Table of Contents
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY BABY IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO ME?
One Mother’s Tale of Three Wills
by Robin Singer,
mother to Judy, born 2001
When Judy was born, I had a will in place. I signed it on the eve of my scheduled C-section, having worried myself into a tizzy about the dreadful outcomes possible. After all, I was 40 years old. What if the surgery went horribly wrong and little darling was left alone before I even had a chance to meet her. I designated my dear friend N as the guardian, and my other dear friends M&R were the executors of the will and managers of the estate.
I would have picked one of my sisters to be the guardian for my child—in fact, I felt strongly that she was the best choice—but she lived 3,000 miles away. And I was terrified of the idea of my baby growing up and establishing herself in our community and then having tragedy strike. She would lose me and then lose everything else, too—her home, her daycare, her school, her Rabbi—to go live with my sister, whom she wouldn’t know well—if at all—because of the distance that separated us. I felt that as long as my friend N lived in our town, she could help Judy maintain any ties she had developed. And that trumped it all for me. I couldn’t imagine sending my motherless child to live with an aunt she might barely know. It sounded entirely too Jane Eyre-ish.
CHOICE NUMBER 1
N and I had been roommates before her marriage. She had a three-year-old daughter at the time that I gave birth. This girl was my goddaughter and I her would-be guardian should anything happen to N and her husband. I felt that since N had entrusted me with her child, I could and should do the same. She is a good person, loving and generous, smart and moral, and we shared many of the same values. We saw each other regularly and shared holidays together. She and her kid would come for latkes on Hanukkah, and I would spend Christmas Eve and Day with her. She promised that Judy would attend synagogue and be a bat mitzvah, which I believed she would make happen since I had hired her as my synagogue’s director when I had been on the Board of Trustees six years earlier.
I always professed out loud that she would be a fabulous mom to my girl, should something happen to me, but I had a little bit of nausea when I thought about it.
M&R are a couple that had moved to our town while I was pregnant and whom I became friends with at synagogue. They admired the idea of me having a baby alone and adored J from the moment she was born. They brought me dinner when I was too exhausted to think about cooking. They made sure to bring cute little toys and books for Judy whenever they visited. They invited me to go to the theater with them, both before and after J was born, and invited the two of us to dinner regularly. They babysat for me every other week or so and seemed to enjoy that time with Judy. He is a financial genius, and I figured that if anyone could keep my baby’s meager inheritance solvent enough to support her through college, it would be M.
I had considered naming them as the guardian, but the fact that they had chosen to be child-free seemed to be an indicator that they may not embrace this in a “forever and always” sort of fashion.
The will was signed, sealed, and delivered to me two days before I gave birth.
By the time Judy was 2, I realized what was bothering my about N. N’s daughter was and is an academic genius, slightly awkward socially, a brilliant musician, and a quiet wallflower/follower. My daughter is none of the above. She is bright but not brilliant, a true leader/bully, with no particular talent or virtuosity, and (in my humble opinion) destined to be on the homecoming court.
N and I had discussions about our kids, as moms tend to do when they get together, and our conversations rarely strayed from N telling me how hard it was for her daughter to stay away from kids like my Judy and how terrible and nasty they were to her darling child. And how the parents of those kids—like mine—were negligent and should get a clue. N had a metaphor—the wildebeests and the lions—and reminded me repeatedly that if I didn’t “fix” Judy’s energy, she would run with the lions and the nice girls would avoid her.
I suddenly could not imagine N parenting my child without trying to change her into someone else. I didn’t believe that N could overcome her bias that all children should be like her daughter. I didn’t believe that she could love mine unconditionally. I saw, as my daughter’s personality emerged, that it would be necessary to channel my daughter’s leader/bullying tendencies, but I didn’t believe they should be eradicated. It is part of who she is, part of how I made her. I wanted Judy’s joie de vivre to be celebrated, and I didn’t believe N would do that.
CHOICE NUMBER 2
At the same time, another good friend, S, who had been my birthing coach and who had recently separated from her husband, appeared to be more and more invested in Judy’s day-to-day life. I think as a result of her impending divorce, she came to spend more and more time with us. As I became more uncomfortable with the way N was viewing Judy, I felt increasingly drawn to the way S “parented” her. I felt she embraced Judy’s “dark side” and helped her manage it, without making her feel wrong. I approved of the way she disciplined my daughter— without punishment and without shame. And the fact that S was lonely for a family of her own cemented the deal for me. I asked S if she would be willing, and she joyfully accepted, even volunteering to move into our house so J could stay at her own school and keep our cats (to which S was highly allergic).
