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What Loneliness Looks Like When You're Married And Are A Mother

It's time we talk about this.

Woman, Actually is the little corner of BuzzFeed where Mariela Summerhays writes about everything and anything to do with being a millennial mother — a woman first, mother second. Yes, you'll read about the glorious struggle and joy of child-rearing — but also about relationships, mental health and more. Because as it turns out, growing up doesn't stop at motherhood.

I feel like I should be better at this by now, being a person, that is.

I have all the outward signs of someone who has their life together — a spouse, children, a house, a career — but I swear, sometimes, I feel like I’ve missed a rite of passage. A lesson or important coming-of-age moment. The one where you learn how to form and keep close connections with others, because if I’m honest, and despite those that surround me...

I’m often lonely.

Mariela Summerhays / BuzzFeed

I hope you don’t mind my saying that — maybe you’ve clicked through in your shared loneliness and take offense to a married mother, arms always full, talking about feeling alone.

However, I suspect — and I could be wrong — but surely, I’m not the only one.

Not the only one who has hundreds of people peering in at moments of a life lived on social media — but few people to live them with. Actually live them with, not just to recount over coffee with, once in a while.

I can’t — not when there are millions of people in this world — be the only one who invests love and time into relationships that, for whatever reason, quietly dissolve. Even though you swear it was the meeting of souls this time, not like the times before.

And I can’t be the only person with a loving family and a home full of giggling and silliness and love, who sometimes, still feels lonely.

Mariela Summerhays / BuzzFeed

In the spirit of being completely transparent — because we’re getting to know each other here, you and I — anxiety and I are on a first name basis.

She knows all too well how to make me feel alone. It’d be easy to point at the circle of people around me, and suggest that my mental health is the cause of my loneliness.

But once in a while, someone around me will let me in and whisper that they too, feel the space around them keenly — or worse, that in crowded rooms, they still feel alone. I read my books on philosophy and psychology, written by people looking for the same solace I'm seeking, and they all tell me:

Darling, we are all of us, alone with ourselves — hoping others in their aloneness, will want to sit beside us, too.

Mariela Summerhays / BuzzFeed

It puts days and weeks in between my tears and heartaches. But maybe no one has told you about their loneliness and maybe you haven't yet encountered such words.

It's also possible this has been for nothing and there isn’t a person reading this who knows what I'm talking about. Maybe you always feel seen and loved for exactly who you are, in all your glory and all your ugliness, at all times.

But I don’t think so. So this is my way of saying, you might feel lonely sometimes, but from the bottom of my heart — you are not alone.