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Isolation

(28 Posts)
KaluzaKlein Fri 27-Nov-15 03:21:51

I'm currently on Mat leave and feeling very low.
I'm an expat in a European country, not only that but we just moved to a new suburb of the city which is effectively being built from scratch - right now we have no pavements, no shops etc. And no reliable transport. There's one bus an hour and only one in four buses roughly is buggy friendly. There's no way of knowing which bus is going to arrive when. It's very cold here and so I can't just wait for the next one.
Consequently I'm stuck. Ds hates using a sling and I don't like it either -,I worry about falling on the ice.
I really miss being able to get out and about. I'm confined to our few streets for walks. I can't get into the city.
I also don't really know anyone. I worked long hours before having the baby and I find meeting people difficult. my grip on the language still isn't great and my efforts to strike up conversations with local mums have come to nothing - as an example I took some post round to the neighbours that had come to us by mistake - she pretty much slammed the door on me sad

I'm worried that my degree of withdrawal will affect bonding with the baby. I find I don't speak to anyone for days on end if dh is away with work. I'm finding feeding really tough and painful, and no one can tell me why, despite a visit to the specialist clinic.

I honestly feel I don't have much to live for right now.

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 04:04:23

Hello! That sounds really grim. sad

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 04:07:46

You need to meet people. See it as a military operation or like. Job search and prioritise it. Does DH have work colleagues he could wrangle an invitation from it invite over? Can you say which country in the hope some mnetters know how the services for families work?
I do sympathise, I found myself very isolated in Stockholm with a baby.

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 04:10:51

Re bonding- fake it with your baby. The loveliest thing DH ever said was that baby ds and I would always make each other smile. Years after I read about bonding and mirroring (much of it has been discredited so don't worry too much) and it was very reassuring to hear.

KaluzaKlein Fri 27-Nov-15 04:34:47

Currently in feed number four of the night ... Ouch , my nipples feel like they're about to come off....

I have a job ( and hopefully still will have after mat leave) so no need to job search.

Dhs colleagues are nice but we don't really socialise with them. Ditto mine.

What I miss is being able to get around I think. I'm introverted and not very good at making friends. Someone suggested mum and baby groups but I went to one, everyone politely ignored me and I cried the rest of the day once I was home. It also took me the whole bloody day as the transport is so crap.
Meeting people here is too hard but I wish I could get myself into town a few times a week for a potter round the shops and a walk round something that isn't a building site

I'm in Sweden too. Not near Stockholm alas

Itsbloodyraining Fri 27-Nov-15 04:39:17

I really feel for you. Maternity leave can be isolating when you are in familiar territory, so it must be ten times worse for you. Where abouts are you? Is there any chance of you returning to the UK for an extended break with the baby? At least through the winter months?

Itsbloodyraining Fri 27-Nov-15 04:43:33

Sorry, cross post.

Can you get a simple umbrella fold buggy, so you can fold it up on the bus and hold baby? Also it's ok to stop breastfeeding if it's causing you pain and upset. That might be quite a relief for you.

KaluzaKlein Fri 27-Nov-15 04:55:29

Hmmm no my main support is dh so I'd hate to be separated from him. He'd be devastated if we left for weeks

I've got family coming over in January for visits

I just feel so low and useless. The house is a tip, the baby screams all the time and won't sleep and feeding him is painful. I'm stuck in the house or the few streets around it. It's dark and cold all day and I'm socially and physically isolated.

maybe I can find a pram light enough to carry into the bus ...

torontonian Fri 27-Nov-15 05:01:29

I'm also an introvert expat and finding language is a barrier. Do you think you can find expat groups on Facebook or meet up? Do you have a hobby?
Regarding breastfeeding, I was also very raw with my first. I used nipple cream every feeding and I found that warm/cold gel pads helped a bit. Would pumping be less painful? Your baby would get breastmilk and you can do skin to skin with a bottle as well. Alternating breast and formula could give you some relief as well. But if nothing else works and it is painful and making you miserable I second stop breastfeeding.
Big hugs Kaluza!

KaluzaKlein Fri 27-Nov-15 05:01:46

We have snow on the ground here for several months so any buggy would need to be able to deal with that and be ok for a newborn - any ideas? Little wheels or the little dual wheels tend to get stuck but there must be something suitable, surely?

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 05:07:04

I meant treat meeting like a job search. Prioritise it- seriously! You're in a very isolated situation and you risk PND, not just chemically because you have a new baby but because of your situation.
How old is your baby? What will you do for childcare and can you start organising that now? Some pre registration trips could get you in with other Mums. Expat groups? Church?

Itsbloodyraining Fri 27-Nov-15 05:07:40

How old is baby? For the first year at home with ds I was unhappy and lonely. I got antidepressants which really did take the edge off. I was on my own for long periods, hated the baby groups, I was hardly sleeping which meant I couldn't really be bothered to do much anyway. I had such high expectations which really set me up for a fall. Awful pregnancy, horrendous birth, breastfeeding killed me and I had to stop. I cried for a day from guilt, but it really did do me good, and ds wasn't really going to suffer. I found it a very bleak time.

If you feel you have nothing left then please go and see your gp for a helping hand. Can you contact people in the UK, your parents, and ask them to get on a flight and come and help?