I changed my will. S was now the guardian, but I kept M&R as the executors and managers of the estate. The conversation I had with N was difficult, but I felt that it was important to have it. I didn’t want there to be one of those “at the reading of the will” dramas, again a little too much out of Bronte. I fudged a bit, feeling it wasn’t necessary to decimate our friendship. I told her that since S was single, I felt she could be more devoted to Judy…and N actually expressed relief at the decision.
A couple of years later, M&R unexpectedly moved from our little town in Connecticut to a suburb of Chicago. M had been transferred by his company. It took a little less than two weeks for them to tell me and then be gone. It was tremendously sudden. I felt that they could still manage my estate. After all, it was about the money, not about the kid. But I had some unease. How would they know what Judy truly needed, being so far away from her? How well would they communicate with S who would have physical custody of my child? They had seen her multiple times at my home, but contact would become limited now that they lived so far away. It didn’t sit quite right with me.
Shortly thereafter, S became involved with a man. She moved in with him and soon became engaged. One day over dinner, she explained to me that her future husband didn’t want children and had asked her to renounce her position as Judy’s guardian. If something happened to me, he simply didn’t want Judy to be their responsibility. I was devastated by this news but understood her position and resolved to find another guardian.
CHOICE NUMBER 3
Judy was by now 5 years old. I suddenly realized that she had an astonishing relationship with my sister M, despite the cross-country distance that stretched between us. They saw each other twice a year, spoke on the phone every month or so, and sent each other letters and postcards. Judy adored her Auntie M, and my sister had nearly as many pictures of Judy on her refrigerator as of her own three kids.
I thought again about having M act as Judy’s guardian. She would have the stories of my childhood to share with my daughter. She would have the stories of our mother to share with my daughter, who was named for our mother. She is the mother to Judy’s only first cousins. She is closer to my father both geographically and emotionally than I am. I finally realized that M was still and again my first choice for a guardian.
At the same time, I realized that another of my sisters, N2, was also a brilliant financial genius—she could and would take excellent care of my daughter’s monetary future. My sister M, newly named as Judy’s guardian, was worse with money than I am. It would be a terrible mistake to entrust her with the balance of my retirement fund, payment of the life insurance policy, and proceeds from the sale of my home, but N2 would be a perfect candidate.
With a few strokes of my pen, I signed a third will. I never imagined that in five years I would make the decision about guardianship three times, but I did. I never believed that I would change my opinions so drastically about what would be “best” for my daughter, but I did. It never occurred to me that I would make such different choices for such different reasons, but I did. And although I think this decision is the best one for Judy at this time, I’m not so naïve as to think that that there won’t be more choices and pen strokes in the future.
HITTING THE SHELVES
Two Book Reviews
by Shelby Siems
Two memoirs of interest to single mothers and wannabes have recently hit bookshelves. Coincidentally, both Choosing You: Deciding to Have a Baby on My Own ($15.95) and Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map ($17.95) were written by Canadian-born women.
Choosing You by Alexandra Soiseth is the poignant story of a single, heterosexual woman who teaches in and assistant directs the MFA writing program at Sarah Lawrence College. The Saskatchewan native recounts how her emotionally troubled childhood—her mother abandoned the family twice to live in Denmark with her sister, and a teenage boy violated her when she was only eight— and her subsequent weight gain due to low-grade depression contributed to her inability to find love and marriage. At 35, terrified at the prospect of being alone the rest of her life, she asks her best friend’s brother to be her Just-in-Case Guy, a.k.a.. sperm donor. He says “Yes,” but it’s a vague proposition for sometime down the road.
In the meantime, she changes her diet—she had earlier changed her name—and loses 107 pounds as she sets out to find Mr. Right. She dates men from Match.com including Juan, who is unemployed, might drink too much, and isn’t ready for fatherhood. Feeling her age, she decides to have a baby on her own. She Googles for sperm and soon decides on a Scandinavian donor to match her half-Danish/half Norwegian heritage. At 39, she conceives on her first try. Once again she tries to date, but a new relationship peters out when she announces she is expecting, and he announces he has herpes.
