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 a workshop. Bring 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 was an aura of shame … Continue reading

First Steps

Recently I’ve made the first move into becoming an SMC. I paid a visit to my doctor-it was as simple as that.  Technically there were many unofficial first steps before that, such as the research, the saving, and of course,  joining the SMC organization.  But this, however, is the first concrete action that I could mark on the calendar as the first day, a tangible act that will propel me closer to my goal.

Such a small act to accomplish, yet it took me forever to muster the courage.  Reaching out to my doctor was the first time I had ever vocalized wanting to be a mother to another person. Everyone who knows me has known me by my no-child-having stance that has stood firm for the last 20 or so years. I haven’t really updated anyone on this yet; for now I like keeping the secret to myself, it … Continue reading

SMC-hood and the 40th Anniversary Event

As an SMC, I often get asked “How do you do this alone?” The truth is, while I have chosen to raise my daughter without a partner, I never intended to do it alone. Building a support system of friends, family and fellow SMCs has been a crucial part of my journey.  I do believe that it takes a village to raise a child and in my case it also took a village to make a child. My path to motherhood included donor sperm, 4 IUIs, two rounds of IVF, 2 miscarriages, loss and ultimately the birth of my daughter via surrogacy using my remaining frozen embryos. I wouldn’t have had the resilience to continue on my eight year fertility journey or my first years as a mother navigating parenting during a pandemic without a really solid  support system.

As I look back on my journey I remember the “Choose Continue reading

My Village

Just a few short weeks ago, my aunt died. This was a woman who was among the first to tell me she supported me fully when I told her I wanted to become a Single Mother by Choice (SMC) … the woman who threw me a baby shower, the first person aside of my mom to come visit my newborn son, and the woman who told me she thought it was “awesome” how I was choosing to live my life. To say her loss has been huge to me would be an understatement.

She was clearly beloved in her community, as evidenced by the hundreds of people who came to pay their respects at her wake and funeral. But I had always known that and admired it about her. And this woman, who I so wanted to emulate for many reasons, had me wonder as she lay dying of cancer, … Continue reading

I’m Not Alone!! Oh Great Goddess, I am NOT ALONE!

Unless you are nearing or over 40, single and childless, you cannot imagine how I feel and that’s not your fault – we are just living different experiences. I have not been able to express to my friends how it FEELS to be in my situation, but I am now connected with other women who TRULY understand what it’s like to want a child so much that they will do it on her own – even when deep down they really want the whole family package. Seriously, if we were given more time biologically, we would wait for the right relationship, but we don’t have that luxury.

It means so much to me to have access to people who are going through what I am going through and to share their experiences too. The more I read on the SMC Forum, the more convinced I am that I am making Continue reading

Contingency Planning for SMCs

This brief guide is adapted from a paper by SMC member Emily Engel on contingency plans for single mother by choice moms in the UK, which was inspired by the passing of an SMC friend who left a ten-year old daughter. This seems especially relevant in the wake of the coronavirus.

Emily writes, “Mundane things can happen, a sprained ankle, a dose of flu or a stomach bug, or a crisis with another family member may put you in a situation where it’s hard to prioritize the stability and security your child needs. Forward planning may save you a lot of legwork in a crisis, and may defuse some of the underlying anxieties we often push to the back of our mind.”

The Basics:

Start building your family’s “village” before your child is born or comes home.
Make friends with other parents who live nearby and might be able to … Continue reading

The Politics of SMCs

When I first joined the national Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) organization, and my local group, I assumed the other women I would meet – virtually and in person – would be fairly similar to me.  I thought that making such an “unconventional” life choice would be a decision only left-leaning, primarily urban/coastal women would make.  I could not have been more wrong.

What I’ve found instead is an amazingly diverse community of women.  Our political affiliations are all across the spectrum.  We are gay and straight, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and atheist.  We are urban and rural, in the U.S. and Canada and Europe and Southeast Asia, and everywhere in-between.  We are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, and of every possible ethnic mix.  We are creative types and scientists who work from home and travel the world and are unemployed.  We are biological and adoptive moms and waiting-to-be-moms and still-thinking-about-becoming-moms.  … Continue reading

Thinking About Becoming An SMC? Join us!

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

Wonder Woman

Woman superhero When Jamie’s name appears on the caller ID, I know it can’t be good. I always hold my breath when she calls because I imagine she might be calling to tell me they used the epi-pen and Sam is now on his way to the hospital. I am lying sideways in my Lazy-boy, trying to find a way to feel comfortable when I see her number on my cell. Every muscle and joint in my body aches and I feel much older than my forty-four years. I just brought a pyrex bowl of plain white rice back to the kitchen after sampling a few bites and deciding I wasn’t ready to eat when the phone rang.

Sometimes I call Jamie our “daycare provider” but over the years she has become so much more than that. She is a friend, an advice giver, a consultant, a teacher, a partner in crime, … Continue reading

Having an Army of Support

Pregnant womanWhen I began the Trying to Conceive (TTC) process,  I  joined Single Mothers by Choice (SMC).  As I lay here, 32 weeks pregnant with twins on bed rest, I didn’t consider how important a community of support would be before my babies arrived.

While I realize that many SMCs choose to be very private about their decision, I decided very early on to be very open with friends and family. I wanted and needed for people to cheer me on, to support me, and to be a part of my exciting journey. Fortunately, almost everyone “got on the bus” very quickly.

I got pregnant on my 5th cycle and was surprised to learn that I was pregnant with twins. I hoped for a smooth pregnancy but knew the risks. I don’t have family nearby. I live on the East Coast, and my family is in Michigan. At 26 weeks, my … 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