Women who feel isolated in motherhood but struggle to admit it often exhibit these 9 subtle behaviors

Becoming a mother is an incredible, life-altering experience. But it’s not always rainbows and butterflies – there’s a less talked about side of motherhood that can be incredibly isolating.

It’s not easy to admit when we’re feeling alone, especially when society often paints motherhood as a joyous journey filled with nothing but love and happiness.

Many women, however, experience feelings of isolation during this time but struggle to voice it. They might display certain subtle behaviors that hint at their emotional state.

In this article, we will delve into 9 subtle signs that may indicate a mom is feeling isolated but is finding it hard to express. Let’s lift the veil and talk about something that’s often swept under the rug.

1) They’re often quieter than usual

When it comes to identifying isolation in motherhood, changes in communication are key.

Take a moment and think back. Is she quieter than usual lately?

Women feeling isolated in motherhood may find themselves withdrawing from conversations. It’s not that they’ve suddenly run out of things to say. It’s more about the overwhelming emotions they’re grappling with.

This isn’t a conscious decision to shut out the world. Instead, it’s a natural response to the disconnection they feel.

Feeling isolated can make it hard to express thoughts and emotions, leading to less engagement in conversations. This change may be subtle and gradual rather than sudden, making it easier to overlook.

2) They’re always putting on a ‘happy face’

We’ve all heard of the term “masking,” right?

In psychology, it refers to the act of hiding one’s true feelings or emotions. It’s like putting on a mask that displays what we believe others want to see. We do this to fit in, to avoid uncomfortable questions, or because we think it’s what’s expected of us.

Well, guess what?

Many mothers who feel isolated often resort to “masking.” They may constantly project an image of happiness and contentment, even when they’re feeling quite the opposite inside.

It’s a coping mechanism, a way to hide their struggle with loneliness and isolation from the world around them. They believe it’s easier to pretend everything is fine than admit they’re having a hard time.

But constant positivity isn’t always a sign of genuine happiness. Sometimes, it’s a mask hiding deep feelings of isolation.

3) They may seem overly busy or absorbed in tasks

While it might seem counter-intuitive, mothers feeling isolated might appear to be busier than ever. Linking back to the concept of ‘masking’, this is another way they cope with their feelings of loneliness.

Instead of expressing their emotions, they bury themselves in tasks. Whether it’s house chores, work commitments, or activities with their children, every moment seems occupied.

On the surface, it looks like a full, productive life. But under the facade, this constant busyness serves as a distraction from the isolation they are experiencing.

It’s an attempt to fill the void with activities, hoping that by keeping busy, they can keep their minds off their feelings of loneliness.

4) They avoid socializing, even with close friends

Ever noticed how some mothers start to decline invitations to social events?

Social withdrawal is a common, yet subtle sign of feeling isolated in motherhood. It might seem odd, especially when you consider that socializing is a way to combat loneliness.

However, when a mother feels isolated, she may start to feel disconnected from her friends, particularly those who aren’t parents themselves. She might feel they won’t understand her struggles or that she has become too different to fit in.

Moreover, the act of socializing itself can sometimes exacerbate feelings of loneliness. Seeing others seemingly happy and content can serve as a stark reminder of their own emotional state.

5) They’re always the ones offering help, but never asking for it

Isn’t it interesting how some mothers are always ready to lend a hand, but never seem to need any help themselves?

I’ve noticed this in my own circle and perhaps you have too. In their struggle with feelings of isolation, these women often position themselves as the ‘givers’ in their relationships.

Why?

Well, by offering help, they create a sense of connection without having to reveal their vulnerabilities. It allows them to feel valued and needed, which can momentarily alleviate feelings of loneliness.

But let’s keep in mind that motherhood is a journey filled with trials and tribulations. It’s perfectly normal to ask for help.

6) They’re overly critical of their own parenting skills

Overly critical of parenting skills Women who feel isolated in motherhood but struggle to admit it often exhibit these 9 subtle behaviors

Imagine a mother who’s always second-guessing her decisions. She’s constantly worried that she’s not doing enough or that she’s doing it all wrong. She compares herself to other mothers and finds herself lacking.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Have you come across a mother who’s overly critical of her own parenting?

This might be more than just the usual parenting worries. Self-doubt and incessant self-criticism can sometimes stem from feelings of isolation.

When a mother feels alone in her journey, she might start believing she’s the only one struggling, leading to negative self-perception. This self-criticism often feeds into her isolation, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.

7) They often seem lost in their thoughts

When my best friend became a mother, I noticed a subtle change in her. During our catch-ups, she would often seem distant, lost in her own world. At first, I brushed it off as new-mom fatigue. But over time, I realized it was something more.

Mothers feeling isolated might often appear preoccupied or lost in thought. Rather than being present in the moment, they’re wrestling with their feelings of loneliness and isolation.

While it might seem like they’re just daydreaming, this shift towards introspection is often a coping mechanism. It’s their way of trying to make sense of their emotions while maintaining an exterior of ‘normalcy’.

8) They’re forgetting to care for themselves.

In the whirlwind of diaper changes, feedings, school runs, and endless laundry, they may find themselves neglecting their own needs.

They might skip meals, forget to drink enough water, or ignore their need for rest. They might push their physical boundaries, all in the name of being a good mother.

But here’s the thing: neglecting self-care isn’t a badge of honor. It’s not sustainable and can lead to both physical and emotional burnout.

Taking care of yourself is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. And it’s just as much a part of being a good mother as taking care of your children.

9) They have a strong desire for solitude

Finally, and perhaps most paradoxically, mothers who feel isolated might express a strong desire for solitude.

Sounds odd, right? But consider this: when a mother is struggling with feelings of isolation, she’s essentially grappling with feelings of emotional disconnect. In these circumstances, solitude can sometimes feel less painful than being around people who seem oblivious to her emotional state.

Desiring solitude isn’t about wanting to be alone per se. It’s more about seeking a safe space where they don’t have to hide their feelings or put on a facade. It’s a place where they can be honest with themselves about their struggles.

What can we do to combat the isolation?

Feeling isolated in motherhood can be a debilitating experience. But remember, it’s okay to admit it if you’re struggling.

Here are a few things you can do to help combat the isolation:

  • Reach out to friends or family, even if it’s just for a quick chat.
  • Join local parent groups or online communities where you can share experiences and gain support.
  • Seek professional help if your feelings of isolation are overwhelming and affecting your daily life.
  • Make time for self-care, whether it’s a hot bath, a quiet read, or just a few minutes of deep breathing.

Feeling isolated doesn’t make you a bad mother. It simply makes you human. And sometimes, the bravest thing we can do is admit that we need help.

Let’s remember that it’s okay to not be okay all the time. Motherhood is a journey with its ups and downs, and it’s okay to ask for directions when we feel lost.

After all, aren’t we all just learning as we go?

Picture of Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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