A Yorkshire based parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

THE BITTERSWEET LONELINESS & ISOLATION OF MOTHERHOOD.

As a new mama currently on maternity leave I’m constantly surrounded by my little person, I’m never actually alone & I live in a house which is so full of love, so why do I feel so lonely & isolated?

Mum & baby snuggling on bed looking at camera.

This pang of isolation has been severely unexpected - After all, it’s me that’s chose to fill my life, open my home & my heart to more people, it just doesn’t quite make sense. I’ve never felt this way before, in fact it’s quite ironic that this isolated period of my life is being spent with the human I love most in the world.

And I feel a little bit guilty about it.

I imagined maternity leave would be a breeze. I thought it’d be a time where I’d be getting so much done, I’d be working on myself & bettering myself with a couple of cutesy baby snuggles in between. When in reality a breeze is the furthest away weather maternity leave could have been. When I think about my time away from work it’s been more like a tumultuous storm & I'm just about getting though it.

Don’t get me wrong It’s been flipping amazing - But there's definitely been difficult times!

I found after childbirth a lot of attention was instantly put onto baby blues & postnatal depression, and quite rightly so, but nothing was ever mentioned about the loneliness and isolation I and so many others experience.

I feel lonely because by deciding to have my little Amelia I’ve taken on the selfless responsibility for another human being. I no longer have the luxury that my pre-baby self had of spending time with my friends, family & husband whenever and wherever I wanted.

Before I even think about wanting to do anything I have to think about how it’ll affect my little person & yes its me that’s put myself in this situation but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it has been.

My body, my mind, my marriage, my career—all of it was suddenly up in the air & thrown into chaos - And while I’m ridiculously happy to be mama, I’m also pretty conflicted. I miss my old self, my pre-baby life & that sense of loss, combined with the isolation of caregiving, makes me feel really flipping lonely - It’s so bittersweet!

When polled 74% of my followers agreed that they’d also felt lonely in motherhood, strangely enough with the same percentage saying they had a good support network around them - So again this begs the question of why do we feel so isolated?

Sadly, the answer seems to lie within ourselves - 76% of mama’s said they felt they brought the isolation on themselves & if I’m honest I think I'd put myself into that category too.

Mum & baby snuggling on bed.

Mum guilt is real.
We can’t seem to win!
So what's the solution?

Making new friends.
As an adult I think it’s pretty difficult to make friends & I’ve read so many posts from different bloggers agreeing, however I think when a baby’s added into the mix the feeling is definitely worsened. 
Amelia & I go to a weekly baby group on a Tuesday afternoon & as much as we love it & it’s the highlight of the week, I just don’t get on with the mums the way I’d expected to.
Before I had my daughter I thought I’d join various baby groups and suddenly fit into a group of six strong ass mamas, we’d chat, text, meet up for coffee, basically become best friends and live happily ever after with our babies - But that hasn’t happened. We chat and have fun with our kids for the hour, but then all seem to go our separate ways when the sessions finished.
In my head as I’m writing this I’m thinking ‘why don’t I break the mould? Why don’t I ask them for a coffee?’ Well for me it’s the fear of rejection & making myself look silly… And that fear is real!

Figuring out who I really am.
Something else that I feel is very much real is that feeling that I don’t have that much to offer. I spend so much time with my little girl that I’ve kind of forgotten how to be myself - And that’s really effing sad!
I think when I go back to work & start getting ‘my life back on track’ so to speak I’ll probably feel differently but for now I’m really unsure of who Claire is, I know who Claire, Amelia’s mama is, but Claire on her own I’m not 100% sure any more. 
I want to reinvent myself as the Girl Boss I know I can be!

Shaking off that feeling of just being a mum.
I suppose feeling like a shadow of my former self goes hand in hand with feeling like I’m just a mum - I’ve spoken about this as well as how I hate that phrase so many times now across my blog & social medias, but I just can’t shake the feeling.
I so easily get myself stuck down a rabbit hole of feeling like I’m solely on this planet to look after my tiny human, and once I’m in that frame of mind it’s difficult for me to get out of it.
I know it’s stupid - I spent so many years desperately wanting to become a mum, and now I’m here it’s not quite as I’d expected it to be - And it's so effing bittersweet!

I don’t 100% know the solution to combating new mama loneliness is! I’d like to think it’s time? But who’s for certain? Please let me know in the comments below.

Other than that, I’ll report back in few months.

