I got a number of responses after blogging about loneliness and motherhood. Reading a a great essay, "Tell Your Secrets," by Ariel Gore, included in the book Your Children Will Raise You, I came across this:
"I'll never get used to the reality that motherhood is such an isolating experience. There's hardly a more common profession, yet many of us feel completely alone. Our individual homes and our time constraints keep us from one another. And labels--bad mother, good mother, stay-at-home mother, working mother, single mother, and the rest--not only encourage guilt and undermine our efforts but also divide us as potential allies."
I do wonder, often, if motherhood isolates as much in other cultures--or if it did in other times? Or if our time and place isn't a particularly isolating one, separated as we are by our technologies and our suburban privacy. My husband tells me that the idea of private property doesn't exist in the same way in England. They have walking paths that cross individual property all over the country. You just keep walking respectfully.