New mums are facing a triple whammy of exhaustion, loneliness and worry according to research by Mush, the local social network for mums.

Mush founders Katie Massie-Taylor and Sarah Hesz asked users of the app to share the hardest things about becoming a mum ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, and were overwhelmed by the results.

“Unsurprisingly, the most common problem is a lack of sleep,” says Katie. “But there were other worrying trends. Many mums reported feeling isolated and lonely, saying that friends had abandoned them when they’d announced that they were having a baby.”

“Lots of mums said they’d faced pressure and criticism of their parenting – predominantly from family and in-laws – while others said the lack of freedom and loss of identity that come with motherhood had been a huge shock to the system. Several had developed post-natal depression and anxiety disorders.”

Katie and Sarah, who have five young children between them, met in a rainy playground when they both had two children under two and were feeling lonely. Realising that technology could connect mums and dramatically improve the often isolating experience of new motherhood, they launched Mush in 2016.

Says Sarah, “We know from first-hand experience how tough early motherhood can be, especially when everything is amplified by exhaustion. With partners and friends at work during the day, it’s so important that women are able to make connections with other mums nearby going though the same thing at the same time.

“On World Mental Health Day, we urge everyone to show new mums some kindness. It’s easy to see gorgeous baby pics on Instagram and assume a new mum is in a blissed-out newborn bubble when in reality, she’s going though what can be a hugely challenging and stressful time. A little kindness goes a long way.”

Mush mums on the hardest things about becoming a mum:

“Lots of things have been hard… broken sleep, constantly worrying about my baby, postnatal depression, no time to myself, loneliness… and the fact that most of your friends leave you out because you have a child.”

“Loneliness… losing all your friends and not having anyone to talk to.”

“Definitely feeling lonely all the time, having no friends as they all cut you off the minute you find out you’re having a baby. I feel so isolated and have no one to talk to.”

“Loneliness and tiredness, which makes the loneliness worse!”

“Learning how to be a mum, always doubting your decisions in the beginning. Adjusting to the new role in your life.”

“Criticism and unrealistic expectations disguised as ‘advice’.”

“Overwhelming feeling of love and responsibility as well as a lot of anxiety and constant worrying.”

“Losing your identity. I feel like I’m just a mum and nothing else. With two small children I’m stuck at home so I feel very lonely at times.”

“I don’t know why but as soon as I was put on the ward with my first, I felt so alone. I’ve never felt so lonely.”

“Feeling like I’m not good enough every day. Lack of sleep. No time for self. Feeling like a non-person.”

“For me, it was anxiety. It ate away at me like some horrible disease so I had to learn to ask for help, which was difficult for me.”

“The worry of why don’t I enjoy every second like people say I should.”

“Losing all identity and independence.”

“Returning to work and negotiating flexible working for months.”

“I love being with my baby but I feel other factors have taken the enjoyment out of his arrival.”

“The loneliness. It’s been dreadful.”

“I got completely exiled from my college friends.”

“People are so judgemental!”

“Wondering if there’s something wrong with you when you’re not enjoying it all the time of feeling ‘blessed’… just lonely, frustrated and dog tired.”

Lack of sleep/exhaustion 81
Loneliness/isolation 47
Worry 53
Pressure and judgement from others 30
Guilt 28
Loss of freedom/me time 46
Loss of friendships 17
Loss of identity 23
Impact on relationships 16
Work/life balance/career 10
No time to socialise 6
PND/anxiety/depression 6
(363)