What is a “Single Mothers by Choice”?

I met my friend Rhonda through a local chapter of the national organization Single Mothers by Choice (SMC). She and I both joined around the same time. The first time we met in person I got out of my car, and I was greeted by a tiny woman in a shimmering magenta jogging suit, her eyes hidden behind big round black sunglasses. We nervously shook hands and began talking about who we were and where we came from and how far along we were in our journey as we walked a 3-mile loop that winds along the Mississippi River and back downtown.

The second time we met we sat in a crowded coffee bar, and I drank a decaf latte a week after my second insemination. I played with the lid on my drink and told her that I didn’t want to sound terribly shallow but I was afraid of … Continue reading

Getting Started: Questions to Ask Yourself

You’ve had that incredible moment — the zing of excitement that comes when you realize the child (or children!) you’ve wanted can still be yours, even if you are single. But how do you know that single motherhood is right for you? And what path to motherhood should you take? There are a lot of things to consider before you decide to begin your journey. Here are some to get you started:

What are my options for becoming a mom? How much does each option cost? What options are financially feasible for me?

If you have good health insurance, doing donor insemination via IUI or IVF could be very inexpensive; if not, it can get pretty expensive. Adoption can be very pricey depending on the route you take. If you are open to DCFS adoption, it’s much less expensive, but private adoption generally runs $30K – $40K; international adoption can … Continue reading

Motherhood — Part 2

(This is the second half of Motherhood. The first half recently appeared in this space.)

If I decide to become a single mother, I would probably also be deciding that my child would be an only child. Not only would s/he not have a father, but also it would be just the two of us. Going it alone would be hard enough financially and mentally, so thinking about a second on my own is probably not in the cards. Some of my best memories growing up involve my brothers: chasing after each other, inventing games, and having a buffer or distraction when we were stuck with our parents for too long in a confined car on road trips. As adults we’ve bonded in a completely different way and I can’t imagine not having these relationships in my life. Who am I to knowingly deprive my child of that … Continue reading

Motherhood – Part 1

34…single…female…The age keeps changing, but the relationship status does not. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been in a long-term relationship. While I desire a partner in life, a best friend to spend my days with, what I yearn for even more is motherhood. It’s not just a yearning from the heart, but I feel it from my ovaries…from the center of my being.

Throughout college and adult life, I have gone back and forth on what type of career I want to have and whether I even want to have a career at all. The one constant has always been that I want to have children. I want to bear at least one child and then possibly adopt. A mother is what I feel I was meant to be above all else..

At some point in my mid to late 20’s I decided that if I hadn’t met … Continue reading

Serial Monogamy – A Memoir

One day in 1990, the title of a workshop caught my attention: Last Call for Motherhood:  Are you a woman over 35 that has always thought motherhood would be part of your life, but it has yet to come to pass? Are you willing to contemplate becoming a “single mother by choice” despite the potential disapproval of family and friends? If you would like to devote some time and emotional effort into answering these questions for yourself, join us on Saturday, May 15,1990 for an all day workshop. Bring a lunch and a notebook and a willingness to share your deepest thoughts.

I immediately signed up. It was just what I needed to help me figure out if, in fact, single motherhood was the right path for me.

In a small room I sat with five other anxious women as we silently awaited the arrival of the instructor. There … Continue reading

Lightbulb Moments On My Way to Motherhood.

Taking the Single Mother by Choice (SMC) route has been an amazingly interesting journey so far (which is a little like saying we saw some snow last 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 all together but I wasn’t able to acknowledge that yet).  My therapist commented: “He may not be a sure bet 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 … Continue reading

Thinking About Becoming An SMC?

At this time of year, SMC usually sees a pop in new members joining the SMC organization, perhaps due to New Year’s resolutions, or maybe just because it’s the start of a new year. And the biggest question for maybe-SMCs (who we call “Thinkers”) is often, “How can I do this? Or, “Can I do this?”

There’s no question that being an SMC is challenging, as well as incredibly wonderful. So I’ve compiled some good tips written by our members on our lively 24/7 online Forum to help answer those questions. For more good advice, join SMC and discuss your “thinking” questions with our members (either online or in person) who are in the same place and/or have been there.  To join, go to: singlemothersbychoice.org/membership 

When my budget would allow it, I hired a babysitter for 2 hours every Wednesday from 4-6 pm.  It really made a difference for me, Continue reading

A Shift in the Tears

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

Grief

I recall learning the stages of grief in graduate school. D-A-B-D-A, my professor stated. He was providing an acronym to assist us with recalling that grief progressed through the stages of Denial then Anger followed by Bargaining then Depression and finally Acceptance. The stages appeared to make sense and seemed pretty straightforward; that is until you actually have to go through them!

I ran head-on into grief when I began to view motherhood as a reality I must experience. Why was I grieving? I had to mourn the loss of my vision for the future, my Plan A (as it’s often referred to in the world of SMC). Plan A for me meant boyfriend, followed by marriage, and then children. But that is not how life played itself out, and at the age of 42, I was left having to consider a new path: Plan B.

When I joined the … Continue reading

“I've been part of the SMC community since I was thinking about getting pregnant. They always have my back with useful, nuanced advice, trustworthy info, and personal experience. I feel honored to be a member, and to see all the children grow up alongside mine.”

– Sophie Holland