Choosing My Donor

How does one choose the other half of their child’s genetics? On what do you base that kind of decision? In a typical nuclear family, the other half of a child is chosen by love. You fall in love and want to produce a child that is half of each of you. Well…I didn’t fall in love. I didn’t get married. I just want a child. So what do I use to pick that genetic “other half”?

I can tell you it’s a stressful process. I “know”, in my mind, that no matter what sperm I choose, I will have the child I was meant to have. I “know” that whatever choice I make will be the perfect one. But I can’t convince my emotional side. I really thought I could take the emotion out of it. My rational side wins out a fair amount of the time, so why … Continue reading

Martyrdom?

I was recently approached about submitting an essay on single motherhood to a magazine. I sent the editor a précis of my motherhood to date: began trying to conceive when I was 36, unexpectedly conceived identical twins, babies contracted twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome in utero. Had experimental surgery. Babies survived. Had tons of help from friends, sister, and Mom. Moved half a country away when my daughters were four. They’re now almost nine.

The editor asked some follow-up questions. Could I talk more about my support network? In what ways is it harder to build one versus having a built-in one, i.e., a partner? What do I do when I want to brag to someone about something “awesome” my kids have done? And whom do I talk to when I want to tear my hair out?

I thought about this for a while before I responded. The editor seemed genuinely perplexed. … Continue reading

Money, Money, Money!!

I stumbled into trying to be a being a single mother by choice. A friend of mine was close to 40 and decided she was going to make the leap to be a mother. She enlisted me to do all the necessary research. Research is my thing so I was happy to get the ball rolling. I couldn’t believe all the information I found.

I discovered Single Mothers by Choice (SMC). We went to a meeting and filled in the blanks to many lingering questions.  We met thinkers, tryers and mothers.  What I noticed was these women came from many walks of life.  The common factor was no husband and the desire to have children before the option was taken off the table.

I continued my research and realized I desired the same thing.  I wanted to be a mother. The next question is how to go about it?

What … Continue reading

Is Single Parenthood Fair?

The question often comes up—or is brought up by others with strong opinions—about whether it’s fair to start a family as a single parent. About whether knowingly bringing a child into this world who won’t have a father is fair to the child.

I’ve thought about this a lot, both before beginning the Trying to Conceive stage and many times over the course of being a mother. And to me the answer just brings up many more questions.

Is it fair to bring a child into a love-less marriage? Is it fair to bring a child into a relationship hoping that child will heal an ailing love? Is it fair to bring a child into a world full of violence and terror? Is it fair to bring a child into family that struggles with alcoholism or drug addiction? Is it fair to bring a child into the “perfect” partnership and … Continue reading

The Politics of SMCs

When I first joined the national Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) organization and my local group, I assumed the other women I would meet – virtually and in person – would be fairly similar to me.  I thought that making such an “unconventional” life choice would be a decision only left-leaning, primarily urban/coastal women would make.  I could not have been more wrong.

What I’ve found instead is an amazingly diverse community of women.  Our political affiliations are all across the spectrum.  We are gay and straight, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and atheist.  We are urban and rural, in the U.S. and Canada and Europe and Southeast Asia, and everywhere in-between.  We are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, and of every possible ethnic mix.  We are creative types and scientists who work from home and travel the world and are unemployed.  We are biological and adoptive moms and waiting-to-be-moms and still-thinking-about-becoming-moms.  … Continue reading

My Single Mothers Group And My Recipe

I invented this recipe for my beloved local Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) support group; we meet up once a month at someone’s home and our kids go mental playing, while we share snacks — often home-made — drink tea and coffee, and discuss — among other momentous questions — whether a date for Valentine’s Day is possible, do-able or desirable (Some women have married out, so the answer might just be yes).

I joined Single Mothers by Choice when considering embarking on single parenthood so it’s been many years, and let me tell you, there is nothing better than a supportive and understanding peer group to help you navigate your ups, downs, and angst. Leandro considers some of the other SMC kids among his best friends and we share times with them outside regular meetings, so it is really important to us.

So thus Inside-Out Guacamole – a speedier … Continue reading

Single Mom By Choice — And By Chance

Since my son was a few months old, the Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) private online discussion Forum has been an important part of my daily life.  I so value the perspectives of moms like me who are doing this solo and are so wise and warm.  I haven’t yet taken the step of meeting SMCs in my area and I wonder if it is because I feel a teeny bit apprehensive.  I came to SMC-hood differently than many of you, but I hope to share with you here why I feel so fully a part of you now.

Back in 2008 I was a divorced 44 year-old woman, busy, happy, fulfilled.  Had my own business, loved the freedom; I used to say it was no coincidence that I didn’t have a boss or a husband, or that I drove a stick shift car — I liked to be in … Continue reading

Judging Mothering

Lots of people talk about feeling judged about the way they parent.  I really rarely ever feel judged as a mother. No one has ever made me feel bad about what I was feeding my kids, or what our sleep arrangements are, or how I discipline, or what kind of shoes they have on their feet. I know the stereotype is supposed to be how we are all constantly attacked and made to feel bad about our parenting, but I haven’t been, and I don’t.

However, I feel guilty about my shortcomings all of the time.  I sometimes feel that I’m a lousy mother.  But I feel that way because that’s my personality — I fully intended to be a perfect mother, and am shocked to have discovered I’m not, not nearly.  I have a very opinionated neighbor friend mom, who on a recent playdate brought her kid’s own snack … Continue reading

The Daddy Question

It finally happened. Claire, 3, got the daddy question. As in, “Why don’t you have a daddy?” Though, to be completely accurate, the 4-year-old friend who was over for a playdate phrased it less aggressively, as: “I have a mommy and a daddy.” Pause. Wait for response. I was in the kitchen with my daughter and her curious friend, who we know quite well. Without appearing interested in their conversation, I was waiting for Claire’s response as well. And it was a good one. “I have a mommy,” she said, quite simply. The friend tried again. “I have both. You don’t have a daddy.” Claire thought about this. “I have a sister,” she replied. Score! A perfect response. I was so proud.

Every Single Mother by Choice has anticipated this moment — the point at which someone else accosts our children with the fact of their fatherlessness. Claire is a … Continue reading

Top Tips for Coping as an SMC

At this time of year, Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) usually sees a pop in new members joining the organization, perhaps due to New Year’s resolutions, or just because it’s the start of a new year. And the biggest question for new maybe-SMCs (who we call “Thinkers”) is often, “How can I do this?” or “Can I do this?”

There’s no question that being an SMC is challenging, as well as incredibly wonderful. So I’ve compiled some good tips from our members to help answer those questions. For more good advice, join SMC and discuss your questions with our members, either online or in person, who are in the same place and/or have been there.

When my budget would allow, I hired a babysitter for 2 hours every Wednesday from 4-6 pm.  It really made a difference for me, emotionally.

For me, having a somewhat satisfying job is important to … Continue reading

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