I do know one way you can help though - Check in on your mama friends! Two thirds of people I polled believed their loved ones could have done more to help combat their loneliness - I think that's really sad considering only a slightly percentage said they had a good support network around them.
Again it’s as if we can’t win!
I think whether you send a quick 2 minute text or you get your mama out of the house for a coffee, it doesn’t really matter. All we want to know is that you’re there!

Can anyone else relate to the bittersweet feeling of loneliness & isolation as a mum? Please let me know in the comments below.

Claire.X

MAMA IN QUESTION: JESS HAMBLEY.

Welcome to my new mini-series 'Mama in Question' a 10 question questionnaire filled out by mama's all across the country, hoping to serve motherhood realness and show all new mums out there that we're all in this together... When in reality we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Jess Hambley.
Baby: Ada Hambley (10 months).


Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
Let Ada watch the Ipad or telly so I can get some house work done or an actually warm cup of coffee. 

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
Having a cesarian section and then a poorly colic ridden baby who wouldn't settle. It broke my heart I couldn't settle her and I needed help. 

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
Ada follows her own routine - the little diva - we aim to have her to bed between 7:30pm and 8:30pm. It's been hard but we try to follow her lead on things. 

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
The love and need I feel for someone so little who tests me and my limits on a daily basis. 


Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
No I feel its all air brushed to be perfect and I certainly feel although my little family is perfect for me it's not in comparison to what is portrayed online.

Q6. How do you feel about your post-partum body?
I love it! I don't mind my wobbly bits or my scar - It was what got my little cherub here. 

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
Ada saying 'mama' on mother's day.

Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
Since having ada I've learnt that letting go and saying fuck it is totally acceptable. It's also totally acceptable to not get dressed for the day.


Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
When people tell me Ada is a lovely child and so happy. I feel like we've finally cracked it!

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?
I'm excited for her to experience friendship and all the happiness that brings.

Jess's Instagram: @jessssicaaaannnn

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @__ClaireMac or send me an email to clairemacblog@gmail.com as I'd love for you to join the 'Mama's in Question' party bus.

You can answer whatever you feel comfortable answering, all I ask is that it's honest! I wan't to show others how flipping hard this parenting lark is!... Because I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for it! And we should! I'll of course be sharing the ish out of your social medias & blogs etc, so let's let loose, connect with one another and raise a glass to all those mamas just getting by!

Claire.X

MAMA IN QUESTION: MEGHAN WALSH.

Welcome to my new mini-series 'Mama in Question' a 10 question questionnaire filled out by mama's all across the country, hoping to serve motherhood realness and show all new mums out there that we're all in this together... When in reality we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Meghan Walsh

Baby: Skye Gillian Walsh (7months)

Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
Oh lord where do I start? I recently did a whole blog post on this - I said i'd never have a mum voice (if you follow me on instagram you will see by my stories that I 100% do), do the public bum sniff, post hundreds of pictures of her on social media, dress her in pink, let her watch TV (she is currently in love with Elmo and Cookie monster!)... I think what i'm trying to say is even if you have predefined ideas of what you will be like as a mum - come to terms with the fact that it will all change when reality hits!

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
I think the way Skye arrived in this world - I went into labour early when I was 33+4 weeks due to my placenta abrupting. It was a pretty scary ordeal where at one point both our lives were in danger - but Skye arrived at a teeny tiny 4lbs 5oz. She then had to spend the next 3 weeks in NICU which was impossibly hard. After my C Section I was discharged 4 days later - so I had two and a half weeks of being separated from my girl which at the time felt like a life time. Some days if she was under lamps or in an incubator I couldn't even cuddle her - I didn't get to hold her until she was 4 hours old and it was only for a minute before she had to be put back in the incubator. I was so worried at the time it would affect our bond as mother and daughter - but 7 months down I can tell you it hasn't!

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
I was always very adamant that Skye had to fit in with our lives and not the other way around - but what I find now is there are certain quirks to her routine which I do my best to take into consideration when making plans! For example Skye now sleeps on her tummy - so napping out and about in her pram is tricky! She will do it but not for as long as normal - so I just try and do things a couple of times a week out and about instead of everday! I wouldn't say Skye has a strict routine - we've tracked her sleeping and eating since she was tiny and when I saw a pattern I sort of went along with it!

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
Just quite how relentless it can be sometimes! I used to see all the memes about not being able to drink a hot cup of coffee all day and I would think that it was silly - surely they would play for 5 mins while you could sip away! I get it now - its not that you don't have that time necessarily - it's that when they are happy for 5 minutes you have a list of about 3,584 other jobs that need doing!