Pregnancy is a happy time for her, with the exception of the putting-on pounds part. Weight continues to be an issue both for her and daughter, Kaj, who she removes from one woman’s care over comments made about the year-old’s appearance and food allotment. Looking back, 43-year-old Soiseth is elated she had a child on her own, yet she still doesn’t feel whole. She considers having another baby and Kaj, now three years and three months, wants a sibling.
The author’s prose is highly descriptive and engaging. She takes her time creating scenes and is at her best when self-reflecting and reenacting small moments, such as breastfeeding and undergoing a hysterosalpingogram. The bulk of the story covers her life before Kaj’s birth— readers hoping for a comprehensive account of early single motherhood won’t find it here. The book lacks information about open donors; and unfortunately, Soiseth believes that shortly after giving birth she would find the man to father her next child. When that didn’t happen, she bought only two vials of sperm for a possible second try at the age of 43 (after all, she had succeeded on her first try last time). Although the author professes that she feels pride in her ability to do it all, in fact, she had a tremendous amount of help from a community of friends she created as a surrogate family.
Cryo Kid, overall, is a less satisfying read. Its author, Corinne Heather Copnick, is a 71-year-old grandmother of a girl conceived by donor insemination. Her ambitious project attempts to place her transitioning family in the greater context of changing times. Unfortunately, the Montreal-born Los Angeles transplant doesn’t succeed because she spends too much time discussing her own life and achievements—her attitude, perhaps partly a function of her generation, is a tad superior and classist, even toward her own sister, whose near-fatal stabbing by her husband and the media frenzy following it brought shame to Copnick’s budding celebrity—and tries too hard to be whimsical by employing imaginary voices, conversations, and footnotes from family members, her oldest daughter’s sperm donor, and her own computer. The cover art, which Copnick designed herself, lends the book a strange, otherworldly feel in its depiction of a girl’s profile suspended in space.
Granted, Copnick’s Jewish immigrant background is fascinating, and her career as a Canadian radio and theatrical actress is impressive. (She went on to write books, plays, a screenplay, and poems. The highly educated, bilingual overachiever also sold art and antiques and started her own writing and editing business. As if that weren’t enough, she also hosted international students in her home for two years.) But she loses the memoir’s focus and seems to be aware of it, referring to her own bragging in footnotes.
The story itself is a good one—how a now-divorced McGill University educated couple raised four daughters, only one of whom took the traditional path to marriage and children. Janet, the oldest, got waylaid by the wrong man—a minister-to-be from the sticks. Unable to find a suitable husband postdivorce, she turned to donor insemination. Attempts to get pregnant in Montreal in her early thirties failed. However, eight years later, living in California, she succeeded with the help of fertility drugs. Her daughter, Samantha, is now seven. One of Copnick’s twin daughters, Susan, is pregnant at 42 via IVF, and the other twin is a bisexual in a lesbian relationship who has no desire to bear children.
Copnick marvels at how her family has turned out, admitting that she still prefers the old-fashioned setup. But Janet’s experiences, in particular, have been a thorough education as her family traveled to a mini gathering of half-sibling family members, and her daughter made contact with the donor himself. The story bounces back and forth chronologically and from one voice to another, putting words in the mouth of “Adam,” the fictional donor based on Janet’s real donor. Excerpts from Janet’s diary as well as a family tree of halfsiblings and their mothers are also thrown into the hodge-podge. But the fact that Samantha was asked by her teacher to remove “complicated” parts of her class-assignment family tree, which included her donor father and half-siblings, isn’t pursued, and Susan’s story gets glossed over.
Cryo Kid provides a far-reaching overview of issues surrounding donor insemination and its effect on Copnick’s family. But she would have been better served by telling the story straight. Although some may find her cuteness endearing, this reader just found it annoying.
Shelby Siems, a Boston SMC, holds an MFA degree in creative writing from Emerson College. A former journalist with the Christian Science Monitor, she is looking for an agent for her memoir about conceiving two children with a sperm donor and the first two years of single motherhood.
