It should be the most joyful time of their lives but for most new mothers the year after the birth of their first baby turns out to be the loneliest.
Cut off from family, friends and work colleagues, mothers find it very different to the cosy world they had imagined, a new survey has revealed.
Almost two in three live some distance from their own mothers and more than half (53 per cent) say they feel “lonely and isolated”.
The survey also found nine out of ten lamented the loss of the social life they enjoyed before baby arrived, and about two-thirds said they “feel cut off from normal life”.
Not so many generations ago, most would have lived in the same area as their own mothers and would have enjoyed a network of family support and company.
But the poll of 2000 new mothers, commissioned by Mother and Baby magazine, shows that today only 29 per cent live in the same town as their parents and only seven per cent in the same city.
Mother and Baby editor Elena Dalrymple said leaving work and having a baby was a huge physical and emotional change.
“Friends without babies drift off, grandparents live miles away, neighbours are barely on nodding terms, other mums you bump into at the shops aren’t your type and the social life you once knew has ground to a halt,” Ms Dalrymple said.
“Meanwhile, babies are extremely demanding and life for new mums can be very lonely in our modern anti-social society.
To combat lonliness, today’s mothers have to create networks of friends and neighbours.
But only ten per cent mix with their neighbours. Almost half say they have never really spoken to their neighbours. A third feel tearful and 20 per cent feel they have no one to talk to.
The average new mother spends only ninety minutes a day in the company of others. – apart from when their partner arrives home – and 34 per cent said they usually spend all day alone.
A quarter say their relationship has gone downhill since having a baby. Only nineteen per cent say their relationship is strong.