Pregnancy is supposed to be this wonderful period when a woman grows gradually into motherhood, surrounded by similarly pregnant friends and wise old relatives who have been there, done that. For the luckiest pregnant women, that camaraderie is exactly what pregnancy – not to mention birth and parenting – is all about. For the rest of us, pregnancy and everything that follows can actually be kind of lonely.
If you’re pregnant and lonely, you should know that loneliness during pregnancy is actually not unusual. The first woman in a group of friends to procreate may find herself not only unable to share what she’s going through with her besties, but also an object suddenly worthy of study. A soon-to-be mama with mostly guy friends can feel this even more acutely. And even if a woman has pregnant friends, her pregnancy may be so different from theirs that she feels effectively isolated. After all, even a normal nine months can be stressful! It can be really hard to meet moms (to be) who are facing the same issues.
During pregnancy, you feel a sort of separateness already because your body is changing in ways that even the people closest to you can’t fully understand. If you’ve chosen to keep your pregnancy under wraps until some specific point in time, that can add to feelings of loneliness. And when your pregnancy is particularly rough physically or emotionally, feelings of loneliness may even be related to friends growing more distant. Plus, even the most supportive spouses and partners can have trouble empathizing with all of the things a pregnant woman will go through in the months before birth.
So how can you combat loneliness during pregnancy? The first step is to find a community of people who will understand, insofar as they can, what you’re going through as you gestate that baby. That means you need to meet moms! You might have to build up your own community from scratch, and that might be easier online that offline if don’t have any pregnancy support groups in your area. The second step is to be honest about how you’re feeling – especially with your spouse or partner and your family. They may not even realize that you’re feeling lonely, and telling them gives them a chance to step up and help. The third step is to watch for signs of depression – while not everyone who is lonely is depressed, loneliness can be a sign of depression in pregnancy.