November is Prematurity Awareness Month.
I think the main thing we need to be aware of about prematurity is that it sucks. It really sucks.
Prematurity takes what should be a normal infancy and turns it into a journey into medical hell. It robs both parent and child of a normal infancy. Instead of filling baby books with milestones like “smiled for the first time” you make note of milestones like “weaned off ventilator.” You and your baby are robbed of quiet, private moments. Instead, the two of you spend those moments in a room filled with strangers, doctors, nurses, monitors, alarms and machinery you didn’t even know existed when you filling out your baby registry. People tell you well intentioned, yet terribly stupid things, like “things happen for a reason,” “God doesn’t give you more than you can bear,” “at least you never got stretch marks since the baby … Continue reading
I have just recently made my decision not to become a Single Mother by Choice (SMC). I should also preface this by saying that I came to this quandary late. I am 46.
Letting go of the dream of having a traditional family, i.e. a husband and kids, is a very big deal for most women. That’s probably one of the first steps in deciding to become an SMC. And that’s a rough one. I always had this assumption that it would happen, so it was hard to face the fact that it might not just “happen.” What if it doesn’t? How could it not? How long do I wait?
All kinds of people meet their mates and start families. My confidence about myself as an attractive, smart and lovable woman is a bit tangled up in that dream. I never wanted to visit the possibility that it might not … Continue reading
I don’t know what it is about mommy’s bed. But apparently, when a child can’t fall asleep, the only place to go is mom’s bed—and like magic, the sandman comes and knocks said child out. What I found out recently is that it doesn’t even have to be your mom. Marshall was having a friend sleep over the other night. Both boys were snoring happily by about 10 p.m. and I blithely went to bed. About 1 a.m., I sensed a presence by bed. It’s Max saying he can’t fall asleep so I groggily tell him to climb in. He’s asleep in seconds. When I awake in the morning, there’s a boy in bed next to me. No big surprise. But it takes me a minute to realize it’s not mine.
I never intended to co-sleep. But Marshall had other plans. From the minute he was born, he liked to … Continue reading
I took Pink and Purple to see Ramona and Beezus at our local discount theater over the weekend. I didn’t expect to spend most of the movie in tears.
In the interest of full disclosure, I tend to cry at most kids’ movies. I don’t know why. I’m a notorious non-weeper in my personal life. Oh, I feel pain and sorrow, no doubt about it. It’s just that I internalize the negative emotions until they settle in the pit of my stomach like a pile of rusty razor blades, or clench them in my jaws like tetanus. But there’s something about movies that makes it ok for me to release all of that. I don’t know whether that’s particularly true of kids’ movies, or if it’s just that kids’ movies are all I seem to see anymore.
Ramona and Beezus was a little bit different, though. Setting aside the fact … Continue reading
As I sit here writing, my house is filled with baby items from friends and freecycle. All I need is a baby. At least now I have hope—I’m on an adoption waiting list. But what a long journey it has been…
I became a thinker and joined SMC at age 39. People encouraged me to move forward, but I was stuck. I wanted a husband, then kids—the traditional family. At 40, I met someone I hoped could be Mr. Right, who turned out to be Mr. Autonomy Issues. At 41, I broke it off. I was devastated. I went into a depression, sought counseling and was stuck—I wanted biological kids, but I also wanted a traditional family. I kept thinking.
Looking back, I see how uneducated I was about fertility for women in their 40s. Despite the many women in the news having children well into their 40s, I didn’t … Continue reading
During the last few weeks the world around us has changed suddenly. Hot sticky days with harsh bright sunlight have been replaced by cool, crisp dry days that smell of fresh mown grass and distant fires. Many of the 6-foot-high corn fields have been mowed down, and the guy selling 12 ears for $4 out of the back of his truck has sold out for the season. The soybean fields are starting to turn golden, and maples and ash here and there are flaming red and yellow. It isn’t fall yet, but fall is definitely in the air. We leave the windows open at night, and some nights the brisk prairie winds from the west cool the house so much that I have to get up and close the windows. We leave for town every morning just as the sun is coming up, and as we turn east to head … Continue reading
I am single by choice. Did you know weird girls in high school who never wanted to get married (and/or have children)? That was me. I had my own philosophy about what marriage does to a woman’s career choice and trajectory, self esteem, independence, you name it. My mother worried I’d never “get a man” with that attitude.
Though I knew I didn’t want to marry, I was on the fence about becoming a parent. I put it that way because I never wanted to birth a baby. I always knew that I wanted to become a parent through adoption. At the age of 40 – two failed marriages later – I recognized I did indeed want to be a mom. So I dated while preparing to begin the adoption process.
Like many of us, I went the online dating route. My criteria were pretty strict: no kids, wanted or … Continue reading
Are Women Redefining the Fairytale? by Michelle Cove
Three years ago, I was sitting with my friend Becky at a coffee shop talking about how lame the media was when it came to reporting the rise of single women. Sure they were reporting accurate U.S. Census numbers (such as New York Times’ 2007 posting that 51 percent of adults are now single). But in terms of reflecting who these women are and what they think about, they were totally off the mark. For the most part, single women in their 30s and older are portrayed as desperate to marry.
Ever year, a gaggle of women battle one another for a wedding proposal from one man (a stranger) on “The Bachelor.” In today’s hottest sitcoms, single 30-something women act like mindless fools to get a date. “Emma” in “Glee” spent a whole season mooning over the married Mr. Scheuster; “Liz” … Continue reading
When I started the process to adopt from Guatemala, I knew that there was a strong possibility that I would meet the birthmother. The majority of Guatemalan adoptions are relinquishment cases where the birthmother gets to know the in-country facilitator or attorney. I was excited about the prospect as I thought it would be good for my child to know something about her birthmother.
Unlike some other countries, Guatemala has no minimum-stay requirement. All of the processing has been completed prior to the arrival of the adoptive parent and the adoption is legally complete. All you need is a day in Guatemala City to go to the U.S. Embassy and apply for a visa for your adopted child. The visa is issued that same afternoon and you are free to return home as soon as you can catch a flight. With such tight timing, there’s not much room for a … Continue reading
An 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 Single Mothers by Choice (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 … Continue reading