When will this new estate be finished?

Itsbloodyraining Fri 27-Nov-15 05:11:50

Also, can you go with dh in the morning and come back with him? Do you have a car?

KaluzaKlein Fri 27-Nov-15 05:25:39

Baby is eight weeks. I guess we will use Dagis for daycare once I'm back at work. I've joined a FB group for English speaking mums but most are in Stockholm and I don't see how I'd travel to meet ups, a taxi is 37 quid each way into town

No church (godless heathen, sorry) ironically the estate is home to many mums and I've tried saying hello but I just get a polite hej back and that's it. They seem to have their groups set up already and I'm not able to break in

I could go in with dh but that'd mean going before seven and not being back until seven or eight some nights which is too much for a little baby.

I just need to knuckle down and get on with it I suppose. Everyone else seems to manage ok

Any tips for a snow friendly narrow light pram?

torontonian Fri 27-Nov-15 05:49:58

Umbrella strollers are usually not very good in snow. I have an uppababy vista. It works like charm in snow, grass, sand... you can control it with one hand. I have used it a lot to commute in the subway without elevators. It is not as light as umbrellas but good enough. It comes with a bassinet besides the seat, so suitable for newborns. You can go for the Uppababy Cruz if you prefer a cheaper and lighter model.

Then I heard that bugaboo has winter tires lol

Itsbloodyraining Fri 27-Nov-15 05:50:01

Eight weeks is really early days, and the winter won't help. You're still finding your feet and establishing routines. Go easy on yourself and get help from family. Things will change and get better. Whatever pushchair you get make sure it's easily foldable and transportable.

gettingabitdesperatereally Fri 27-Nov-15 07:15:28

I was in a really similar situation after my first baby and my life saver was an expat group for mums, I would have to take a taxi as there was no other transport available but for me and some of the others it was a lifeline. I never made local mum friends, where I am there's a language barrier and a big difference in mentality and now 4 years on most of my mum friends have moved but I'm still in touch with a couple and now I'm back at work etc life is busy and full. Do you Skype people at home? My days used to be a lot of watching TV, skyping my mum and I didn't really do any housework or cooking tbh. Look on facebook for any kind of expat playgroups or such like. I found it really interesting meeting mums from all over the world in a similar situation. Alternatively could you maybe just take a taxi into town once or twice a week?

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 08:32:38

You can't afford to dismiss things. It's really serious.
I don't mean to frighten you, but Sweden, winter, new baby, long days alone and no friends is a perfect storm. It's a lovely country but they're bloody unfriendly to new people (it's not xenophobia I don't think, 'just' cultural)
Call round dagis for visits, go to bloody church even if you're a heathen. Get your husband to ask around at work about groups,
colleagues on maternity leave etc.
Having slated them as unfriendly,
which I stand by, people are really lovely if you ask for help.

BoboChic Fri 27-Nov-15 08:37:50

Gosh, OP, your situation sounds dreadful. Can you not move somewhere with more like minded neighbours?

KaluzaKlein Fri 27-Nov-15 09:27:39

Moving isn't an option - we built the house ourselves. The place will be lovely when it's done, but right now there's very little infrastructure. House prices here are insane (think London prices) and building here was the most sensible way to get a house.
There is a Dagis (the only bit of infrastructure we have!) and I called round but they just told me to put his name down in a few months. I hope he gets in because if he doesn't I'll have real issues getting him to one in town...
My main problem is travel, I think. I can't afford taxis (this is a seriously expensive country to live in) to get to groups or town. I'm nervous about using a sling on the ice.
I have tried to reach out to people I know casually on mat leave but a. Travel is an issue and b. They don't want to sad

I have a feeling that no matter how long i live here I will never really be accepted. As you say, I don't think it's deliberate cruelty, people just don't strike up conversations here and they don't include newcomers. There's also a real shift, even since I've lived here, in the way immigrants are viewed. So many have arrived that I think people are threatened by it.
I hope my son will be accepted as a swede sad

I'll look for a pram I can pick up and carry Ito the bus. It'll all work out, I am quite self contained really...

BoboChic Fri 27-Nov-15 09:30:28

I'm sorry to insist, but what is the point of a lovely house if the community isn't right for you?

KaluzaKlein Fri 27-Nov-15 09:43:14

Well it'll be lovely eventually and there will be lots of kids around.

I totally get what you're saying but people are the same everywhere. I'd be no more accepted living in our tiny old flat in town than here (I'd be nearer the shops and work but that's it.)

I need to brush up my language skills and grow a thicker hide. And find some way of getting out and about

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 09:44:23

So if you're there for the long haul, you really need to treat this as a project. Reach out to the GP, church, go back to dagis and ask if they can recommend groups. Network. Have you told your DH how you're feeling?

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 10:29:59

I know I'm being very bossy, but I was in a very similar situation in Stockholm. No one's going to scoop you up; you do need company and support. My salvation came from telling the dagis staff I was struggling (I had elder children too) and lots of routines and visitors.
Be brave, post on the expat group that you're lonely and ask if anyone knows of anyone in your neighbourhood or could come and visit.
Swedes are very kind and supportive, but they won't offer help unasked.

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 16:19:08

How are you today kaluza?

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