family or friend to spend a little time loving on your baby while you take a little time for yourself.
Jessica Heine is a labor and delivery nurse. She lives with her family in Olathe.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns