As a proud Single Mother by Choice (SMC) of amazing seven-year-old twin girls it’s sometimes hard for me to remember the feelings of fear and failure I had when I embarked on this journey. In fact, like most SMCs I meet, I am so happy with my kids, so clear that single parenting (though hard) comes with distinct benefits, that I sometimes wonder if the world has changed to the point where the feelings I had have become anachronistic. But I made a documentary on the topic, and women thinking about becoming SMCs sometimes contact me to ask questions or just to talk and when they do I see my embarrassment and terror all over again.
Obviously women calling for support are a select group. I know women who say they didn’t sweat the decision. But what I see when I get these calls are smart, capable, relatively financially stable … Continue reading
It started as an email: Catherine, I know you wanted to talk to me about your son’s adoption before we tackled the first assignment about family, his teacher wrote; but with the beginning of the year being so busy, I forgot to ask you before today. This morning the students are going to be asked to write about their family. Is there anything special you would like me to know beforehand?
With three minutes until my own homeroom bell, I knew this was not going to be an optimal setting for our conversation. Email feels less and less adequate as a form of communication to me, but I didn’t have a choice. I was very pleased she had reached out, and felt that she was right on the mark for asking.
My answer looked something like this; Encourage him (privately if possible–to avoid him having to answer a zillion … Continue reading
Taking the Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) route has been an amazingly interesting journey so far (which is a little like saying we saw some snow this winter in the Northeast!). There were a couple of moments that stand out in my memory in particularly sharp focus. One such occasion was a conversation with my therapist before I had even started trying to conceive and was still trying to chase the elusive child-with-partner dream. We were discussing the guy I was involved with who was not stepping up to the plate (in fact he had left the field altogether but I wasn’t able to acknowledge that yet). My therapist commented: “He may not be a sure, but but you are”, and it fell into place that I was everything I was looking for in a partner – reliable, dependable, hard working, responsible, thoughtful, caring – and he was none of … Continue reading
Sometimes I hear members of Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) talking about the “dreaded Daddy questions” but I don’t think it needs to be a “dreaded question”. In fact, I set things up so it wasn’t a question at all. By that I mean that from the time he was born, I told my son “our story” about how there was a mama who was sad because she didn’t have a baby, and she didn’t have a husband to be a daddy. So a nice man called the donor gave the special seeds to a doctor who put them into the mama to make a baby with her eggs, who of course turned out to be my son! (That was my version of it, I never bought any of the books on this topic). When he was around 3, he could tell the story back to me and it was … Continue reading
I just turned 29. All the time I hear “you’re so young” “wait for Mr. Right” “you’ve got plenty of time” from people I talk to about my choice to become a single mother. I’m not exactly shouting it from the rooftops, but I’m not shy about it either. People think I have plenty of time, but I don’t feel like I have plenty of time. And ultimately, it’s my choice. So the term “thinker” doesn’t seem to fit me anymore. I consider myself a “planner”. I’m making plans, getting things ready.
I want to have an awesome 30th birthday party. I have my girlfriends all ready to do something big. It’s going to be my bachelorette. I think that’s reasonable. I’m going to go from single girl to mother. That’s way more of a commitment of time, energy, and freedom than getting married. I’m settling down, just not with … Continue reading
I recently was asked to be the voice of the single mother who celebrates that role and finds the joy in it. I was asked to share things I have learned along the way that make it easier, the things that I do (or am discovering), to recharge my batteries, and allow me to find enjoyment, satisfaction and perseverance in this sometimes challenging job of Single Mom.
Shortly after that question was asked of me, when I was looking out at all this snow I had to shovel, on my own, I felt pumped up. Here was a challenge: how do I remove eighteen tons of snow from the neck of my driveway with a bum foot, and two sleeping children I don’t want freaked out if they wake and I’m not here? The story ends with two sleeping boys, a shoveled driveway, and me sitting with my bare feet … Continue reading
While I’ve talked about having three children for as long as I can remember, and taken action to prepare for my 3rd attempt at trying to conceive, I’ve surprisingly found myself thinking that maybe I’m really done. That thinking doesn’t actually sit well with me because it’s such a radical shift, and that makes me question it, but I keep coming back to the same place.
Maybe it would be nice to stick with two, two who are close enough in age that they will be able to go to the same school until my daughter starts middle school, allowing me, when she starts K and he starts pre-K, to live the life I’ve always dreamed of; working part-time, being the one that gets to pick my children up and take them to their activities, having their friends over after school and really getting to know them, being the primary … Continue reading
When you become a Single Mother by Choice (SMC), you expect to do a lot of things alone. In fact, a lot of the thinking and trying stage seems ALL about being alone. Deciding alone to go for it. Attending fertility appointments alone. Being alone with your doubts and disappointments. Being pregnant alone. Most of us have supportive friends and family, but when we hang up the phone, log off the chat, close the door, climb between the sheets, lay in the dark, we are alone again.
Thank God I’m one of those people who think that’s a good thing. Being alone through my journey has meant I’ve been able to take it at my own pace. I’ve been happy when I wanted to be happy, grouchy when it felt right, pregnant and lazy and elated and calm. Whenever I wanted, I felt what I needed to feel, did what … Continue reading
If you are a Single Mother by Choice (SMC), you know the question to which refer. I’ve waited anxiously for my son to ask the Daddy Question. Everything I’ve read says our young children are eager to know more about their unique family structure and origins. As soon as they learn the name for people in their home and for the people in their friends’ homes, children are supposed to ask. So I waited. I prepared. I rehearsed. You wouldn’t think it would take this much planning just to present the truth. I came up with my script. I wrote out the words. I revised them as I practiced the conversation. I bought picture books that other moms said were good for telling and talking. I read those books to Henry. He much preferred The Cat in the Hat and Goodnight Moon. I waited some more. When would he ask? … Continue reading