Why a whopping 90 per cent of mums feel lonely
Having a baby brings with it many changes. Most of them are obvious - think sleepless nights, dramatic changes to your routine, worries about being utterly responsible for another human being - but many don't consider the impact it will have on their relationships. And loneliness can end up being a big factor.
In fact, a survey conducted by ChannelMum.com found that more than 90 per cent of mums admit to feeling lonely since having children.
And many of us suffer in silence rather than talking about it. The same survey found that three in five women tried to hide their feelings, and over a third have never even mentioned it to their partner.
Most mums (80 per cent) said they'd love to have more "mummy friends", but a third said they have never taken the initiative and started a conversation with another mother that led to becoming friends.
"We all know having a child takes a physical toll on your body, but it can take a mental toll too. It's terrifying that in our connected 'always on' society, nine in 10 mums still feel isolated and lonely, often with deeply troubling consequences," Siobhan Freegard, founder of Channel Mum, told Huffington Post UK.
This isolation can lead to other problems, with over half of respondents saying they suffered anxiety as a result of their loneliness.
One anonymous mother said, "I've felt alone and lonely since giving birth. I get visitors here and there, and my partner has days off, and I have my son every day – but I don't get to properly interact with people or go out, or have an actual conversation with someone. Some days I have no motivation to do anything."
Another mum shared, "I feel like I have changed as a mum and it's hard to accept. I find myself feeling so lonely even if people are there. My mum guilt makes me feel like I'm dying on the inside."
Over a third of mothers said they cry regularly, and a third also have feared leaving the house.
The survey found that the biggest source of loneliness was "cliquey and bitchy" groups of mums at the school gates, or at baby or toddler groups – over half of mums said they sometimes felt excluded.
Social media was also a source of distress, with over 40 percent saying that looking at other mums' "perfect lives" on social media only made them feel worse.
"Being a mum can be tough but we need to remember there is more that unites us than divides us," said Freegard.
"Scratch the surface and us mums are going through the same fears, worries and joys.
"As a society, we need to get back to the idea of taking a village to raise a child, and to help and support parents. So today, take the time to smile at another mum – it may be the only smile she gets all day, and could lead to the start of a new friendship."
Channel Mum has created the 'You Are Not Alone (#CMYANA) campaign' comes in. #CMYANA challenges mums to perform five daily activities to widen their friendship circle, meet new mums, and offer and feel support.
The activities are:
* Go to a toddler group or baby class and sit with a mum who is there alone.
* Go to the park and chat to another mum who is there by herself.
* Smile at every mum you meet.
* Get the phone number of one of the mums you meet today.
* Text them and arrange to meet for coffee.