DEAR MS. ESSIE
Besides the endless questions about whether I should sign up for the Donor Sibling Registry, I have a question about terminology. Many of us (myself included) are pretty clear about NOT referring to the donor as a “father.” In my case, the reason for that is that the word father doesn’t refer only, or even primarily, to biology but mostly to a social role. Personally, I don’t see a significant difference between father and dad. Since my family doesn’t have a father in that definition, I am careful not to refer to the donor as a father. I don’t want my girls to feel abandoned. In contrast, it seems many of us are comfortable with referring to children from the same donor as “half siblings.” Maybe that’s because half-siblings are traditionally part of two different families, and this half-sibling relationship is not so different from the traditional half-sib relationship? Any thoughts on why many of our SMC families have donors, not fathers, but have half-brothers and halfsisters?
Any thoughts on the DSR itself? I’m not sure this is directly relevant, but I’ll give it a try. Anyone besides me have “aunts” and “uncles” who weren’t actually related to them? My parents taught me to call their very close friends as “aunt so and so” or “uncle so and so” because they were important to them and were like family, even though they weren’t actually blood relatives. I don’t remember any confusion around this. Once I figured out that the terms aunt and uncle usually are used for blood relatives, I asked why we called them that and was told that it was because they were so close that they were just like family. Perhaps this is something we can keep in mind when thinking about how we refer to half siblings or donors, for that matter.
Even if a child’s donor is not his/her father socially, he’s his/her father biologically. Also, when I was researching what DI adults had to say about their experiences, I noticed that most of them referred to their donors as “fathers.” For those two reasons, I refer to my son’s donor as his father but also put it in context that he donated his sperm. I believe it’s the context that defines it rather than the term on its own. I’m also comfortable with the term half-siblings. Again, I intend to put it in context for my son: that those half-siblings belong to other families just as he and I form our own familial unit.
About three years ago my when daughter and I were first contacted by a half-sibling mom, my daughter was adamant that she wanted nothing to do with the donor/donor sibs. She saw it as stuff that I was interested in and that’s how I had to approach the subject of donorsibs—those are kids whose Moms used our donor too! Well fast forward to today. There are now three sibs (one boy and two girls) all born in 1995 within seven months of each other and my 13 year-old daughter is the oldest with all the others coming up on 13. Within the last few months the kids have started emailing and hooking up on My Space! Lo and behold friendships and relationships occurred. What happened in between? Well, my daughter grew up and is more secure with who she is.
I joined DSR when my daughter was born, but didn’t post any information for several months. I soon posted my information but didn’t contact anyone. Since then, I have responded to those who have contacted me and exchanged some email and a few pictures with a few of the families. My daughter has 10 siblings. When my daughter was only six months old, we met one family and I didn’t need to worry about how to explain anything to her. The bio-mom had been in contact with all of the other families, to the extent that they were interested in contact, and she was able to give me some background information and show me pictures of the other kids. The physical resemblances were astonishing to me. Here’s my philosophy. Take it slow. Respect everyone’s comfort level and what they are/are not willing to disclose to their children. Be open to contact, but don’t push it. There’s lots of time—“sibling” is an emotionally charged term, and for some people it’s threatening. For example, one family wants to have parentto-parent contact, but doesn’t want to talk about it with their child until the child is much older, because they feel that their existing blended family is their child’s family.
I didn’t have nonbiological aunts and uncles. It was the groovy 1970s. My parents’ friends all went by their first names with us kids! LOL. But I like the idea. In fact, one of my baby showers was an Aunts and Uncles Party. I have a huge family by choice/urban tribe in the Washington, D.C., area, none of whom are biological family. All of whom would have been like Aunts and Uncles to my child had we stayed in the area.
I have to admit, I am always a little horrified to read the posts on this issue. In my view—and we’re all entitled to our own—the biological donor is not a father to my children, he is just a donor. In our case, he was a med student who needed some extra cash to get through school. In my humble opinion, describing him as their father as a result of a single commercial purchase that I made (and I have paid more for a pair of shoes in my pre-child life) is just bizarre. When and if I get married or mate on a permanent basis with someone, then my children will have a father as I understand that word and someone to raise, love, guide, and be responsible for them. In my opinion, the other children who also resulted from vials of biological matter from the same donor are not half-siblings of my children because that implies they are part of our family. They are not. We already have a large, tightly-knit family with one momma, her boyfriend, two grandparents, lots of cousins and aunts and uncles and friends. To me, calling these other children who are not related to us in any meaningful way half-sibs would be confusing and implies a family connection that just doesn’t exist (to us). This is particularly true because the donor I chose, while smart, talented, and good looking, also was very popular and, if the DSR is any indicator, there seem to be upwards of 20 children running around whose mother/parents also used him.
