New Parent Social Isolation

Wow, I feel like I’ve recently emerged from a long winter’s sleep. My daughter is now 15 months old and suddenly in the past month or two I’ve realized how utterly socially isolated and disconnected I’ve been. I’ve barely talked to my dearest friends, I haven’t been out of the house much at all, and I definitely haven’t been outside of my comfort zone.

And I think all of that is perfectly OK and natural for a new parent. It’s a lot of hard work to nurture an infant and it felt perfectly right for me to throw myself into motherhood so fully and completely. But now that I’m emerging from the haze of my daughter’s infancy I’m reminded that it’s my commitment to my highest values that will most positively impact her life.

So, if I value authentic relating and community, then I’d better step up and start acting like it again! After I gave birth to my daughter I was amazed at how little anything else mattered any more. It was like everything that had mattered the most in my life was reduced to a tiny sliver of importance and my daughter took up 99.9% of everything that mattered to me. I can feel that shifting now.

Sure, my family is HUGELY important to me. And nurturing and supporting my husband and daughter are some of the things that matter most. But there’s a new space opening up in me that still cares about the things that mattered BEFORE parenthood. Community. Authenticity. Honesty. Facing my fears bravely. Showing up BIG in my life. Fiercely supporting my clients to make big changes in their lives.

I’ve been gone for a while. I’ve been doing what I’ve needed to do to lay a strong foundation of love and trust between my child and me. But I’m ready to step out of my comfortable little nest and make an even bigger difference in the world. It’s important to me that I continue to learn, grow, and stretch. Because reaching out and challenging myself gives me a sense of purpose and joy. I also deeply want my daughter to live a passionate and inspired life. And I know that the best way to ensure that is to model it for her, myself.

So, fair warning, I’m about to bust out and share even more of myself with you and with the world. Goodbye ‘New Parent Social Isolation’ and Hello World!

I would love to know if this was your experience of the first year of your child’s life. Did you hibernate? And was there a time when you suddenly felt ready to re-engage socially? I want to hear your story!

Tons of love, Shelly

4 comments
JayGaddis
JayGaddis

yes. social isolation big time. it is a choice tho. It's probably different for each of us.

We had 1 kid, i disappeard for a bit, my wife more so, then after a few months I was able to maintain my social life quit well. My wife less so. She was breastfeeding, then her body started growing our 2nd baby. Once our 2nd came into the world, I simply had to surrender to family. Now my son is nearly 3, my daughter nearly 1 and it's full-fuckin-on. Very little room for me and when I get it, i'd rather sleep.

I hear you kinda shoulding yourself here a bit. I don't think there's anything wrong with surrendering to your family and staying in that fire. With 2, it's hard to maintain any kind of life and I personally don't have a problem with that. My life is raising two bad-ass kids, staying in an "alive, sexy" marriage and learning as much as I can about me. It's AWESOME.

And, yes, there's a real cost. I feel grief having lost my friends and the unavoidable reality that my friendships have changed. And, i'm a YES to it.

AwakeShelly
AwakeShelly moderator

@JayGaddis Hey Jay, I'm right there with you. I have absolutely no regrets about my choices. I'm just keenly aware of the losses of peer relationships right now. I hadn't really thought about it in terms of grief before, but that's surely what I'm experiencing. I'm simultaneously so happy about all the wonderful gains of deepening my connection with my immediate family. But I'm also surprised that I haven't been able to achieve more of a balance.

I'm sure that with more than one child, it can quickly become near impossible to achieve any kind of balance, especially when our kids are young. Or maybe it's just a new kind of balance with a smaller circle of connections.

Thanks for speaking up and sharing your truth here. I really appreciate it and am enjoying connecting with you so much! Warm hugs, Shelly

Shelly
Shelly

Cool Vanessa, Thanks for sharing your blog with us! I'm amazed that you can type at all while nursing. I have a hard time multitasking while nursing :) Have a great day!