"Everyone says it takes a village to raise a child. Most people have villages that consist of mothers, grandmothers, best friends, or siblings. My village was myself and my spouse on a figurative island that existed 900 miles from the rest of our family. My husband served 7 active duty years in the US Air Force. As a childless couple we enjoyed the freedom and occasionally felt homesick. Then we got pregnant. Reality set in that we were doing this alone when we had to video chat to tell everyone about the pregnancy. I relied on almost daily phone calls with my mom and FaceTime to talk to my sister. But they still existed so far away from my hormonal emotions and fears. Our base had zero options for working mothers to participate in. I felt that exclusion very strongly. My husband and I had our daughter without the help of family or friends. I know some women don't even get to have their spouse present and I am more than grateful for that blessing. After we had our daughter I began to truly understand what that village was supposed to exist for: the late-night feedings, anxieties, and encouragement. But the friends we had made grew more distant as our family grew, and I grew more lonely, clinging only to my identity in motherhood. I cried a lot. When our daughter turned one we found out that we were expecting again. I had found a small group of women who embraced me and my flaws. They encouraged me in raising my little girl. I regretted not finding those women sooner. My son was born in June. At two months old we made a trip back home to our family, our new village. This time to stay. This new village has been easier to build because I have a blueprint: Include your in-laws, your siblings, your spouse. Don't be afraid to give that lonely mom in Costco your phone number, and don't be afraid to text that mom the minute you get home. Don't forget the tiny village that took you too long to find; that you had to leave too soon. Those are the ones who will keep you sane."
We honor you @emilydeannah