Retrospective: 18 Years as a Choice Mom

From the Introduction:

“For 18 years I have been a Choice Mom. Not including the time Thinking, Trying, Preparing — or the short hormonal time during the first trimester of pregnancy when I wept in my New York City apartment, unsure about the daunting responsibility of raising a child on my own. I didn’t know anything about babies, I lamented at the time. My identity was wrapped up in my career. What had prompted me, at 36, to decide that becoming a mother was a good idea? Wasn’t I too selfish? Didn’t I want the freedom that came from a life of travel and as a lowly paid writer?

“During these 18 years I have grown a lot. I suppose my daughter has, too, but this story isn’t about her. It’s about me. It’s about all of us. Parents. Choice Moms. Single women. What do we become in the process of playing this role? How do we confront our weaknesses? How do we find our strengths?”

In this e-book, I re-visit some of the concepts I raised when I wrote “Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman’s Guide” during the early stages of single parenting. Since then, I’ve met thousands of Choice Moms and single women over the years. What can we learn from each other — and what do we learn from our kids? (Including in the teenage years!)

Thanks to The Sperm Bank of California for sponsoring the creation of this e-guide.

Order it here.

Choice Kids Minneapolis

A group of Choice Kids gathered at the Linden Hills Dunn Bros. coffeeshop one Saturday night

Also in this e-guide:

  • Jessica: how have I handled intense international business travel as a Choice Mom?
  • Shelly: raising two boys to be in respectful relationships with women, and with birth parents
  • Stacy: Looking back at years of fertility challenges.
  • Sarah: Reflections, as you graduate from preschool.
  • Katie’s letter to her future baby
  • Insights from hundreds of Choice Moms boiled into a few pages: wisdom in hindsight.


17 Choice Moms gathered — some of them meeting for the first time, some of them reunited after eight years (since their babies were … babies)

“What I have come to realize is that community isn’t simply defined by those people living next door to you. It’s the interconnectedness of all the people around you that shapes our world. In that sense, it makes being a Choice Mom more like being a member of a global family community.” — Jessica

“I remind myself that being a married or partnered parent is more like being a single parent than not. We all plant our kids in front of TVs, we worry about money and everything else, we get impatient, we hate brushing tangled hair, we fall into bed exhausted, we laugh, we snuggle, we nurture and nourish, we love our kids more than we will ever have the words to express.” — Sarah

“So, it takes a village, right? I believe the more people who love your child, the better for your child. My favorite mantra: All there is, is love and fear; make sure you choose the right side. These are the values that have made me a dedicated practitioner of full openness in adoption.” — Shelly

“One of those miraculous parts about becoming a mother is that you get to participate in the big cycle of life. You suddenly realize that you are just a generation among the many. Just carrying and passing the torch. Not nearly as unique and individual as you once imagined. You realize the world doesn’t revolve around you. That you’d do anything for these little beings in your care. It is humbling and awe-inspiring.” — Stacy

What has worried you along the journey, who supports you on the path, and what do you wish you had known that you’d like to pass along to the women who follow?

  • “START SOONER!!! Not as important: what will other people think, and general stuff (not tied to SMC) that is really not important when baby gets here, like did I do yoga, what color is the baby room, that sort of thing. A great support network is crucial!”
  • “I agree with everyone who wishes they started earlier. My kids were born when I was 34 and 37, and I want a third so it’ll probably happen around age 40. I wouldn’t mind being 10 years younger! Of course I wouldn’t have been able to afford it at that age.”
  • “The biggest decision in front of me at whatever point I was at any given time is scarcely memorable in hindsight. I am 21 weeks pregnant and can barely remember the agony of make the choice to go down this path, actively thinking for more than two years, selecting a sperm donor.”
  • “$$: you make it work. Babies change every day. Just because what worked last night doesn’t work tonight, does NOT mean you failed in some way. If you live in a large metro area, get on multiple daycare waiting lists as soon as you find out you’re pregnant so you have more choices once the baby arrives.”
  • “Better control of my finances would have been helpful before the process. Understanding the magnitude of the life changes. I thought I would fit a baby into my world, but my world has drastically changed to fit the baby (child). It’s the best thing I have ever done, AND it’s hard, but you just do it and build support along the way.”
  • “Follow your heart and don’t let fear stop you. I feel grateful every day for my twin babies!”

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