The Loneliness of The Long Distance Mother

“I didn’t have a mother’s group when my first was a baby.

young baby laying on a blanket on the floor with quizzical expression on their face

What I did have, were a lot more feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

I often felt like I was doing something wrong, or that my son, Connor was doing something wrong. I knew I didn’t need to call the doctor, but not knowing anyone who could answer questions about what he was doing, caused a lot of stress and anxiety.

I was bored, especially when he was really tiny. 

I could read or talk, but there wasn’t anything I could really DO with him. I didn’t have the support to work through nursing questions. He just weaned at 3 weeks, and that was that. There was no one saying “If you try ‘this’ or ‘this’, you can work things out, and keep nursing.”

With my second, I found Donna had a really nice, safe place called the New Mother’s Social Circle.

It was a group where I could get answers. I could find out what other mothers’ experiences were. I was able to vent–I think there’s a benefit in that. I learned that in a nursing relationship, there’s no deadline. I learned about carseat issues: that just because your baby is 23 pounds, you don’t have to turn them forward facing. I learned so much! I made mom friends, and my daughter, Cori, made good friends, as well.

It gave me something to look forward to. 

I was more likely to get dressed and go “do something.” With my first, I used to stay in my pajamas all day, because there was not much point in moving my body out of my home. Coming to the mother’s circle benefitted my mental health. And when you are around people and feel good, your physical health also improves.

The Mother’s Circle is a casual, semiprivate meeting where everyone is expected to say who they are. 

So, I really got to know the other people, and I felt safe enough that my baby could lie on the floor with other babies, and I could be alone in the bathroom. Coming weekly was a really convenient way to foster friendships. When I had a sensitive subject, I could tag off someone else’s mentioning it and say, “Me too!” We commiserated and did not feel alone.

Donna holds a very welcoming and safe place, to talk about mothering. 

There is always someone there who has just been through what you are going through, or is going through the same thing. I feel a camaraderie and know I am not alone – I don’t have to face parenting, and life, in a constant state of confusion and anxiety. The group helped most when my milk supply dropped during ovulation. I was encouraged to continue, so I didn’t just quit and say, “Nursing didn’t work.”

Mother and toddler nursing on a rust colored sofa. child holds up a cookie  and is staring at it. Mother is smiling and looks like she is ready to laugh

The group helped me with being more patient and understanding.  

Children have different skills and understanding. I could see some children walking at 10 months, others at 15 months, and both are normal. It’s easier to not compare, when you see so many differences among all the children. I could see how other mothers handle children who are “firmly attached.” My daughter learned how to socialize with other kids because I was close, not because she was alone.

Donna is very informative and inclusive.

She offers lots of information around what, and why, choices are made. She never makes someone feel wrong with their choices. She’s clear and honest in what she sees–there’s not a lot of sugar coating–but she’s kind, warm and thorough, not blunt and cold. She has a wealth of knowledge, which has helped me make my own decisions. I feel confident doing things the way I feel is the right way.

As a mother of a two year old, I’m really grateful for the confidence I have now. 

Going week-to-week and hearing someone else say, “Maybe you should get that checked?” or “I don’t think you have to worry about that.” gave me confidence to trust my inner voice. I am more assertive and confident now, with people who don’t parent like me, or who criticize me. 

I’m happy with the friendships I’ve made. 

I see people from the group at the supermarket and around town, and now, I have a background when I talk with them. I feel I am finally in a real community.

Marcia Campbell, mother of Connor and Cori

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