Up the long driveway once and around the falling-down barn. Stop to throw some rocks in the lake. Say hello to the cows.
Just me and my tiny strawberry-blonde-headed baby — always. It’s not a country song. Just me and my baby is how I spent the first year of my first baby’s life. It was always just me and my baby.
My husband and I had moved to a small family farmhouse that was off the beaten path to save money while we adjusted to young parenthood. It was a blessing, but it was a trek from the city where most of our friends lived. While at first, a quiet life seemed like the perfect way to settle into motherhood, I learned the hard way that year that parenting without friends nearby — without a village of people in the same stage of life — can be utterly brutal.
Each night, after I’d strolled, changed, and fed the baby, my husband would get home from a long day at work. If I hadn’t talked to myself or made a point to get out and run errands, when he walked into the kitchen, I’d realize I’d scarcely heard the sound of my own voice all day. I craved people to talk to — about motherhood, about the newfound knots in my back, about learning to do everything with one hand.
Instead, loneliness became so ingrained in me that I came to believe it was simply a necessary part of parenthood.