Emma's story: loneliness as a new parent

May 2022

Having your first baby can be a lonely and isolating time. Emma shares her experience of loneliness as a new mum and how getting support with her mental health helped build her confidence to connect with others again

Life became extremely lonely when my first child was born and my anxiety was really bad. I was anxious all the time, as I didn’t know whether what I was doing with my baby was right or wrong. I was panicking over small things and felt extremely alone, as none of my friends had had babies, so no one really understood what I was going through.

I had the support of my husband, but when he went to work, my anxiety would really kick in and I didn't know what to do. I couldn’t deal with my little girl screaming. My mind would go blank and I would have to put my daughter down and I felt bad doing this.

I had no one to turn to or ask without feeling judged. I felt like a bad mum because of all the emotions I was feeling. I felt bad that I couldn’t deal with my daughter and her crying.

My daughter was born prematurely at 35 weeks and we had an extremely tough and emotional three weeks in the neonatal unit with difficulties with my daughter feeding and intense worry that she was going to be okay. I think that the trauma of this made me disconnect and I didn’t bond with my daughter. I really felt low and emotional – and I just had no energy to look after myself, let alone this tiny human being I had just given birth to.

"I had the support of my husband, but when he went to work, my anxiety would really kick in and I didn't know what to do"


My health visitor suggested that I try West Sussex Mind’s Families in Mind groups. At first I said no, because I felt like asking for help meant that I was failing as a mum. But I finally went along to one of the groups – with my mum the first time – and was introduced to other mums and dads who have experienced the same anxiety and loneliness that I felt. It helped me to understand that I know my own baby best and I know what is best for my child, whether it be right or wrong.

Getting help with Families in Mind has helped me to meet other people in comfortable, safe surroundings, where I can talk to other parents and feel more at ease and not judged.

Life has changed for the better. I find it a lot easier now to approach people with babies and children and start chatting. I have made some great friends at the Families in Mind baby group – and so has my daughter – and now we meet up outside of the group.

I am able to care for my baby much better now and with greater confidence. And I know that if I have any queries or need any help, I can contact the mental health support workers at West Sussex Mind and they will help in any way they can. It's lovely to know you have that back-up and can still reach out if you are having bad days.

I definitely have more good days since I reached out for support and I don’t feel so lonely anymore.

Getting support has helped boost my confidence since having a baby – because I really had hit rock bottom mentally and physically. Without Families in Mind, I honestly do not know where I would be right now as a new mum.