When I joined the DSR there was only one match, so we were in touch. Then there was another and so on and so on until we were a group of six. That’s when we set up a Yahoo group so we could post general info to everyone. I sometimes email a family specifically when I have something to say just to them. The Yahoo group also helps with keeping track of email addresses. We just found 17 more families from another bank but the same donor, so we invited as many of them as we could to join our group. The truth is that you won’t connect with each family in exactly the same way and that’s okay. I’ve found that I feel more connection for the ones I have been in greater contact with.
I don’t think using the term donor, or any other non-father label people prefer, with a child has to imply that a man was not involved. Rather it’s how you tell the story. For example, I’ve given our donor a name. When I tell my daughter her story, I say it takes seeds from a man and an egg from a woman to make a baby and that X agreed to share his seeds. When my children get older I will probably replace the words seeds with sperm, but the concept that it takes two will always be there. I think that is more important than the label.
I’m not in contact with any of our donorsibs (I believe there are three families, but according to the manager of my small local sperm bank, they probably wouldn’t be open to contact). I use the word donor to refer to the nice man who donated his seed so it could meet with my egg and make you! My daughter has used the word donor in a situation or two that I would have preferred that she hadn’t, when she was younger, but those few minutes of discomfort for me are worth the fact that she is fully cognizant of our story. I point out other families and explain that children of the same mother and/or the same father are siblings (or brothers and sisters), but I haven’t yet connected the dots for her about the possibility that our donor may have fathered other children. I want her to come to the realization herself that there may be some donor sibs out there. And I’m thinking that if she doesn’t make that connection herself in the next couple of years (she’s 6) that I will do it for her. I wonder about sounding hypocritical if I’ve been telling her all along that we’re only a mom/kid family, and then she finds out that she might have what she considers to be brothers or sisters. But I do the best I can.
Editor’s Note: In this feature, the wit and wisdom of our very smart and together SMC—Ms. Essie Emcee—is tapped to answer some of the question that SMCs may face. Other sources of extraordinary wisdom can be found on the SMC listserve groups. It was from the Mothering list, in fact, that this question and the answers were shamelessly stolen. If you have a question you’d like Ms. Essie to answer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Box 1642, Gracie Square Station, NYC 10028.
THOUGHTS FROM SINGLE MOMS ON MOTHERHOOD
Editor’s Note: I’m always thrilled to receive your poems, thoughts, entreaties about being the joys, sorrows, frustrations of single motherhood. Bring ’em on!
You Know You’re a Mother When…
By Claudia Cummins
…you’re lying in bed on a Thursday afternoon nursing your eight-month old, trying to convince him that now really is the time to nap—after having awoken him three times this morning while running errands. Your four-year-old trots into the room with his favorite fire truck and begins driving it up and down your shins, making an assortment of beeps and whirs and siren sounds.
You almost tell him to stop, but then you realize it feels kind of good to have these little rubber wheels rolling across your body, and this is actually the closest thing to a massage you’ve had in four years.
Before you know it you have an entire traffic jam of little-boy vehicles stacked upon your arms and legs, and your four-year-old is telling you to hold still or you’re going to upset the whole roadway, but first he wants you to make your feet touch somehow so the roads can intersect. And you’re still trying to convince the little one to fall asleep, contorting your body into ever more impossible shapes in an effort to get your breast to land somewhere in the vicinity of the baby’s thirsty lips.
Except now the baby has spotted the red car carrier and has begun lunging across your body toward it, nearly leaping at it, even though older brother is shrieking that he definitely CANNOT touch that car carrier, or in fact touch any of the vehicles that now completely encircle us on the bed, EVER.
And you think, “This is not at all what I expected but it’s everything I ever wanted.”
By Betsy Jennings
Dirty feet walking across clean floors
Urine everywhere except where it is supposed to be
Sweet conversations in the car ride home.
Giggles and snuggles and a soft little body
Questions and endless why’s
“Mommy?” he calls
I am finally someone’s mommy.
