Forty Years, One Month & One Day

mombabyWhen I worked at a preschool summer camp, I saw two types of parents:

The 20s – they’d swoop in, looking harried and often exhausted, gather child in one arm and gear in another, and disappear as quickly as they arrived.

The 40s – they’d saunter in, spot their child, and begin a delighted tour of the events of the day, observing artwork and snack remnants with equal and genuine interest.I was nineteen at the time, and learning a lot about parenting observationally. I understood why the 20s were so strung out: their time and resources were over-stretched. They became parents as soon as they were able, and that meant sacrificing self-building and life-building in order to parent at the healthiest point in their lives.

The 40s…well, who knows why they waited. But though their energy levels were lower, their attitudes and resources blew the 20s out of the water. … Continue reading

One Compromise I Couldn’t Make

I have always wanted to be a mother.  By the time I was five, I was hanging out in the church infant nursery with my mother, rocking babies rather than attending my own Sunday school class.  In Girl Scouts my favorite activities were teaching games and songs and such to younger troops.  In elementary school, when my friends were drawing pictures of wedding dresses in school, I was making lists of the names I would give the 16 or so children I wanted.  I babysat in high school because I enjoyed it – I couldn’t have cared less what I was paid for doing it.  I worked at summer camps while in college and LOVED working with children.  When her parents came to pick her up, one of my campers told her mom I wanted to be a Mommy.  I was mortified.  I was afraid I’d said or done something … Continue reading

The Adoption “Gestational Period”

Outstanding EvaluationI’ve spent over a year participating in and listening to the posts on the Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) Trying to Conceive forum. I even had my own failed attempt at trying to conceive, and then work, school, and dating postponed my plans until a year later.  I began to consider adoption, an option I had explored before but ignored once I found Mr. Perfect Anonymous Donor and built up the courage (and money) to TTC. But once I really delved into the adoption choice again, it seemed very feasible and appropriate for where I am in my life. Plus, I thought it might be “easier” than TTC.

On the SMC Forum, I read other women’s journeys through infertility and fertility treatments and miscarriages to finally bringing home a newborn sometimes years later. Well, now that I’m pursuing adoption, I realize the adoption journey isn’t exactly “easier”, just different than … Continue reading

Love (While Being an SMC of Two)

When my daughter (via donor insemination) was a baby I had little time or interest in dating. I was loving motherhood, but motherhood and working full time took all my energy. There were many times that I was grateful that I didn’t have to put any energy into a relationship because I didn’t think I could have managed.

When she got to be a toddler and I began to get out of the house occasionally without her I began to think about dating and had a profile up on Match.com. The first thing I noticed is that I got hardly any interest compared to the profile I had up before becoming an SMC. I was now 37-38 yrs old.

About that same time I had a few dates with a former HS classmate and we really liked each other but he lived long distance and was not interested in a … Continue reading

Did You Feel That?

 Just when I think I am an absolute freak of nature, defying all sorts of social standards and practices (usually by going under, and not over, the bar) something transpires that speaks to me, saying “Tara, you are *not* so bizarre or unique after all.” So, there. I cannot promise I’ll share anything like that with you today, but I’m just saying…

Being a member of Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) has been one of the most valuable and meaningful aspects of my life. Although I am awkward to connect and put out disjointed, sporadic posts on our Forum, the generous, informative women who share on the forum help to alleviate my seemingly irrational feelings or quell the ridiculous tsunamis of fear in which I try to keep above the water. Some of the concerns I see on the posts are internally referred to as “Standard Issue Issues”- pretty much Continue reading

SMC Ambassador

Beautiful attractive happy woman sitting and communicating to her friendAn experience I had this evening left me thinking about how far I’ve come from the scared (okay, terrified) almost-40-year-old woman who started tentatively on the road to single motherhood 4 years ago and I wanted to share it, since many of you may have had similar experiences.

When I decided to move forward with this crazy plan, the thing that scared me most was what on earth I would tell people about my “status” as a single, pregnant woman. I see similar posts on the SMC organization’s “Thinking” section of the online Forum and my heart always goes out to those women. I want to reach out to them and reassure them that in the larger scheme of things it really won’t matter after a few days or weeks or months. At least, it didn’t for me. I embraced my pregnancy with such joy that by the time I … Continue reading

The Cat’s Out of the Bag

hes_hereWhen I was pregnant and finally told people (or let my mother tell people), I got the most amazing phone calls. My mom told her sister and I swear within minutes, I got calls from both her sons, my first cousins, telling me that this would be the most amazing journey of my life and the best thing I could do.

When I started to tell my friends, they were uniformly supportive. One friend called her brother who called me and said that of all the people he knew, he knew I would thrive at this because I took such good care of them all in college. (I was the one who routinely held someone’s hair out of the toilet after s/he drank too much.)

So why did I want to have a child? What was that yearning that told me to push forward partnerless?

I wanted to re-experience the … Continue reading

Motherhood — Part 2

(This is the second half of Motherhood. The first half recently appeared in this space.)

If I decide to become a single mother, I would probably also be deciding that my child would be an only child. Not only would s/he not have a father, but also it would be just the two of us. Going it alone would be hard enough financially and mentally, so thinking about a second on my own is probably not in the cards. Some of my best memories growing up involve my brothers: chasing after each other, inventing games, and having a buffer or distraction when we were stuck with our parents for too long in a confined car on road trips. As adults we’ve bonded in a completely different way and I can’t imagine not having these relationships in my life. Who am I to knowingly deprive my child of that … Continue reading

Motherhood – Part 1

34…single…female…The age keeps changing, but the relationship status does not. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been in a long-term relationship. While I desire a partner in life, a best friend to spend my days with, what I yearn for even more is motherhood. It’s not just a yearning from the heart, but I feel it from my ovaries…from the center of my being.

Throughout college and adult life, I have gone back and forth on what type of career I want to have and whether I even want to have a career at all. The one constant has always been that I want to have children. I want to bear at least one child and then possibly adopt. A mother is what I feel I was meant to be above all else..

At some point in my mid to late 20’s I decided that if I hadn’t met … Continue reading

A New Year

iStock_fireworksI gave up making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. I always aimed too high and set myself up for failure. What’s more, I’m making resolutions all year ‘round, so there doesn’t seem to be much point in forcing myself to come up with new ones just because I’m hanging up a new calendar. (Oops, there’s a resolution: upload the new photo calendar to the Costco website before February!)

So, how did I spend New Year’s Eve? We were newly home from having spent Christmas in Phoenix with family, the girls were in bed, and I was enjoying a quiet, cozy evening with a book and a glass of wine. What once would have been considered a New Year’s Eve FAIL —sitting home alone— now felt like bliss.

And I remembered that, several years before I had my kids, I had improvised my own New Year’s Eve ritual. I … Continue reading

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