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

Unsure, Unsettled, Undecided

From our online SMC discussion Forum: “The pendulum of my SMC decision-making has most recently swung toward NO WAY!! How could anyone ever do this? How could I ever do this? NO, NO, NO!!! I had been more positive about choosing to be an SMC, but I haven’t been able to shake this place I am now in. I could use some feedback about the different stages you have gone through as well as some of your thoughts and feelings about how one can do something seemingly so emotionally, physically, and financially difficult as having and raising a child alone. At the moment, only the model of two parents together works for me, no matter how I turn it around. I would like to get back to a more open place about it.”

Unsure

Dear Unsure:

First of all, you don’t have to do this and that’s okay. Second of Continue reading

Refusing To Wallow In My Single Status

As any good English teacher and writer would, when I got to the stage of acting on my decision to have a child, I turned to books, lots of books. One that was touted as a classic for women in my situation, likely because it was one of the first to be written, was Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood by Jane Mattes.

I loved the Single Mothers By Choice organization and had already joined. I found the Forum and the information and support there to be super. But the book was published in 1994. A lot has changed since then. The definition of family has expanded a great deal, and non-traditional (divorced, blended, single parent, and gay couple) families actually outnumber traditional families. (A super cool statistic for a liberal chick looking to join these ranks!) It was … Continue reading

Skipping Steps to My Happily-Ever-After

Choosing Motherhood

Most women’s journey to motherhood begins with a trip to the bedroom. Mine began with a trip to my parents’ basement. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as kinky as that sounds.

While visiting my parents, I spied a pile of nostalgia on a dusty shelf downstairs: old photos, yearbooks, and my senior year psychology project. I think the project was supposed to be a sketch of our lives from birth to death, but hand a bunch of adolescents an assignment like this, and you’re just asking for a suburban girl’s mash-up of Sex in the City meets Cinderella, complete with magazine cut-outs of wedding dresses and beaus-to-be. I didn’t think of myself as overly boy-crazy back then. I certainly didn’t keep bridal clippings in my nightstand like some of my friends, but I was raised on Disney princesses, too. I knew how life was supposed to work out.

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Testing The Waters

My mother and I just finished a phone conversation about my plans for the upcoming weekend. We discussed how the guy I’m currently casually dating is not coming to visit (he lives 2.5 hours away) because he has to work tomorrow. In the past month, he and I have backed off a bit, mainly because I’m busy, he’s busy, and yeah, it’s long distance. I really like him and could see myself marrying/having kids with him, but he’s older and already has two teenagers (ages 15 and 13). He has a lot of drama in his life unrelated to me, and while he says he wants to eventually get married and have more kids, part of me doesn’t believe him. The two he has are close to 18, and he’ll then be done paying formal child support. Part of me thinks he’s just telling me he wants more kids because … Continue reading

“To me, being an SMC means taking the courageous step to fulfill your dreams. The support, empowerment, and honest advice I received from other SMCs gave me the courage to take this step, and when I look into my baby's eyes, I know it's the best decision I've ever made.”

– Nikita Parsons