Amid the chaos, the frustration and delight, the seemingly endless lack of time and money,
This little guy is counting on me.
To teach him love, kindness, and compassion.
Help him tame his temper, and keep him trying when he wants to give up.
Teach him all I can about the world around him, and make sure he is taught well when I won’t know.
The concerned eyes as he asks me what is wrong, that beautiful laugh as he delights in something new.
The laughter from me, as he says something funny yet again.
He is such a funny little character, my son.
It’s amazing still
How much my life has changed
Since Mr. Aidan was born,
Nearly three years ago.
God I am happy,
2 Moms, 4 kids, and Whitefish Salad
by Racheal Isan
Sunday started off easy enough. Avery had slept at Sue’s house, another SMC, the night before so I actually got to sleep in on a Sunday morning. Before you get too jealous, sleeping in actually meant 7:30 a.m. The real gift lay in the fact that I got to wake up without a 6-year-old alarm clock and I didn’t have to jump out of bed to make anyone breakfast.
The plan for the day, which is important to this story, was to get to Sue’s house by 11:15 for a bagel brunch before we all headed off to the birthday party of the son of another SMC. Later, I was to take Sue to the airport for a rare business trip. Her son would then sleep at my house and I’d get him to camp the next day. So far, we’re two SMCs and two kids.
On Saturday, Sue told me that Lisa B, another SMC, was dropping her daughter off before the party because she had a funeral to go to. Sue invited her to brunch before the funeral. We’d take her daughter to the party and meet up with her later. Did I mention I have a Suburban and can fit three kids across the row? Now we’re talking three kids and three moms.
As I was leaving my house, Sue put in an emergency call to me. She had left the whitefish salad that I had requested at the deli. Could I run in and get it on my way to her house? No problem. I park in the fire lane because I’m only running in and out. Whitefish salad in hand, rather in purse, I jump back in my truck, and the engine won’t turn over.
Now, I just replaced both batteries less than a month ago and we’re getting ready for a road trip so the last thing I need or want is another problem/expense with the car.
I let Sue know about the battery and called AAA to report a dead battery. I sat outside the deli and waited for the truck. I had a minute to think and decided I just wanted the car towed to the garage especially since I just had new batteries put in and I didn’t like the thought of the car stopping somewhere on the road with me and kids. I called my parents and asked to borrow a car for a few days and filled them in on the details. Lucky for me the party was near their house. I also called Sue and asked if she could pick me up when the tow truck came.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Sue’s car can’t fit three car seats in the back. What are we going to do? The two boys need boosters by law and the girl was still in a car seat. We couldn’t let one of the boys ride to my parents’ house without a seat. Just then the AAA truck called in and I had to get off the phone.
Well, did you know that unless you specify you need a tow, you don’t get a tow truck? It had been years since I relied on AAA for a breakdown, and the truck that came in looked like it could be snack for my Suburban. They also didn’t want to charge two batteries. They told me I had to call AAA back and ask for a tow truck. Not sure why they couldn’t call it in?
So I call Sue back and tell her about the delay. It’s been almost an hour that I’ve been in the sun waiting. I was calm mostly because I knew this would get taken care of, I was in a safe place, and my child was safe. I’ve gotten frustrated before and annoyed and overheated when things like this go wrong, but really, it didn’t change the outcome, only my temper.
So now Sue and I need to figure out what to do. When I get Sue back on the phone, she tells me that now Lisa G., yet another SMC, had called sick and asked if Sue could take her son to the party. Now that I decided to have my car towed, we were in a pickle. Now we’re talking two moms, four kids, and one Honda.
Lisa B. arrives with her daughter in the middle of our discussion a lot like deux et machina. That’s right, she has a beautiful new Town and Country minivan and although she doesn’t ordinarily let people drive it, she volunteered. So Lisa tooled off in Sue’s car to the funeral, I drove Sue, kids, and the whitefish salad to the party. Later, Lisa and Sue switched cars and Sue drove home to get ready for her trip while Lisa dropped me and the two boys at my parents’ house to get a car.
Tell me where else you’d find a solution so easily reached in such a short time so calmly.
That’s what SMCs are all about.
