A Peek Into The Meaning of Life

Ok, so I got a peek into the meaning of life….  .

Yes, that’s a big statement…..on a Monday.  But hey.  It comes in drips….to me….every now and then.

I spent the weekend in NJ – assessing things that need to be done to prepare a house my family owns there for sale.   The house – the house I grew up in – is vacant now.  It has been rented for a number of years.  I spent a few hours cleaning the kitchen cabinets and replacing all the knobs (31 to be exact).  I got on my hands and knees and looked into drawers and under stairs and in the nooks and crannies…  I saw my father’s handy work…here and there.  I flicked light switches that I used to touch every day.  I criticized elements of the house that I always accepted before.  I slept on an air mattress in … Continue reading

Meditations on Choosing Single Motherhood

I recently interviewed a parenting expert who has written over 23 books on parenting and appears on shows like Dr. Phil and The Today Show. I was interviewing her about disciplining the preverbal toddler for an article I pitched to a magazine when I decided to just go ahead and ask her, the expert, what she thought about women who intentionally choose to have a child on their own, a child who would be brought into the world without a biological father.

I did this, I thought, because I want to write about how children of SMC moms fair, compared to the conventional mom-dad household (which is actually pretty non-existent today anyway), but after hearing her response, I was surprised by the way I felt. Basically she iterated what many SMC moms who have written on the subject say. I’m paraphrasing here but she said women who plan to have … Continue reading

Vacation?

I am a single mother by choice of 4 (almost 5) year old boy girl twins. My mother is 71 and she lives with us in the summer and in Arizona for the winter. My mother thinks that kids today have too many organized activities and need to spend more time with nothing to do. To further this theory, my mother bought us a 16 foot house trailer (the kind you pull behind a car).  So, we just got back from our first camping trip.  We left on Saturday and got home on Wednesday.

The back story is that when we went to pick up the trailer from the guy who sold it to us he spent about 2 hours explaining to me how to work everything. He told me that once I was familiar with everything the set up would take about 1.5 hrs. I took copious notes and … Continue reading

Hear This Truth

Parenting is hard. I don’t care if you’re a single mom, a partnered mom, a married mom, or something in between. Not one of us is handed a how-to manual when our children enter our lives. And even if you think you have this parenting thing down pat—so much so that you convince yourself to have another, there’s no guarantee that what worked with number one will work with number two.

I’m Nancy, and I’m mom to Marshall, who turned 10 this past May, and believe me when I say we’ve had our ups and downs. I tell people that I always loved Marshall but I didn’t like him till he turned about 4. Sure, I heard some gasps from the crowd, but those first years were difficult for me—trying to figure out how to incorporate this incredible, wonderful, temperamental, opinionated being into my solidly independent life was not easy. … Continue reading

Offspring of Egg and Sperm Donors to Benefit From New Law

There are some one million donor-conceived children in the U.S. today; my daughter is one of them. And starting July 22, one state started to improve their access to critical information about their donors.

Nineteen years ago, in my mid-30s, I decided to use an anonymous sperm donor to conceive a child. I signed many legal papers, including one that gave up any rights I might have to learn the donor’s identity — though I didn’t sign away my child’s rights to find him. In return, I received a sheaf of papers that disclosed health records for the donor and his family going back three generations. The sperm bank was California Cryobank, and its reputation was unassailable. I did of course consider what my child would think about the mysterious parts of her DNA but also believed that we would work through it.

In December, my amazing daughter turned … Continue reading

“Single” and “Special”

Of late there has been yet another crop of articles and discussions in parenting magazines, parenting websites and blogs discussing the difficulty of working and raising a child.  It seems to be an annual tradition.  Many of the magazine articles and the comments quickly degrade to a competition of which mom is better, the one who stays at home or the one who pursues a career.

The discussions and articles often are replete with comments to the effect that “I am a better mother than you because I quit my job and stayed home with my child” or “my husband doesn’t help with the child so I am practically a single mother” or “I work part time and that’s practically as hard as working full time.”

What is lost in these arguments is that (a) most single mothers cannot quit their jobs since there would be no income for food, … Continue reading

Telling a Broader Society

I am a Single Mother by Choice (SMC), living in the Boston area; my son will turn two this month.  He’s getting to the age when I can start communicating with him about family structures, and I’m reading him books about different types of families.

While I’ve read a few things about telling your child about the absence of a father, I haven’t seen as much about the issue of how you frame things to a broader society.  Certainly I explain about donor conception, the issue of my biological clock, sperm banks, and so forth, but that just addresses how things came about.  It would also sound like my family structure was a last resort, which in the moment it was.

The whole truth, however, is that I did not want to settle for a bad relationship.  I know that a bad relationship is harmful to the child, and in … Continue reading

Should Donors Be Anonymous?

A recent NY Times Op-Ed piece advocated that all donors be open donors whose identities would be shared with the donor’s offspring when they reach age 18.

I was adopted in 1972 – pre-Roe v Wade era – where it was usually seen to be in the best interest of the child and “all involved” to not know they are adopted. I was fortunate that my parents disagreed and my adoption story was told to me from birth, though I have no info on the birth family really as my parents are not reliable reporters and didn’t write down what little they were told. The mystery has become part of my identity… but that was a self-individuation process that evolved. The recent NY Times Op-Ed is simplistic and one-dimensional, but after all, the author is only an 18 year old boy.

I do feel that donor records should be anonymous … Continue reading

Another step toward motherhood…

I have a needle phobia. Anyone who doesn’t have a phobia will find it hard to understand just what that means. When I need anything done that involves needles, its a major ordeal for me. I have to have someone go with me. Sometimes my doctor (or dentist) prescribes me Valium (which really doesn’t seem to help much…but I feel goooood after). I’m hysterical. I have panic attacks. I feel like the world is spinning out of control. And it makes me angry. I consider myself a very grounded, rational, and practical person. So to have this crazy fear of something like a little tiny needle, it just doesn’t make sense! But I’ve been this way since I was a teenager, so I’ve mostly avoided needles.

Now, I want to become a mother. More than that, I want to become a single mother. So no wonderful husband to work through … Continue reading

How I Made the Decision

I joined the Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) online Forum a few months ago and I have been reading every post since then. The first and only time I posted (before now) I shared how I’ve been “thinking” for nearly two years. I was overwhelmed by the support and kind messages everyone wrote in response. But it’s been the posts by everyone else struggling with the same decision, the shared fears and excitement that have truly helped me make the right choice for me. I cannot say thank you enough for letting me, a stranger, into such an important part of your lives.

So this is how I made the decision: I had planned a weekend away with my mother and my goal was to have made a decision – one way or another – by the time we were flying home. We had fun, we enjoyed the vacation and … Continue reading

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