Its real. Its so very real, and I don’t believe its anything to feel ashamed about. I have read and seen a lot on the Legacy of Jo Cox, and I really wanted to share my experience for what is a brilliant campaign.
Loneliness can be crushing and soul destroying, and it is something I feel so strongly about. Not just from a parents point of view, but I have worked within care settings where there are elderly who have no one, day in day out other than carers they are alone with no familiar face to see, and I have seen first hand what it can do to a person, how it can make a person lose hope and faith in the world because they simply see it as they are alone with no one to care whether they are here or not. But that isn’t true. I cared, as I’m sure many others did too.
Reading about Jo Cox’s Legacy inspired me to write this post. To tell people my view, and bring comfort to anyone, parent or no parent, in what is an extremely dark time. I have felt this darkness, this empty hole within a centre surrounded by nothing but happy, and joyful times with my wonderful children. Should I feel bad that I felt lonely? Does that mean I regretted that I had my children? Absolutely not.
My children are my greatest achievement, my light in everything I do, and my reason for what ever path I choose in my life. My children bring me a happiness unlike anything I’ve ever known. But that doesn’t mean that at times, Motherhood hasn’t had its lows. There have been many days where I’ve felt extremely alone, whilst being surrounded by children, and even adults.
Parenthood is a huge rollercoaster of firsts, both good and bad. Loneliness is not one of the bad things you hear of often, but just because you don’t hear about it, doesn’t mean it is any less real.
I’ve never had a huge circle of friends around me, I’ve always been a bit low key. I never went to any baby groups, and I’ve never really had anyone close enough, other than a couple of close friends, and my husband that I’ve felt I could really open up to and feel comfortable about it. I will put my hands up, this is my doing, I was too shy to go to the baby groups, and meeting new people makes me a little anxious. There have been many days spent alone with my children, and whilst I obviously love being around them, there is only so much baby talk, paw patrol, pat-a-cake, and pretend play I can take at times. There have been days where all I’ve wanted is someone who got it. Someone who could walk through the door during my darkest times to say “Hey, its ok, I get it, I know.”
Someone who you could speak to during the cold and dark of 2am, whilst you sit there feeding your baby with eyes that sting from the lack of sleep, and the inevitability that in another few hours you’ll be right back here again.
Some days I would sit in the living room watching the day go past, longing to go to work, for my husband to come home, for my parents to walk through the door for a visit, just so I could talk. Talk about the news, talk about the weather, talk about anything with someone who could talk back to me in a language I knew. That may make me sound awful to some, but its a reality, a reality that not all people cope the same way you perhaps do, not everyone will get it like you, so please, take a step back and look at the person. Don’t just hear the person, listen to them. Sometimes that’s all they need. Sometimes that’s all I needed. For someone to listen, and if they didn’t understand it, then just be there all the same, to comfort a person who may not be obviously crying out, but trying so hard in many other ways to tell you that they need some help. To tell you of the loneliness and darkness that may be overcoming them.
Don’t bottle it in. Speak out, and don’t just be heard.