This is a love letter to the lone parent from your Northern Colorado doula – me, Julianne Curtis.
I know there are many parents out there with a big support network, a colorful group of friends, and family nearby. But I know there are also many parents out there that are living without any of that. And the pandemic? It’s only made it worse for even the most well-connected of us.
This letter isn’t a dig at anyone who has any of that. But this is an open letter to those who don’t. To those parents around us who feel alone – pandemic or otherwise.
This is a letter to those parents who don’t have supportive families, or family nearby for that matter. This is a letter to parents who don’t have the bandwidth to make new friends. This is a letter to the parents who just don’t have the energy to maintain another relationship. This is a letter to anyone who is alone now more than ever with the pandemic.
This letter for the lonely, the isolated, the brokenhearted, the stressed, the single and the parents who don’t feel like they fit. This is a letter to the parents who scroll social media and wonder what they’re doing wrong. This is a letter to the parents who feel like they can’t keep up.
This is a letter to the parents who have lost their own parents, or feel estranged from them. There’s no lonelier feeling than the urge for a parental relationship when you become a parent yourself, and you just don’t have one.
Finding friends in parenthood is hard, no matter the circumstances, but it’s even harder these days. Being home with little kids, nowhere to go, and a tangible fear is nearly more than we’re meant to handle – especially alone and isolated.
Add in a stressful job that’s now required to also be done from home, inconsistent childcare, and an uncertain future, it’s a lot. And I see parents around me struggling. I struggle too.
You see, even though I’m now a well-known Northern Colorado doula, I was also a single, teen mom. There’s nothing like being a new mom when all your friends are still out living their teenage dreams. I still distinctly remember high school friends talking about wanting a backless wedding dress for prom – all I could think about was do I have enough gas in my car to make it home tonight?
I know what it’s like to be alone. I know what it’s like to feel like everyone has a clique but you. I know what it feels like to be in a new town with no friends. And I definitely know what it feels like to be lonely. To feel invisible. Parenthood can be one of the most lonely places. I’ve been there.
It’s so hard to feel lonely when you’re surrounded by people. It’s even more lonely when you have spent the better part of a year alone.
I know it’s hard – but today, I want to leave you with this:
I see you.
I know your struggle.
I know how tough this is.
And know this–
You are one incredible parent.
You were made to do hard things.
You are surviving and doing a damn good job in spite of it all.
Hang in there, friend. This too shall pass and you are raising incredible children. As a doula, I get to see first-hand the tenacity and pure love that parents show their children every day. We’re tougher than we think and someday soon, we’ll be on the other side of this.
And as lonely as all of this feels, you’re not alone. There are other parents out there in the trenches with you, experiencing the very same thing. I know it’s scary, but try reaching out. Find a group or book club to join. Ask a neighbor to meet you at the park. Tell your partner what you’re feeling. The first step is to put yourself out there.
You were made to have friends, even if they’re just virtual for now. There is someone out there that will accept you and welcome you into their circle, you just have to discover them.
And know this. I’m rooting for you. I’m cheering you on from afar. I’m proud of how hard you’re fighting for your kids – for yourself. I’m here for you.
If you need someone to be your friend, I’m here for you. I’m here to be a mother figure that you don’t have. I’ll be your mama without the drama. I’m happy to give you advice and guide you on this new journey. You don’t have to be alone.
PS – If you’re feeling exceptionally down, please take care of yourself. You’re worth it. Here’s a good place to start.
Julianne Curtis is a Northern Colorado doula serving Fort Collins, Loveland, Timnath, Windsor, and surrounding areas. She’s been in the business for many years and has been voted one of the 9 Best Doula’s of Fort Collins for five years running. Click here to learn more about Julianne and as always, don’t hesitate to reach out.