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
I think some people do it brilliantly and sometimes I think some people gloss it up and don't admit when its really hard. I've always tried to be really honest online - and the number of messages I get thanking me is so lovely - but makes me think we still have a way to go! I do find the memes funny now - but I remember when I was pregnant they all felt so negative and they really made me worry if I was cut out for motherhood.

Q6. How did you decide upon your baby's name?
I have wanted to call a baby Skye since I was about 10! Shes named after the Scottish Island - I went on holiday as a kid once and I loved the name ever since. Her middle name is Gillian after my mum who sadly passed away when I was 12 - so it feels lovely to have that connection. 

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
I think the first time we took her swimming sticks in my mind, we were in Scotland on our first holiday and we were staying in a holiday house i've stayed at every year since I was Skye's age - so it reminded me of my parents and it just felt so special. First time I ever swam I am sure was in that pool too - it felt like a real 360 moment!

Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
I am SO much more productive now - I used to be pretty lazy but I have found that if you give me an hr and a half naptime now I can take on the world!!!

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
Seeing Skye flourish - as a preemie baby I was always worried she would struggle or be behind in things and it turns out that she has hit some milestones before full term babies - and that makes me beam with pride!

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?
Everything - I cant wait for her to make friendships which feel like they are your whole world... oh and I can't wait to take her on holiday and introduce her to cultures and new places!

Meghan's Blog: www.meghanwalshblogs.wordpress.com
Meghan's Instagram: @meghanwalshblogs
Meghan's Twitter: @megatron1002

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @__ClaireMac or send me an email to clairemacblog@gmail.com as I'd love for you to join the 'Mama's in Question' party bus.

You can answer whatever you feel comfortable answering, all I ask is that it's honest! I wan't to show others how flipping hard this parenting lark is!... Because I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for it! And we should! I'll of course be sharing the ish out of your social medias & blogs etc, so let's let loose, connect with one another and raise a glass to all those mamas just getting by!

Claire.X

MAMA IN QUESTION: CLARE POTTS.

Welcome to my new mini-series 'Mama in Question' a 10 question questionnaire filled out by mama's all across the country, hoping to serve motherhood realness and show all new mums out there that we're all in this together... When in reality we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Clare Potts
Baby: Eva Victoria Anderson



Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
I probably do so many to be honest, I'm always sniffing her bum in public and doing a mum voice! But the one I was adamant about not doing that I do pretty much every day is say Eva's age in months and weeks. I always used to get so confused when people would say 'oh she's 21 and a half months' and think, just say she's nearly 2! But a month makes such a difference when you're a tiny baby, every week makes a difference. I am actively trying to stop it now but I still said 'she'll be 10 months in a couple of days' in Aldi earlier when someone asked me, sigh.

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
The complete relentlessness of it all. You're never off duty, even if someone else is looking after her she's still constantly on my mind and I ask for updates all the time. I think I would be slightly different if I wasn't breastfeeding anymore as I'm always worried she'll be hungry or thirsty if I'm not there, just a nice extra dose of mum guilt.

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
Thankfully Eva was pretty keen to get herself into a routine quite early on so it's not been too difficult to establish one. It changes all the time but the basic structure always stays the same, basically sleep, feed, play repeat! I love a bit of routine and structure so I was always keen to get one in place. I actually have a new blog post all about our 9 month old baby routine if you fancy a nosey. 


Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
I think it was the fact that I knew nothing about babies before, there are so many tiny (and huge!) details that you have no idea about before you have a baby. The amount that it changes your body (oh hi post partum hair loss), what clothes they need to wear in different temperatures, how to wean them, how many times you need to change their nappy, even down to the little things like I bought Eva a pillow and duvet while I was pregnant not realising she wouldn't need them until she was over a year old... 

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
It completely depends to be honest, some people portray an idyllic view and some people go so far the other way that it can be hard to tell what the truth actually is. I think the majority of people I follow have a good balance, usually with aspirational photos but realistic captions on their feed and honest Instagram stories. You never really know what it's like until you experience it though and it's different for everyone! My favourite Mum Instagram accounts are Disasters of a Thirty SomethingHannah Gale and The Frugality, they're all 'real', have a similar style to me (I love me some fashion and beauty content as well as motherhood) and are totally honest.

Q6. How did you decide upon your baby's name?
Eva was the first name Joe and I agreed on very early on! We switched to Margot a bit later on but when she was born she seemed more like an Eva so we went back to that. Her full name is Eva Victoria Anderton so her initials are EVA too which was a happy accident! Victoria is my middle name (pretty much all of the eldest girls in my family have Victoria as a middle name, it's a bit of a tradition) and Anderton is my boyfriend's last name, so there's a bit of both of us in there.

