I painted my guest room today. It made me think of all the rooms I have painted in the last 11 years.
The living room of the first home I purchased. I was so excited to own my own home after years of apartment living. I had my first real job after graduate school, and felt single and empowered while picking out paint colors at Home Depot. Of course, I did still hope that Mr. Right would show up sometime soon. He didn’t.
The child’s room for the home study to become a foster parent. I will always remember the name of the light blue color swatch, as it foreshadowed the heartbreak a year later when the judge sent her back to her biological mother. It was called “Salty Tears.” After she left I didn’t open the door to her room for six months. Eventually I repainted it a dark … Continue reading
A phrase that my fellow Single Mothers by Choice (SMCs) and I are quite familiar with is, “I don’t know how you do it.”
Early in my parenting journey, I used to get extremely irritated by this phrase, and spent some time navel-gazing, trying to figure out why it bothered me so much. I never really came up with a satisfactory explanation. Was it because I was insecure in my abilities and that insecurity was exacerbated by having someone else point out how difficult single parenting is? Was it because people who say they don’t know how I do “it” don’t really understand what “it” is, so the statement is meaningless — because it merely exposes a lack of critical thinking on their part? Was it because I was uncomfortable being made out to be some kind of superwoman? Was it because making a big deal of my situation seemed … 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
So I had finally made the decision to start trying to get pregnant on my own. I had found myself a Reproductive Embryologist, a handsome Italian doctor with full-sleeved tattoos on both biceps. I wrote the story in my head of how my doctor would inseminate me and then become my lover, my partner, my child’s father. It definitely seemed like the rom-com I had been waiting to star in my whole life.
I was sitting at my desk at work, just a few days away from insemination, and all of a sudden, an invisible brick fell out of the sky and hit me on the head. I could almost see the pebbles of concrete rolling down the sides of my hair and the dusty clouds billowing up around me like in a cartoon. Blamo. No way, I thought. No f-ing way.
You can not do this, I thought. I … Continue reading
You should know that I have been yearning to meet you for a very long while. It’s been a tough fight and at times I’ve wanted to give up, but meeting you is so much more important.
As long as there is the slightest bit of hope, I won’t give up. Seeing that pregnancy test say pregnant, learning about increasing HCG levels, and finding out you’re on the way have been the happiest moments of my life. During this journey, I can’t wait to hear your heartbeat, feel you move around, or hold you in my arms. Most importantly I can’t wait to give you all the love I’ve been storing up. And honestly you’ll have more love than you will ever need because your support system that is patiently waiting your arrival is ready to love you too.
I know that you are worth every second and … Continue reading
Go back with me to eight years ago. My boyfriend of a year-and-a-half and I had The Talk. I’d thought we were firmly on the same page about commitment and family. Problem was, there didn’t seem to be any movement toward that. I hadn’t even met his family. So I asked him about our future.
He looked panicked– not the reaction I was hoping for. He stalled for time, telling me, “can we talk about this later, baby? The game’s on.” Again, the banality of this scene made me want to kick myself. I couldn’t believe I had become this person.
As he kept one eye on the hockey, I told him that we were both 40, and I was ready for a real commitment and a baby. He adjusted his junk and half-turned to me, “Okay, I’m getting a handle on this,” he said. He told me that sure, … Continue reading
Four years ago this month I conceived my first child by a non-medicated, intrauterine 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
Women considering the path of single motherhood by choice often experience many fears. One fear is that they will never date again if they start a family without a partner. This fear is most commonly experienced by women who are romantically interested in men.
After all, societal narratives often steer men away from dating single mothers. What man would want to raise another man’s kid? If you listen to all the male “romance gurus” on YouTube who dish out advice (while seemingly never having had a meaningful relationship of their own), you could be forgiven for thinking that only an undesirable “simp” would date a single mom. A man so worthless — with so little self-esteem — that he would stoop to the level of considering his partner’s feelings and sacrificing a certain level of freedom, wild sex, and partying to be in a committed relationship. A man so pathetic … Continue reading
Here is what I’ve learned in the first six months of mothering:
1. There are a million toys out there to buy babies, but your kid will probably just want to play with the box it came in. Or with the toy you fished out of the garbage.
2. Your baby will like the dumbest book on the shelf, and you will be forced to read it every night. Do not even try to get her to like classics such as “Eloise” or “Amos and Boris.” She just wants the stupid one about finding her bellybutton.
3. She will always pee on the changing table if you roll the dice and leave her undiapered for 15 seconds.
4. Babysitters who have been doing this for a long time know way more than you do about raising your kid. They are pros. Pick their brains and hope they don’t charge you … Continue reading
Becoming a single mother by choice goes against society’s script. When you announce that you are planning to start a family on your own, you might be disappointed by the response you receive.
Why don’t your friends and family want you to have a baby on your own? Can’t they see that having a child will be a wonderful and joyful addition to your life?
It’s a new concept to them
I still remember when I got my first tattoo as a teenager and my grandfather saw it. He was shocked, even horrified. In his generation a “good girl” would never dream of getting a tattoo. But you know what? He came around. He just needed a little time to adjust.
A similar pattern can occur when a woman tells members of previous generations that she is considering becoming a single mother by choice (SMC). SMCs are something that older … Continue reading