Mother of twins draws attention to problem of isolation in new parents
An Ipswich mum has shed light on the common but often hidden problem of postnatal isolation.
Heather Sheehan left friends and teaching colleagues in London to put down roots in her husband Paul’s home town earlier this year.
With Mr Sheehan commuting to his broadcast production job in the capital, the 35-year-old mother of twins found herself in an unfamiliar environment with few acquaintances.
Having addressed her own sense of isolation with help from an online app, Mrs Sheehan is hoping to form a community of young mums with similar experiences.
“Paul and I lived happily in London for 10 years, but it suddenly became a different place to live with children,” she said.
“Having returned to teaching and found it difficult to juggle work and the twins, we thought it was time for a change.
“We moved at the end of April to a lovely home, where we’re very happy, but leaving friends and work in London to being a stay-at-home mum became a challenge.
“No one can prepare you for parenthood. You need other mums to have a whinge with and let you know you’re doing things right.”
A recent survey by the Young Women’s Trust found 57% of young women felt lonelier after becoming a mum, and more than half had less contact with friends.
Mrs Sheehan, whose twins Connie and Matilda turn two this week, was wary of social media propagating a ‘perfect’ image of motherhood, which could worsen feeling of isolation – but was able to find some salvation through ‘Mush’ – a way of meeting local, like-minded mums online.
“I found it difficult to meet anyone until a friend told about someone who had made a move to Norwich and met new mum friends through the app.
“I downloaded it with some caution but quickly fell in love with it. Everyone has different reasons for being on there, but we’re all mums who want to support each other.”
Mrs Sheehan will be holding a free ‘Mush-Up’ event at the Cult Cafe, on Ipswich Waterfront, from 10am-noon on Monday, September 11, and is hoping to invite along representatives from local parenting groups.
“I’m trying to get as many mums as possible together – to bring their children along and have a couple of hours outside the house,” she said.
“There are ways to tackle loneliness and isolation. The first step is putting yourself out there.”