Tips for preventing loneliness for parents

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Loneliness is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from now until 15 May.

Feelings of isolation and loneliness affect millions of people in the UK and the week's goal is to raise awareness of the impact of this on our mental wellbeing. 

Lots of people experience loneliness at different times in their lives. If you’re a new parent, you’ll understand how having children turns your world upside down. And how, if you’re at home alone on maternity or paternity leave, it’s can feel lonesome.

Woman alone with pram

A study by the British Red Cross found that 83% of mums under the age of 30 have feelings of loneliness some of the time, while 43% said they feel lonely all of the time. Another survey found that 90% of new mums felt lonely since giving birth with over half feeling they had no friends.

If you’re feeling this way, don’t beat yourself up about it. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent, or don’t enjoy time with your baby. It’s okay to crave the company of another adult.

Here are some ideas to help you connect with others:

Turn to Peanut
A mum friendly app, Peanut recognises that making new mummy friends isn’t the easiest thing in the world. So, the app is designed to do it for you. It’s free to sign up. You simply create a profile and the app’s algorithm will match you with fellow mothers based on location and interests. You can even start group chats and sync your calendars to arrange meet-ups. Pura has chatted to a few mums and mums-to-be who have made new besties via the app. 

Fit friends

Pram fit

Fitting in exercise and socialising with a new baby can feel almost impossible, but not if you combine the two. Seek out classes like Buggy Fit designed to provide safe postnatal exercise with other mums without needing sitters for your babies. These classes are a great way to find friends and boost your fitness and wellbeing at the same time. 

Hit the library

It might not seem like the logical play to socialise, but local libraries quite often run book reading or story time sessions for toddlers and babies. It’s usually free, and a great opportunity to chat to the other mums - and hopefully strike up a friendship or too.

Set up phone calls  

Woman on phone

If meet ups aren’t possible, try to arrange a weekly phone call (not just a text/email message exchange) with an existing friend or family member. This doesn’t have to be with another parent. If you’re the first person in your friendship group to have children, it can feel like you no longer have anything in common. But talking to people about other things than your baby can make you feel like you again. So give it a shot.

 If feelings of loneliness overwhelm you, it's best to speak to a professional. Check out your local resources by visiting the NHS website

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