Last year executive and maternity coach Sarah Turner and I put together a series of videos covering everything from preparing to go on maternity leave to returning to work. Out of these conversations came a wealth of additional topics that we think are important within that journey, which we will be covering in the coming months.
In this video we talk about loneliness in motherhood. We have come across this topic a lot both as coaches and from our own experiences of having children and being on maternity leave.
In this video we discuss:
Why loneliness is more common than you might think
Things we wish we had known and put into practice
How coaching can support you in this area
Loneliness can often be difficult to talk about and has a stigma attached to it. Because there is a lack of conversations around this topic it is easy to think that you are the only one feeling this way, which makes it harder to realise that we are struggling and take steps to get support.
Lack of structure often leads to less regular interactions and connection with people, whether it’s micro interactions with someone at the coffee shop or on your way to work, or friends that are in a different stage of life. Interactions also often become harder because of lack of sleep and a dip in confidence and not feeling your best self. It is important to recognise that loneliness is part of the human experience and everyone feels loneliness to some degree at some point in their lives. Saying it out loud can be helpful in removing the stigma from this experience and seeing it as a reasonable response to the big change in routine that occurs during maternity leave. Knowing that you are not the only one feeling this way is incredibly important.
Things we wish we had known and put into practice:
You are not the only one feeling this way
Comparing yourself to people around you and on social media that appear not to be lonely can exacerbate the feeling
Loneliness is a feeling generated by our bodies as a call for something we need, in this case connection
Knowing that both small and big interactions can fulfil this need
Staying connected to systems or groups that you were a part of before you were a mum will remind you that you are still you
Keeping in touch days can be incredibly useful to remind you of who are in addition to being a mum
Being aware of loneliness can help you make things as easy as possible for yourself before you are in the grips of loneliness
A coaching session can be a great space to be vulnerable and share your feelings and experiences. Your coach can then help you uncover any underlying needs you may have at the moment and what steps you can take to support yourself.
My colleague Sarah Turner and I have been busy creating content highlighting the importance of organisations providing support for working parents. As part of this, we created this video series exploring the entire journey of maternity leave, from before the leave starts, through to preparing to return and then the first few months back at work.
If your organisation would like to understand more about how to support line managers in managing their employees as they take parental leave, please get in touch.
This blog post is a collaboration between Maternity Coaches Laura Duggal and Sarah Turner. They are working together, sharing their experiences and bringing the best of their joint advice and knowledge to you.