Let's remember the days before the chicken pox vaccinations. It was the end of January in 1991 when first one, then another, then two more of my children came down with this miserable childhood disease. Chicken pox has a two week incubation period. You do the math. I was separated from others for what seemed like an eternity, and most intelligent people wouldn't even drive by our house. We had to enter the pediatrician's office by the back door. Okay, this is an extreme case of isolation, but you get the idea.
Many new parents seem to think they should sequester themselves and figure out this parenting thing on their own. There is also the fear of having to care for your new baby in front of other people. A baby meltdown in public, a biting baby (this happened to me), or simply bottle feeding a baby when out and about worries parents that they will be judged in some way. I know a mom who didn't feel comfortable at a mommy support group because all the other babies were wearing cloth diapers and she and her husband use disposables! Find a different group. This one is neither supportive or confidence building.
I'm not suggesting that leaving the house with a new baby will solve all your problems. And for those depressed moms, leaving the house can be monumentally difficult. I am encouraging new moms (and dads) to seek the support of positive people, put on your best pair of stretchy pants, add some chap stick and get out there, even if it's just the Starbucks drive through.
When my second was born, I found myself home with a nosy 17 month old and a very fussy newborn. I was lonely, tired and overwhelmed. That's when I found her. That one friend who understood what it was like to survive on jello and peanut butter, who understood what exhaustion really was, who didn't expect me to be a perfect parent, and who was happy to sit on my couch and just watch our kids make a mess. It wasn't a fancy outing, and we wore the same mom jeans and Reebok tennis shoes every day, but we now look back on that time with wonder and longing.