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
Oh I have so many, Eva is such a lovely baby that there's something every day that makes me so happy. But my favourite times are when it's just Eva, Joe and I are at home playing together, nothing can beat a bit of family time. Eva and I also went to Paris on our own which was a bit daunting but an amazing trip, I'm so glad we did it.


Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
I was so selfish before! Rightfully so I as I didn't have anyone depending on me but now there's no way I can be selfish. Eva takes priority at pretty much all times, even down to what I wear so I can easily feed her or carry her in public.

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
Honestly it changes every times she does something new, I'm an overly proud mother! I love it when she learns something new like rolling over, standing up or clapping, I love that she's becoming a little person more and more each day. I'm basically going to explode with pride when she gets or job or something in the future!

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?

Oh so many things! I cannot wait for her to swim in the sea, to try chocolate, to run around, to make friends, to learn so many new things, to meet all of our friends and family, to hear live music. Basically everything that makes people happy!

Clare's Blog: www.thelifelately.com
Clare's Instagram: @thelifelately
Clare's Twitter: @iliketweet

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @__ClaireMac or send me an email to clairemacblog@gmail.com as I'd love for you to join the 'Mama's in Question' party bus.

You can answer whatever you feel comfortable answering, all I ask is that it's honest! I wan't to show others how flipping hard this parenting lark is!... Because I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for it! And we should! I'll of course be sharing the ish out of your social medias & blogs etc, so let's let loose, connect with one another and raise a glass to all those mamas just getting by!

Claire.X

MAMA IN QUESTION: NATALI TOPLIFF.

Welcome to my new mini-series 'Mama in Question' a 10 question questionnaire filled out by mama's all across the country, hoping to serve motherhood realness and show all new mums out there that we're all in this together... When in reality we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Natali Topliff
Baby: Isaac (16 months)



Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
Share pictures of him online. I was adamant I wouldn't share any on social media, but when he was born I wanted to show off how cute he was! I still change my mind all the time about whether I should or shouldn't share pictures, especially on Instagram as my profile isn't private.

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
Learning that you are never alone now. I have a little buddy in every aspect of my day, my baths/showers are invaded, I have someone on my lap when I go to the toilet, and all my food is his too! 

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
We have no routine, we follow his lead entirely. Some days it works and others it doesn't. Overall I am happy with how we have approached raising him.

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
My patience! I had very little before and made sure I always had 'me' time to recharge mentally. Now I never have time to myself, but somehow I have endless patience with the little one. He can be pulling my hair and hitting me, and I still don't get annoyed with him.

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
Yes if you follow the right people! There are so many wonderful people on social media who are open about the ups and downs of motherhood. If you only follow 'celebrities' then you will see unattainable goals that can only be reached with dieticians, personal trainers, and in-house nannies.

Q6. How did you decide upon your baby's name?
We actually had the name Lucas picked out as the boy's name from very early on (we didn't know the gender until birth), however, as we got closer to the due date we started liking Isaac more. We knew a couple that were due the day after us, and they were naming their boy Luca, so we decided on Isaac 100%.

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
The first day my mum babysat him. I have an attachment style of parenting and didn't feel comfortable leaving him with other people for quite a while. My mum babysat Isaac a few months ago so me and my OH could go to the cinema, I was checking my phone the whole film, but he had a wonderful time with his nanny C!

Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
As I pointed out above I have so much more care and patience than I ever thought I could have. Overall I think I'm a much more understanding and empathetic person. I have also impressed myself with how well I am able to keep going without sleep ;)

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
Honestly, every day I find something to be proud of! Isaac is my best friend and total partner in crime, at his current age it's like he is showing me something new daily. I see his caring, sweet personality starting to come out and I could not be prouder of the young boy he is becoming!


Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?The world! (Putting aside my worries about the future of our planet) I am so excited for him to learn, and meet people, to see things I only dreamed about, or to fall completely head over heels in love!

Natali's Blog: www.talilifestyle.com
Natali's Instagram: @tali.lifestyle

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @__ClaireMac or send me an email to clairemacblog@gmail.com as I'd love for you to join the 'Mama's in Question' party bus.

You can answer whatever you feel comfortable answering, all I ask is that it's honest! I wan't to show others how flipping hard this parenting lark is!... Because I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for it! And we should! I'll of course be sharing the ish out of your social medias & blogs etc, so let's let loose, connect with one another and raise a glass to all those mamas just getting by!

Claire.X