The Back-Up Plan – not that one

womanlaptopLately, the subject of single mothers by choice has been all over the media because of a movie that recently came out, starring Jennifer Lopez, in which her character becomes pregnant with the help of an anonymous sperm donor, only to fall in love with Mr. Right immediately afterward. I haven’t seen the movie, and, as a “real” single mother by choice, I’ll never have the time to see it, but I have viewed some of the recent TV news stories and discussions about it. And while it’s nice to have a celebrity like J-Lo showing single women that they do have options, I can’t say this movie is anything like my life—nor is “back-up plan” an appropriate term for the process by which I came to have Jayda.

I never pictured myself as a single mom; but then again, I didn’t always picture myself as a mom, period. Unlike

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Goodnight Moon

HiResIt’s been a tough week. Two huge projects at work have left me stressed out and exhausted. And it’s my son’s first week back to school as a newly minted first grader. He seems to be doing ok, but it’s a major adjustment nonetheless, for both of us.

Our rituals soothe us, particularly at night after a long day. And for even more comfort, we’ve retreated into the past. This week’s bedtime selections have been our old standbys, the board books I started reading to my son when he was an infant, the ones I still know by heart. A Color of His Own, The Runaway Bunny, Are You My Mother?, and tonight, Goodnight Moon. Although my son can read these books to me now, we both still enjoy it when I read aloud to him, it’s part of the ritual.

We snuggle in together in his bed, me carefully

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Child of My Dreams

thoughtwomanjpgSince I was a very young child I’ve dreamed of holding you in my arms…. looking into your face and seeing some of myself in you…watching you grow and develop some of my characteristics (good ones, hopefully). It seems now that that will not be the case, and I am extremely sad about that.

I’ve tried so hard to create you, but my body will not cooperate. Each of the nine times that I’ve tried, I could sense your presence with me…your little soul ready to come into being. I’ll never understand why it could not happen for me. Each time I was devastated and cried because I felt I had really lost you…even if you were only in my dreams.

Now it seems that I will say goodbye, but only to part of my dream. I need to mourn the loss of a biological connection to you. But, in

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Too Old Too Fast?

boyoncellThis summer, my 9-year-old son lets himself into our apartment after getting off the camp bus. He goes upstairs and plops his stuff down and calls me at work. I get home within an hour, so he’s not home alone for very long. He says he’s fine. He says he can handle it. His friends ask their parents why they aren’t being left home alone. He’s only cried twice.

Don’t ask how many times I’ve cried. How many times I’ve questioned the wisdom of this decision (which, honestly, has been based on monetary concerns but also factored in that he’s a very responsible boy who has handled being home longer than this—it’s the letting himself in part that makes me somewhat concerned). My son is self-reliant for his age. And he handles this responsibility with bravado. He has his own cell phone now—so he can call me when he gets

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My Only Regret is That I Waited So Long

pregclockI’ve always wanted to have children, always wanted to mother. I’ve been an au pair to other families, spent time with all of the kids of friends and family. I hoped and assumed, of course, that I would have a family of my own when the time came.

I suppose that’s the tricky part – that time thing. Like many, I’ve been in a series of long relationships that have not withstood the tests of time. A long medical training that I started when I was twenty-eight ended ten years later. And there I was, at thirty-eight, for the first time seriously thinking of having a child on my own.

So many questions came to mind – how could I do it? How could I make it work in time and money and love? And most importantly, would it be, could it be fair to bring in child into the

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Waiting for Christina: The Family Tree gets a Romanian Branch

Family travellingOn the first weekend of December 2002, I was finally able to announce on the Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) online Forum, “Cristina is home!” My son, then almost 9 years old (conceived via donor sperm), and I had just returned from the airport in Washington, D.C. With us was my almost two-year-old daughter adopted from Romania.

I was exhausted from the four-hour car ride and from the emotion of the day. But then I saw her—my beautiful little daughter was being wheeled toward me in a stroller by my agency director. He placed her in my arms and left. I expected bliss—I was wrong. She started screaming at the top of her lungs, “Nu! Nu!” (“No! No!”) and slapping me on the face. We walked through the airport with her screaming and hitting me and me telling her everything would be alright. Later my agency representative would tell me

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Did You Feel That?

 

momgirl copyJust when I think I am a 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 the private online Forum, the generous, informative women on there 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 Forum are internally referred to as “Standard Issue Issues”- pretty much every

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Child of Mine: A story of embryo donation

iStock_momkissbabySmallFor as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom. I started babysitting when I was just 9 years old and continued to do so through college. I have always loved children and “borrowed” my friends’ children on a regular basis. When I was in my mid-20s, I would often say that if I got to be 35, wasn’t married, and had no prospects for marriage, I was going to go to a sperm bank and use a turkey baster. Fast forward 10 years: Me, at age 35, not married and not involved with anyone. And so my journey to a child began.

Fast forward another 2 years. I had moved back to my hometown so I could be near my family, bought a house, lost weight, and was on the brink of my first donor insemination. I was beyond excited!! The morning of my insemination,

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How We Came To Be

Four years ago this month I conceived my first child by a non-medicated, interuterine insemination. I hadn’t been a Thinker for long. Or perhaps, I had been a Thinker my whole life. The certainty that I would never marry and have children was something that haunted my thoughts since I was in my early twenties. Until I separated the two life events, becoming a mother seemed all but hopeless. I thought about it only in terms of what would never be.

For over a decade, I mourned the loss of what came so easily to most women: a family. Once I gave myself permission to research the possibilities of single motherhood, things happened very quickly. Within a month I had read everything I could find on the topic. I began contacting adoption agencies. The official responses were consistently negative. A social worker at a domestic agency said to me, “No

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From an SMC in Eastern Europe


dreamstime_12433245My mother was a single mother. My father died, and I don’t remember him. I
don’t know if that is the reason why becoming a single mother by choice was never Plan B for me, but it might have played a role. I did do the whole relationship thing for a while, but when my relationship ended, and after spending years working all over the world, and loving my freedom, I went back to my personal Plan A – becoming a single mom by choice.

I never did picture mom, dad, and kids as the perfect family when I was a kid. Having a great mom was quite enough. I grew up in a liberal environment, where family structures were hardly ever questioned. I used a known donor to conceive both my kids, and now have a wonderful daughter and a great son. We live in Eastern Europe, where I

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