WHAT'S THE BUZZ
NEWSLETTER EDITOR WANTED
Hi all. I’ve been editing this beautiful newsletter for nearly six years now. I think it’s time to hand over the reins. We’re looking for someone creative who can come up with ideas and query fellow SMCs to write articles or to rework posts they’ve written for the listserve. It’s a fun, challenging task that’s about as time consuming as you make it. Please email Nancy Nisselbaum (email@example.com) or Jane Mattes (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested. Thanks.
We’re delighted to announce that we’re beginning the process of making the SMC quarterly newsletter available via email for those who prefer to receive it that way. If you would like to receive an e mail newsletter, please send a note to the SMC office (email@example.com) and indicate that preference, along with which-ever email address at which you’d like to have it sent. You can use any email address, including but not limited to the one you use for the SMC email groups. If you prefer to continue receiving a hard copy of the newsletter, there’s nothing that you need to do; it will continue to come to you via U.S. Mail unless we receive a request from you to change it. Thank you all who have borne with us as we’ve been working for a while to make this change possible.
Many companies provide corporate matching funds to nonprofits such as SMC. This is an easy way for you to double your donation (or more!). Please check to see if your company has an employee matching program, and if it does, contact your Human Resources department to find out if your SMC donation is eligible for a corporate match. SMC is an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and meets federal eligibility for these programs. We have also set up a Children’s Fund to help the children in SMC families whose lives have struck by tragedy. If you would like to contribute to either fund, please send your tax-deductible contribution to SMC, Box 1642, New York, NY 10028 if you are paying by check. If you want to pay by credit card, you can do so via PayPal by using the “send money” feature with the SMC email address firstname.lastname@example.org as the designated address. Indicate whether that the payment is for SMC itself or the Children’s Fund.
I was Donor 274 at the Washington Fertility Study Center. I’m not sure about the number. I’m 5’6″, blue eyes, medium brown hair, blond as a child, light complexion, physicist and computer scientist. English, French, Welsh heritage. I donated from 1982 to 1988 and shipments almost certainly were made to other fertility centers under a different donor number. If any of my children or their parents would like to contact me, it could be useful so I can pass along medical tips. I recently developed an apparent severe vitamin B deficiency, serious if untreated but easily treated with complete success by daily 1000mg oral vitamin B or by monthly injections. Ordinary-strength multivitamins are inadequate. This so-called pernicious anemia sometimes happens to northern Europeans as they approach 60. Symptoms include numb or painful toes, fingers, weakness from anemia, and eventual death if untreated. If treated in time, a normal healthy lifespan can be expected. Respond with further inquiries to email@example.com.
NEW BOOK FOR CHILDREN
Looking for a story to read to your little ones? Not sure how to bring up the idea of all families are different? Fellow SMC Barbara Sue Levin felt the same way and decided to do something about it. Welcome to the world: Just the Baby for Me, a wonderful tale of how a woman was looking to be a mom and the baby who was the perfect fit! Go to www.lulu.com/browse/preview.php fCID=2475872 to purchase this $16 delight.
Mindy Levine is the new contact for the Charlotte SMC group. Contact her at 704-583-1701, mindy110463 @yahoo.com.
Robin Singer is the new Contact Person for Connecticut. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a new arrival you want to crow about? Send the details to Nancy Nisselbaum at email@example.com and I’ll put it in the next newsletter. Congratulations to all our new moms.
Tina Barrett proudly announces the birth of her son Thomas Joseph (TJ). Born a month early on June 28, 2008, he was 5lbs, 4oz, and 20in, TJ is perfectly healthy! I feel so completely lucky to have him in my life— words can’t describe how amazing this feels. I’m so glad I made this decision!
Heather Bellman is excited to announce the birth of her little girl, Meghan Marie Bellman. She was born on April 17, 2008. She was 6lbs, 2oz, and 18.25in. She is my little angel sent down from heaven and I feel enormously blessed to have her in my life.
Hello! Marcia Bennett gave birth to Ethan Frank Bennett on June 6, 2008. He was 9lbs, 4.4oz, and 22.5in.
Joshua Beth is proud as a peacock to announce the birth of her son, Kayin Amishai, who arrived on her 40th birthday, July 8, 2008! Kayin was born in a birthing tub at home in East Oakland, California, surrounded by the loving presence of two midwives and two dear friends. He is a healthy vegan baby, who was 8lbs, 4oz, and 21.5in. Momma Josh is indescribably thrilled to be done with pregnancy and to have her long-awaited child in her arms after nearly a lifetime of longing! Life is so much more complete.
