About a year ago, I was in a really dark place. We had been in Milwaukee for almost a year and I was struggling with the baby blues after having our second son. I was in the house most of the time and I was struggling with establishing friendships. No matter how hard I tried, I just felt off — like something was wrong with me. I would notice groups of women at the park or coffee shop and my heart ached for that type of community. I was so overwhelmed with being a mom, a wife, and being in a new city without much outside support. Most days it was hard to breathe.
One night, exhausted and in tears, I sat down with my laptop and wrote the most vulnerable post I’d ever written. I wrote an open letter to myself, the lonely mom. After writing out of my struggle and pain, I decided it was a little too real for me to post as myself, so I logged in as Anonymous and hit “Publish.”
I had NO idea that so many of you were feeling lonely too.
The day the post went live, my heart broke as so many of you commented and shared that you were feeling the same way I was. Mom after mom shared her feelings of being on the outside looking in, the pain of worrying that she didn’t have IT — that elusive thing that made other moms connect, but left her feeling broken and alone.
In the months following, I worked to build new friendships. I want to come forward and share my journey with you. I’m coming forward because so many of you did.
At the end of that post, I wrote that I was starting a journey and choosing to put myself out there. I think it’s time that I give you an update. Over the last year or so, I’ve been working purposefully on this and I have some things I want to share with you.
If you are a Lonely Mom, this is me saying, “Hello. I see you. Nice to meet you.”
- Find someone to talk to. Your partner, a family member, a therapist.
- It’s okay to feel lonely but it’s scary when you let it rule your life.
- Stepping out of loneliness and pursing relationship is hard, so take baby steps.
- Sometimes engaging in a conversation takes more energy than it seems worth, but every time you do it, it gets easier.
- Stepping out of your comfort zone is a muscle that you have to continue to work. You won’t find your tribe after one or two times. Building relationships is work.
- Not everyone that you connect with will become a friend and that’s okay. Don’t let that keep you from connecting with others. With that said, don’t put your energy towards people who don’t receive it. Remember, there isn’t anything wrong with you — the connection just wasn’t there.
- Relationships take time to build. It doesn’t happen overnight.
- And the biggest lesson- feeling lonely was something that can be controlled.
I’m here to say that over the last year, as I have begun to step out of my isolation and into the light of friends, I’ve learned that it’s easy to slip back into feeling lonely. When I feel overwhelmed, it’s really easy to pull back from everything and everyone so I know that I have to keep that in check.
I still struggle with feeling lonely. I don’t know that that is ever something that is going to go away. But I know that I don’t have to STAY feeling lonely. I’m going to continue to put one step in front of the other as I navigate building relationships. I’ve learned so much about myself this past year, including how much I need and value connection with other women. It’s not always an easy thing to do but I promise that it will get easier the more you do it.
If you are a lonely mom or know of someone who is, we encourage you to begin connecting with moms around you. A great place to do that is our new Community + Connection group, a safe place where moms from all over the Milwaukee area are making connection a priority.