The best thing to do when you're feeling isolated as a new mum

New mum isolation. I don’t know why it’s rarely talked about. If you’re a new mum, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. You’re never alone, always with this tiny little person who is completely dependent on you 24/7, yet the feeling of loneliness is real. I think it’s partly because we as mothers lack adult conversations. Also little ones often get sick (especially when they start going to daycare) so you need to keep them away from others. And when you’re sleep deprived night after night for an extended period of time, you just stop functioning properly as a human being and getting out of the house suddenly becomes a challenge. My body clock was completely messed up and I felt like I had no energy to leave the house, let alone going through a hassle of getting my baby and myself changed! It just felt like a huge effort to leave the house. Since becoming a mum, I also realised I have a completely different lifestyle to many of my friends who work 9 to 5. I had to go find new friends, new mum friends who I could meet up while my husband was away working and also wanted to chat to someone who understands my new situation.

I’m glad I made a decision to go back to teaching yoga when my daughter was 6 months old and started connecting with other like-minded mums in my local area. I’m also grateful that there are local playgroups providing space for new mothers to connect with other new mums. As I believe getting out of the house and finding face-to-face connections is the key to overcoming this feeling of loneliness, I’ve interviewed 3 lovely ladies who organise my favourite playgroups on the Central Coast NSW. Have a read below for their responses about what each group is like and their messages to new mums who may be experiencing the feeling of loneliness.

Avoca Beach Playgroup

9:30am every Tuesday at Ross Park

(Playground behind Avoca Beach Surf Club)

Group Coordinator: Sally Reeves

It's more a lovely mumma meet-up than a traditional Playgroup as such, and we like it that way. The park is fully fenced so great for little explorers (and even better for mums of toddlers and a newborn as you can actually relax without fear of the older one escaping or running off). It's all very casual and we find a spot under the sunshade on the sand. Feel free to turn up any time that works for you. We're usually there till lunch.

I post on our Facebook page and private Facebook group every Monday confirming we'll be there. In case of rain I'll suggest an alternative venue, usually the indoor playcentre at Kincumber. Though in the year since we've been running this has only happed about 4 times!

As we're a newish Playgroup, loads of the mums are new to the group, loads are new to the coast, everyone's in the same boat - feeling nervous about turning up for the first time, worried everyone will know each other and won't talk to you. Please don't worry about that, we're such a nice group and it's different people coming every week. There’re always new mums coming down so you won't be the only one!

We usually have around 5-10 mums each week, and it's different mums each week too. Some come every week, some come every so often. We don't charge a fee each week, though are part of Playgroup NSW and I run this as a volunteer.

Please come down and at least have a coffee and get out of the house and into the sunshine. We love it when new mums come down and it's definitely more the merrier! Make sure you like our Facebook page 'Avoca Beach Playgroup' to get the updates each week.

“Coast Play” Playgroup

9:30am-11:30am every Friday (School terms only)

Coast Community Church, Bensville

Group Coordinator: Emma Maher

We meet in the green building of Coast Community Church. We are a ministry of Coast Community Church but really we are set up to be for the community. The people who lead it go to the church. We usually get around 15 mums a week and around 25-30 kids. We have craft time, songs, reading time and we go and feed some local chickens also. So bring your boots! The wet weather is not an issue as we are very well equipped indoors with toys. I am aware of the group being at least 5 years old but it may be longer.

Just personally I have set myself up with multiple local mothers groups to feel connected. I was reluctant at first and was wary of competition or that I wouldn’t find people that I click with. But truly I haven’t found that to be the case at all. Even just for the social media side of things it has been very life affirming to have that bank of advice at my finger tips.

Friday meet ups in Terrigal

9am every Friday

Parklife Coffee, 11 Terrigal Drive Terrigal

Group Coordinator: Dani Tillett

We probably wouldn't even refer to it as a playgroup to be honest. It's more a case of a bunch of local mummas with a "more the merrier" attitude catching up casually at a local park over a coffee. As it stands we are all meeting on Fridays at Parklife cafe from 9am under the trees, super casual, there are no rules, no fees, no ages or school terms etc. considered, just come and go as you please. Wet weather, we just decide on the day and post to the fb page.

Message to mummas feeling lonely:

- Put yourself out there and don't beat yourself up. Making friends as an adult is hard, you wont click with everyone and it wont happen straight away. Give yourself 6 months to a year to establish good connections. 1st impressions aren't always correct. - The Coast has so many playgroups and amazing fb pages for mummas, try them all! Some wont suit you but don’t be put off, you'll find the ones that feel just right for you.

- Try to join at least 1 paid for group a week, its easy for anxieties and nerves to take over in the morning making you opt out of a free session, whereas if you've paid for it you will feel like you have to go and will build your confidence. If you aren't much of a talker hit up the activity based groups to start with - wiggles and giggles, library story time, swimming, messy play etc.

- If you don’t find a mummas group you like, create your own at the time that suits, you only need 2 of you and ask others you like to join you as you meet them

Thank you Sally, Emma & Dani for taking the time to provide comments above. Love what Sally said about getting out of the house and into the sunshine! I know it’s such a struggle sometimes trying to get yourself & your little one ready to leave the house but I always feel it’s worth the effort to meet other local mums and have someone to have adult conversations with. Sunshine is super important for the production of Vitamin D, the happy hormone. Vitamin D is essential for healthy function of immune system, brain and nervous system. I always notice how my mood changes every time I get out of the house and soak up the sun. Emma also made a good point about trying multiple playgroups in your local area. It’s good to have a different place to go to each day of the week and also having plans not affected by weather. Also loved what Dani said about having at least one paid for activity based class a week so that you need to schedule yourself to leave the house!!

Hope you choose to get out of the house and join one (or more) of the groups mentioned above. I met many lovely mums through these groups. If you’re looking for an activity based class you can attend with your baby or toddler, I’m running a child-friendly yoga class every Wednesday at Copacabana Surf Club until 27th March 2019. The class starts at 9:30am and goes for an hour. Please BYO yoga mat. Visit the link below for the full details of the class. You can pay for a single class or 5-class pass. Looking forward to seeing you on the mat and stretching with you soon!

Also on Monday 18th February 2019 from 9am to 12pm, I will be having a pop up eco stall at Parklife Coffee Terrigal (where one of the above groups meet up on Fridays) . If you feel like you'd love to come say hi and browse all earth-friendly products or just to have a chat, I'd love to see you there if you're fee and looking for an excuse to get out of the house! Visit the Facebook link below for more details of this event:

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