Hillary Brooks is over the moon to announce the birth of Willa Marcel on June 5, 2008. She was 7lbs, 13oz and 20.25in. Willa and I both had to have surgery, a lung lobectomy and a Csection, respectively—the former due to a life threatening case of congenital lobar emphysema—but we are fully recovered now and bonding up a storm.
Jennifer Rose Hale announces the birth of Stuart Liberty, who to Grandma’s delight, shares Elvis Presley’s birthday, January 8. Stuart was 8lbs, 1oz, and 20in.
Esme Howard is happy to have you announce Pablo Caal Pacay Joyce Howard born in Guatemala on March 9, 2007 and placed in my arms on March 26, 2007. The adoption was finalized on October 1, 2007
Sarah Leedy is overjoyed to announce the birth of her daughter, Sabrina Louise, on April 14, 2008. Sabrina weighed 5lbs, 11oz. and has since more than doubled her weight! She is a beautiful and sweet little girl and the joy of my life.
Diane Nielsen announces with joy and wonder the birth of Kai Alexander Nielsen on May 27, 2008. He was 7lb, 11oz, and 19.5 in, After almost three years of trying and failing to conceive, he truly is a miracle baby.
Carolyn Oliner and big brother Steven (5 .5 years old) are overjoyed to announce the birth of Jason David Oliner on March 11, 2008. He was 3 1/2 weeks early and the end of the pregnancy was difficult, but we’re all doing well now. He is the light of our lives and we’re ecstatic that he’s joined our family.
Melinda Pankratz and big sister Chloe Jane joyously announce arrival of Thomas Michael, born August 29, 2008, at 8:34 am. He was 7lbs, 1oz, and 20in. Chloe Jane was immediately enthralled with him and is constantly giving him kisses and asking to hold him. I can’t imagine anything more precious. I feel so blessed to have two amazing children.
It is with total joy that Candice Polsky announces the birth of her daughter, Natalie Grace, on May 29, 2008. She was 6lbs, 14oz, and 20.5in. When she was placed in my arms, I finally understood the true meaning of love and devotion.
Ambar Karina Ruiz-Ayala was born in Guatemala on October 4, 2007. She arrived to Puerto Rico on June 4, 2008 to join her mom (Mayra) and her forever family.
Robyn Steiner is thrilled to announce the birth of her twin daughters, Amanda Rose and Jordyn Sydney. The girls were born on August 1, 2008. Amanda arrived at 10:47 a.m. and weighed 6.5lb, and Jordyn arrived at 10:49 and weighed 7lbs. We are happy to be settling in at home, and mommy is enthralled by her two little miracles.
Victoria Tomlinson is delighted to announce the birth of Matthew John on July 26, 2008, weighing in at 7lb, 7oz.
Debrah Wirtzfeld and big brother Eric are pleased to announce the arrival of Ryan Robert, born on July 9, 2007. He was 9lbs and 20in. He is truly an angel!
ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
This newsletter is published quarterly by Single Mothers by Choice Inc., a nonprofit founded in 1981. Annual subscriptions to this newsletter are included free with a membership ($55 for first year, $35 for renewal) or by subscription at $25 per year. Give a friend a gift. We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
We welcome submissions of original material. All material is published at the discretion of SMC and may be edited. SMC claims sole editorial authority and responsibility for the contents. Articles published in this newsletter represent the views of the author and not necessarily that of SMC. Send submissions to Nancy Nisselbaum at the SMC office or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SMC accepts advertising at the rate of $1,000 per page(adjusted proportionately for fractions of a page). Classified ads or announcements from our members for noncommercial ventures are accepted without charge. Jane Mattes, CSW, the publisher of the newsletter, is the founder of SMC and author of Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood. Jane is also a psychotherapist and can be reached at (212) 988-0993, at email@example.com, or at the SMC office at Box 1642, Gracie Square Station, New York, NY 10028.
Newsletter editor: Nancy Nisselbaum, firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 897-3413.
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Entire contents copyright © 2008, Single Mothers by Choice Inc. All rights reserved.