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    Pregnant and Feeling Alone: Actionable Tips for Fighting Pregnancy Loneliness

    Updated 07 October 2020 |
    Published 21 October 2019
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant
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    Pregnancy comes with a lot of expectations. Some pregnant women may be surprised to find that they are feeling lonely. If you are pregnant and feeling alone, know that there are many out there experiencing the same feelings. Read on to learn how to cope with being pregnant and feeling alone.

    Is it normal to be pregnant and feel alone?

    It turns out it’s completely normal to feel alone during pregnancy. Pregnancy can be a time of great joy. Some pregnant women seem to be glowing, walking around in a complete state of pregnancy bliss. But pregnancy can also be a very difficult time. It can be hard on your body, making you feel physically sick more often than you ever thought possible. You might be feeling scared about giving birth and the unknowns associated with that. Sleep can also be a struggle, even becoming nearly impossible, especially in the third trimester

    These physical changes, which are often accompanied by changes in your lifestyle, can feel isolating. If you don’t know other moms, that feeling can be even stronger. Even if your friends have children of their own or are pregnant or trying, you might still end up feeling lonely during pregnancy. 

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    While these feelings are often normal, they may be signs of prenatal depression. While more common than you might think, depression during pregnancy isn’t something you have to endure.  

    When do pregnancy blues usually begin?

    Feeling alone while pregnant can begin at any point during pregnancy. Circumstances such as how you are feeling physically and emotionally play a huge role. If, for instance, you are sick in the first trimester and feeling horrible, that may trigger feelings of pregnancy loneliness. 

    In general, physical health can play an important role in how you’re feeling overall. If the morning sickness never seems to end, if heartburn seems a constant companion, or if sleep feels impossibly far, you are more likely to feel down.

    If you are feeling down, don’t hesitate to open up to someone you trust, whether it’s your own mom or your midwife.

    Pregnancy blues are closely tied to circumstances that sometimes feel out of your control. Moms-to-be who don’t have a strong support system are more at risk of feeling down. But even those who do have a support system may feel they can’t confide their worries or feelings to their family and friends. If you are feeling down, don’t hesitate to open up to someone you trust, whether it’s your own mom or your midwife. Holding in feelings, regardless of how irrational they may seem, is carrying a weight that is not necessary to bear.  

    What causes pregnancy loneliness?

    There are as many reasons for feeling lonely during pregnancy as there are pregnancy experiences. 

    Pregnancy loneliness is caused by a variety of things. Your body is changing in ways no one else can understand unless they are also pregnant. What’s more, even those closest to you may not be able to fully understand or empathize with what you’re going through. You might feel like they don’t or can’t care enough. If you don’t have a support system, you might feel overwhelmed about being pregnant and taking care of your pre-pregnancy responsibilities at home and at work. Our individualistic culture (in contrast with a communal one) can also contribute to making you feel isolated. You may feel like you have lost your tribe or need to find a new one.  

    Ways to fight feeling lonely during pregnancy

    Loneliness erects an invisible wall between yourself and others. If you find yourself pregnant and lonely, know that there are ways to fight back.

    • Normalize it. Recognize that loneliness during pregnancy is very, very common. You are not alone in your feelings.   
    • Break through the wall. Don’t wait for others to reach out to you. Start finding ways to connect. Write a text to a loved one. Consider seeing a therapist. Even talking with the people you see every day, at the grocery store or the bank, takes down a piece of the wall. Talk to your partner and trusted family members. You can also connect online, through groups on Facebook or Instagram. Finding others who are going through what you are is one of the best ways to tear down that wall for good. 

    Pregnancy loneliness vs depression

    There can be a fine line between feeling lonely during pregnancy and being depressed. Pay attention to how you are feeling and don’t wait to reach out.

    Maybe you tried and tried for a pregnancy, and don’t understand why you’re feeling down, now that you have what you wanted.

    While feelings of loneliness may come and go, depression is a persistent, gnawing feeling. It may be borne out of loneliness, but it brings new depths of discouragement. Even worse, some may feel guilty for feeling depressed. Maybe you tried and tried for a pregnancy, and don’t understand why you’re feeling down, now that you have what you wanted. These feelings of guilt can turn to silence, making the weight of depression even heavier. 

    Signs of pregnancy depression

    First of all, if you are feeling depressed, know that you aren’t alone. Between 14 and 23 percent of pregnant women experience prenatal depression. In fact, one in four women will experience depression at some point during their lives.

    Signs of depression during pregnancy include:

    • A sense of apathy — The things that used to interest you no longer do. You may stop caring about your daily tasks, work, or even your friends.
    • Lack of appetite — You might find yourself with zero appetite and go long stretches without eating.
    • Feelings of hopelessness — While loneliness can be a sign of depression, hopelessness is deeper and much harder to make go away.
    • Strong sense of anxiety — This includes having fears about yourself, your partner, or even your baby dying. 
    • Thoughts of suicide — These should never be ignored, as they typically coincide with a deeper level of depression.

    If you are feeling depressed, above all else, reach out and talk about it. That’s the first step toward showing yourself the self-love you deserve, especially during this time of your life. Prenatal depression may not end with delivery, making postpartum depression a real possibility.