Loneliness and Being A New Mum

Loneliness & Being A New Mum – Blog Post #17

Published on Wednesday 06th June 2024 by guest contributor Sarah Smith (CPFT Perinatal Peer Support Worker)

Becoming a mum is a period of transformation – but the accompanying physical, emotional, lifestyle and identity changes are often difficult to come to terms with.

The change in identity that is part of becoming a mum can lead to social isolation and loneliness. Meeting up with friends may be tricky for practical reasons (getting to and from places whilst pregnant or with a newborn can be overwhelming or you may not have as much disposable income or time) or emotional (you may feel that your friends don’t understand how your life has changed or your confidence may have taken a knock as you adjust to life with a baby). Going to work may have been the way in which you got your day-to-day social contact, and as for finding the time to do the activities and hobbies you once enjoyed…that can feel impossible. Finding friends who are also mums takes time, energy and effort – all of which are in short supply as you juggle life with a baby.

Perinatal Peer Support Workers from CPFT’s Perinatal Service talk about loneliness & being a new mum

All of this is completely normal, but that doesn’t make it easy – and social isolation and loneliness can negatively impact mental health and are known risk factors in the development of postnatal anxiety and depression. This is where a Perinatal Peer Support Worker from CPFT’s Perinatal Service could help.

So, who are we and what do we do? Perinatal Peer Support Workers are women with lived experience of mental health challenges who can support mums with their own recovery journey. Lived experience is at the centre of everything a Perinatal Peer Support Worker does. Being able to say: “I’ve been through something similar, and I understand”, can be a powerful starting point for the conversations that enable a new mum to start taking back control of her life.

Working as a Perinatal Peer Support Worker has given me the opportunity to explore my recovery story and share it with others. This has been empowering for me as it has turned a negative life experience into something positive. My experience enables me to empathise with others and see things from their perspective without judgement. For example, if it is relevant and helpful, I am willing to share my lived experience of being in an abusive relationship as this was a major factor in my sense of social and emotional isolation and the deterioration of my mental health. Shared experiences and similar stories help people to feel less alone.

Having said that, the process of recovery is led by the expectant or new mum and not driven by the Peer Support Worker – we let each woman to set the pace and the agenda, and we are flexible to her changing needs. One way we can help new mums overcome the barriers that may be stopping her from socializing is by accompanying her to postnatal or baby groups, to the shops or even just to spend time in a café. Because we’ve been there ourselves, we know how difficult these seemingly ‘normal’ activities can be on your own and how having someone by your side who understands can boost confidence.

Our ultimate aim is to instil hope for a positive future – that life can and will get better.

If you are pregnant or have a baby under 12 months old and have concerns about your mental health, please speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor about a referral to CPFT’s Perinatal Mental Health Service.

Share this page

Skip to content