Once you have a baby, you're rarely alone, but that doesn't mean you don't get lonely. Because when you're constantly feeding and caring for an infant, you don't get to really engage with other adults—even when you're in the same room with friends and family.
A now-viral Facebook post from Adult Conversation, an online community for parents, reminded us just how isolating those early months of parenthood can be. The blurry photo showed a mom entertaining her baby during a birthday celebration at a restaurant. She was there physically, but because she was doing everything to keep the baby happy, she didn't get to participate in any of the fun herself.
Brandy Ferner, the author of the post and creator of Adult Conversation, noted that while this mom dutifully tended to her child throughout the entire meal, no one in her family "stepped in to let her enjoy being part of the group."
"I'm not trying to put this specific family on blast," she explained, "but I am trying to shine a light on these little moments of motherhood that can add up to feeling isolated and resentful, and this one captures it perfectly."
"This image, with the mom in pink on the left (with her baby touching a balloon) is an accurate visual of the constant, UNSEEN care-taking of motherhood many moms do that leave us out of the group," Ferner wrote. "Either no one noticed the subtle work she was doing, or no one wanted to give up their enjoyment to let her have a taste of it too."
"We don't just need better [diagnoses] and doctors to help new moms," she added. "[W]e need our families and friends to notice us, and to help bring us back to the table."
The photo has been shared over 37,000 times and was reposted by The Leaky Boob, an online community for breastfeeding moms. "I can relate to this so much," wrote one mom. "The experience of being with a gathering but not really being a part of the gathering because caring for my child(ren) doesn't allow me to participate."
"It is why I started not going to such events," she added. "Thankfully, my partner and my friends understand and do actively engage with me and my child(ren) so I can get a break and be present in the gathering."
The hope in sharing the photo is that more family members and friends will do the same. Moms still want to be part of the conversation, and it means so much when loved ones do make the effort to keep us included.
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This article originally appeared on Parents.com