Just 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 … Continue reading
For 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, … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
My 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 … Continue reading
I’m struggling with feelings I never thought I would have for my newly adopted 4-year-old son. It took a few months to come to grips with the fact that I do not love him the same as I do my 8-year-old biological son. It had not occurred to me that that was possible. It was somewhat therapeutic just recognizing it for what it is worth. I would like to think this difference will fade with time.
Responses from Our Wise SMC Forum Members:
“I hope you can give yourself a break. A 4-year-old comes with his own history, complicated by the whole issue of transition, further complicated with whatever trauma might exist related to his previous history and post-institutional stuff. The chances are very strong that the boy you are parenting now will be very different once he develops the confidence to know that you are his mom … Continue reading
Or how pursuing my dream of having a child made dating more fun.
As these musings might indicate, my single dating life was often riddled with worry. When dating a man, I was rarely fully present. My mind ran the back story. I’d size him up, then rocket mentally into an imagined future. Is he the right fit for me, and I for him? Is he commitment-phobic? Am I? Are we wasting our time?
Of course, sometimes, there was true hope and love. But the stifling “what-ifs” commanded my attention. Revelations. Then about a year ago, a crossroads moment appeared. My father was in the hospital, in what would turn out to be the last month of his life. I was about six months past the most painful breakup of my life, and about six months away from 40. While chatting with a friend during a business trip to New … Continue reading
(Thank you to Lisa Belkin, author of “The Motherlode” blog in the NY Times, for permission to use this post. Although the question posed is about raising a child in NYC, its wisdom is useful for people living anywhere.)
After the government last month released its annual tally of what it costs to raise a child to age 18 ($222,360), I received an e-mail message from a reader, A., who is looking for advice on how to find a more practical number. That lump sum is interesting as a conversation starter, she says, but it isn’t much help in trying to budget for an actual child.
I’m a single woman trying to figure out what it will cost for me to bring up a child living in New York City (hopefully in 2011).
Many of the Web sites I’ve looked at seem conservative for Manhattan or just unrealistically … Continue reading
From Unsure, Unsettled, Undecided: The pendulum of my SMC decision-making has most recently swung toward NO WAY!! How could anyone ever do this? How could I ever do this? NO, NO, NO!!! I had been more positive about choosing to be an SMC, but I haven’t been able to shake this place I am now in. I could use some feedback about the different stages you have gone through as well as some of your thoughts and feelings about how one can do something seemingly so emotionally, physically, and financially difficult as having and raising a child alone. At the moment, only the model of two parents together works for me, no matter how I turn it around. I would like to get back to a more open place about it.
Dear Unsure: First of all, you don’t have to do this and that’s okay. Second of all, why do … Continue reading
The Welcome email from Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) arrived and I was excited to receive it. I made dinner and sat down at my table to read it. I was looking through it, clicking through the links and reading absolutely everything. Then I got to a post and the words that jumped off the page at me completely caught me off guard. It was entitled “Last Call for Motherhood” and right under it said “Calm your panic. You don’t have to decide today.” From somewhere in the depths of my soul came this horribly painful, primal and unrecognizable half gasp, half cry. I immediately covered my mouth with my hand almost in disbelief that the sound had come from inside of me and the tears started to flow.
I was shocked at how hard these words had apparently hit something inside of me so deeply that I, without thought … Continue reading
In the popular media, single mothering by choice is sometimes about these crazy women who go looking for sperm donors like they’re ordering pizza toppings — Tall? Check. Good SAT scores? Check. Mushrooms? Check.
In reality, it’s not about the sperm. It’s not about the donor. It’s not about the turkey baster or the petri dish. It’s about the milky smell of a newborn, the little fingers that clutch mine when we cross the street, the worries about paying for college and whether the plastics and the scented baby shampoo will poison my toddler. It’s about motherhood, not hatred of men. So that’s why I’m leaping to add my voice to this blog. I want people to understand why so many of us are doing this. I’ve always known I was a mother, I just needed a little help to get there. And I thank God — thank God thank … Continue reading