Reconnecting After Baby
[Taunya is nurse, author, and mother to three children. Find her author page at facebook.com/authorTSW]
I remember those times clearly. I had just had my first baby and I was fortunate to stay home with her the first year. My daily routine consisted of breast feeding, changing diapers, play time, nap time and small burst of cleaning house. Most days were spent at home until my daughter was a little older. I remember when my husband would get home from work. I was excited to hear about his day and hear what was going on in the outside world. Then, I would basically talk his ear off about my day. Someone else may be able to relate to this.
We went on to have two more children. Though I didn’t get to stay home a whole year with them, the time I did have at home followed the same routine as with the first child. I enjoyed the time I had with each of my children, but I do think there is more to the experience worth mentioning.
If I had to try and describe it, I would have to say it is like I had been swimming under water for a while. When I finally came up for air, the world, my friends, my family had moved on. At least it seemed that way.
I had grown comfortable being around my little ones. I had learned the language of the toddler talking on their level. But I must admit, I felt a little isolated from the grown-up world. After having a baby and spending some time at home with him or her, I think it is normal to feel slightly awkward when first getting out among adults again, especially those adults who do not have kids. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
1) Is it normal to feel isolated or lonely?
Feeling isolated sounds like such a negative thing, yet it’s a feeling we all feel at some point in our life. I guess I need to define a normal feeling of isolation in the context of this discussion. Normal would be something you feel in control of. It is the feeling of a little anxiety from not being around those on your own level for a while. You can bounce back and you feel like there is something you can do. When feeling isolated has gone too far, you would probably feel depressed or even isolate yourself the more from those you love. In that case you should seek help and talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling.
2) Can I stop talking baby talk to adults?
Yes, there is hope for those who think they will always talk baby talk. According to Psychology Today (Mercer, 2009) when children show that they can understand the language we speak, we grown-ups automatically make the switch from baby talk to grown-up talk when communicating with them.
Talking baby talk to adults would certainly make them feel uncomfortable. They may even question how you interpret their intelligence. But don’t lose heart. You can overcome this by focusing on the person you are talking to.
Often in typical cases of baby-talk, conversation with an adult—the topics, vocabulary, and intellectual stimulation—supports your communication as an adult.
Sometimes caregivers have it really bad. For example, they may literally change tone to a high note baby voice or refer to other adults as “honey,” “baby” or “sweetie” even when the adult is their same age. Practice is a sure remedy for these cases. Friends may even jokingly tell you “I think you been around the kids too long.” This may serve to gently remind the baby-talker that he/she is now in the presence of adults and should switch into adult mode.
3) What can I contribute and how do I fit in again?
Some mothers may find that the forced re-entry into the work force after six weeks of childcare and recovery helps re-associate with the outside world.
Remember, just because you had a baby and were out of the loop for a while does not mean that you lost yourself as a worthy adult contributing to society.
For those who have the luxury of taking more time with to bond with the kids, transition can be different. Explore ways to contribute and test your fit. Dinner parties, game nights, outings with other families just like yours, the possibilities are endless. You can also think about hobbies or activities you were involved in before baby. Consider how you may incorporate those into your life now.
Sometimes you find yourself wanting to do something totally different. That’s fine too. Think about it like this, your knowledge has increased and you have stories to tell. I think we often forget how interesting our life may seem to someone looking on. Don’t be surprised when you start telling your stories how others will chime in trying to tell theirs too.
Mercer, J. (2009) Talking Baby Talk. Psychology Today. Retrieved October 13, 2012. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/child-myths/200908/talking-baby-talk