‘I Forced Myself To Be Social’: When You’re An Introvert And A New Mom
By Natalie Romero
PHOTO © @itsjuliwilliams/Twenty20
Feb 12, 2018
I don’t know if I have ever actually used the word introvert to describe myself. I am friendly, chatty and, for the most part, I like being around people. Yet, I am nowhere near the extroverted side of things.
As soon as I became a mother, I joined as many mom-and-baby groups as I could. I went to play centres, libraries and community drop-ins. I signed up for mom-and-baby aqua fit and mom-and-baby yoga.
When you are inherently shy, being social is a real chore.
I knew that if I allowed myself to, I would shut myself in my home with my baby and spend the whole 12 months of my maternity leave isolated from the outside world. As heavenly as that sounds, my instincts knew that it wouldn’t be good for myself or my babies.
So, I forced myself to be social. It didn’t come naturally to me.
You'll Also Love: Motherhood — My Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Identity Crisis
I had visions of meeting new moms at playgroups and becoming fast friends, sipping coffee and chatting while our babies napped in their strollers.
That’s not quite how it happened.
I showed up at the playgroups, but tended to sit quietly on the sideline. I worried about being judged. I wasn’t at all graceful when it came to breastfeeding, I was terrified of germs and I often fumbled around trying to balance the infant carrier and diaper bag.
I don’t know why I expected motherhood to make me an extrovert, but I am so glad I pushed myself to join the parenting groups.
But both my babies loved the music, rhymes and interaction. Eventually they would crawl around, checking out the new toys and investigating the other babies, so I kept going. I smiled at the other mothers and exchanged pleasantries, but I didn’t quite connect with any of them.
Why weren’t we bonding over coffee and commiserating over our shared lack of sleep?
When you are inherently shy, being social is a real chore. I soon came to the realization that just being out with other mothers was enough. I was gaining from socializing with other parents and the more comfortable I became in motherhood, the more comfortable I became around other mothers. My babies were socializing with other babies, and they loved it.
The most important thing was that I wasn’t isolating myself, which helped me ward off the depression.
You'll Also Love: Taking Care Of Dad’s Body After Baby
Eventually, I did make some great mom-friends. I reconnected with an old friend from high school and made new friends through church. Motherhood connected me to neighbours, coworkers and even my own mother, who I began to understand on a whole new level.
I soon came to the realization that just being out with other mothers was enough.
I learned that I was turning the idea of making mom-friends into a much more complicated ordeal that it had to be.
As one of the first people in my social circle to have babies, I always knew that it was important for me to make friends with other mothers. Looking back, I don’t know why I expected motherhood to make me an extrovert, but I am so glad I pushed myself to join the parenting groups. I credit those groups with easing me into my new role and I know that they helped prevent the baby blues from tightening its grip on me.
I’m almost a decade out from those days, but sometimes I still find myself warmly singing some of the tunes I learned. “See the sleeping bunny, sleeping till it’s noon…”