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

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

When 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

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

SMC Ambassador

An experience I had this evening left me thinking about how far I’ve come from the scared (okay, terrified) almost-40-year-old woman who started tentatively on the road to single motherhood 4 years ago and I wanted to share it, since many of you may have had similar experiences.

When I decided to move forward with this crazy plan, the thing that scared me most was what on earth I would tell people about my “status” as a single, pregnant woman. I see similar posts on the SMC organization’s “Thinking” section of the online Forum and my heart always goes out to those women. I want to reach out to them and reassure them that in the larger scheme of things it really won’t matter after a few days or weeks or months. At least, it didn’t for me. I embraced my pregnancy with such joy that by the time I … 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

Inspiration and Fear

I’ve learned so much from others since starting this journey.

Once you make that big decision to become a Single Mother by Choice (SMC), your thinking changes.  Even though I’m not a mom yet, and I’m convinced that everything will change again once I have my child in my arms, I know I’ve already started to think more like a mother, to identify more with the stories of other women, other mothers.

The private online SMC members’ Forum, blogs like this one, and even Facebook give you the opportunity to peek into other women’s motherhood experiences.  It’s inspiring to see women conquer infertility.  It’s inspiring to see women make single parenting of multiples look not only doable, but joyful.  (Parenting isn’t easy, but it should be joyful, IMHO.)

In addition to the inspiration there is support.  The value of a kind word from someone who has “been there, done that” … Continue reading

Needed: Honest Mom Friends

Me, making polite small talk with a friend and fellow baby boy mom: So how’s your little guy?

Her, replying in an equally sweet tone: Oh, good, thanks. And yours?

Me: Great… (pause, wondering how this will be received, then not caring, because I really needed to spew) …but he’s kind of driving me nuts wanting to ‘walk’ all the time and not letting me put him down even to pee without freaking out. Weekends alone with him are exhausting right now. I live for naptimes.

Now she could have laughed and tried to convince me it was just a stage, or nodded and said, “Yeah, that must be tough,” leaving me feeling even more guilty about not loving and cherishing every moment I’m home with Little Man.

Instead she shared her own honest feelings about the loveliness that occurs as babies develop their own personalities and opinions (i.e. temper … Continue reading

“I've been a member for 14 years. From deciding to start trying through my child’s high school years. I've found SMC to be a trustworthy, valuable online community. I highly recommend tapping into this brain trust of experienced single moms who chose this path.”

– Anonymous