Therapists who understand the Choice Mom journey

These mental health therapists have an interest in working with single women about grief, fertility, adoption, and other aspects of the Choice Mom journey. They are Choice Moms, or have been recommended by Choice Moms.

See also this page for more details about Our Top 6 therapists, who have proactively supported the community by sponsoring this website of resources in 2014.

Choice Moms who are therapists

  • Sarah Kowalski: San Francisco/Oakland; (415) 305-4692 or  Sarah, a new Choice Mom in 2014, is a former attorney turned Life Coach who specializes in the mind/body connection. She endured many fertility struggles getting pregnant and eventually traveled to Mexico to use an egg donor. She is writing a memoir about her journey that includes spiritual life lessons and how-to details. She coaches women who are struggling with the decision to become a Choice Mom, facing fertility issues, or considering egg donation in the U.S. or abroad.
  • Lori Gottlieb, 310-853-3567, Los Angeles. Fellow author and Choice Mom Lori is a licensed therapist who coaches Choice Moms and mothers-to-be via phone and Skype, if you aren’t in the L.A. area.
  • Stacey MacGlashan, 720.985.5459, Lakewood, Colorado. A licensed clinical social worker who has written an excellent memoir about her experiences as a new Choice Mom. She has a special interest in working with people who are anxious, depressed, have experienced trauma, grief and loss.
  • Jane Mattes, New York City, author of “Single Mother by Choice”
  • Susan Hall, LMHC, 206.660.5483, Seattle (Choice Mom)
  • Felicia Shamma, 909 885 5757, San Bernardino/Inland Empire. She has a special interest in building/creating donor sibling relationships. She has spoken at my networking events in San Francisco and Los Angeles over the years, and I’ve interviewed her for a very popular podcast episode about “Making the leap, miscarriages and newborn days.”
  • Arlene Rubenstein, Seattle, 206-356-3870, 444 Ravenna Blvd, Seattle, WA (Greenlake area). I met Arlene at one of my New York City events, and since then she has retained roots in both the East Coast — where she lived when she became a Choice Mom of a daughter who is now teenaged — and West Coast, where she builds support groups and one-on-one relationships with women in the Thinking and Trying stages. She does telephone consultations as well, and will work on a sliding scale.
  • Lori Rifkin, San Francisco/San Rafael, 415 485-1976. She began her Choice Mom journey at 40 and has been a member of groups in San Francisco and Marin since then, as a thinker, a tryer and a doer. She was thrilled to become a single mom 10 years ago.
  • Jordana Raiskin, Austin, Texas, 512-445-1975. I had the pleasure of meeting Jordana at a Choice Mom networking event in Austin. As a Choice Mom and psychotherapist, she can help you find the resources you need to make decisions about this journey.
  • Lorraine Munro, Toronto, (416) 929-1816 x323. Choice Mom of two, Lorraine is a psychotherapist with experience particularly in the context of queer communities, with fertility, birth planning, parenting, relationships.
  • Lorna Cheifetz, Phoenix, 602-381-1277. A Choice Mom with a grown child who is a practicing Clinical Psychologist and a long-time member of Choice Mom discussion boards who can speak to you with authority and experience about any concerns you have on this journey.
  • Lee Varon, Cambridge, MA, 917-566-4321. A psychotherapist and an adoptive mother of two, has written the definitive book about single parent adoption, “Adopting on Your Own: The Complete Guide to Adopting as a Single Parent.”

Geographical Resources


Los Angeles area

  • Lori Gottlieb, 310-853-3567, Los Angeles. Read her Choice Mom article on being the “perfect single parent” here.
  • Elaine Gordon, Los Angeles, 310-454-0502. Author of a book for children about donor conception, Elaine is interested in creating a support group for Choice Moms in her Santa Monica office.
  • Ellen Speyer, Newport Beach/Orange County, Calif., 949-252-1525. She has long been a voice for single mothers by choice to talk to about their decision-making processes, and is interested in helping our community in Orange County find support. She has a specialization in gestational surrogacy.

San Francisco area

  • Jean Benward, San Ramon, (925) 820-9023 — a great on-hand therapist at our most recent networking events
  • Madeline Feingold, Berkeley/Walnut Creek, 510-540-8715. A long-time financial supporter of Choice Mom resources, including this website.
  • Barbara Waterman, 510-763-1800, Oakland, Calif.
    Barbara is uniquely qualified to talk about building connections as a non-biological mother; she is author of The Birth of an Adoptive, Foster or Stepmother.


  • Gail Zarbin L.C.S.W., Oak Park, (312) 502-8367 (participated at our Choice Mom networking event in Chicago)
  • Leia Ogburn, LCSW, CADC, (309) 682-3915
    Ogburn Counseling Services, Peoria Heights
    Specialties: Infertility (emotional issues, when to stop treatment, gestational carrier/surrogacy issues, donor egg/embryo issues, adoption issues, etc.), postpartum issues, grief counseling, stress management, and more.

Lee Varon, author of “Adopting On Your Own.”

Rochelle Anixt Gold, LMSW, ACSW, MA, Birmingham, (248) 642-3101
Private practice setting work with concerns about reproductive health care and emotional health to understand feelings about conception difficulties, the experience of pregnancy.



  • Andrea Braverman, Morristown, 484-802-2534 — also practices in Philadelphia
  • Joni Mantell, L.C.S.W., Infertility and Adoption Counseling Center, Pennington, (609) 737-8750, or NYC, (212) 579-1776

Carolyn Berger, L.C.S.W., NYC/Larchmont, (914) 834-6396

New York City


Windy Ezzell, North Carolina, 910.256.3784. Associated with Inner Solutions Counseling: A Center for Growth and Healing, Windy helped moderate discussion at our March 2011 event in Raleigh. She has a comprehensive ability to work with you on issues of fertility health, loss and mind/body, and is available for phone consultations.



  • Gretchen Sewall, 206-301-5000, Seattle
    After Gretchen was referred to my “Choosing Single Motherhood” book, she was re-reading parts of it during a hospital visit and accidentally left it behind. When she returned to pick it up she told me there were two nurses interested in learning more, not realizing there were so many great resources to help women make this decision. She has offered this post about embryo donation.
  • Susan Hall, LMHC, 206.660.5483, Seattle (Choice Mom)
  • Arlene Rubenstein, M.Ed., Seattle, 206-356-3870 (Choice Mom)

SPECIALTY: Answering children’s questions

These authors/therapists contributed to the Choice Moms CD about answering our children’s daddy and donor questions:

  • Anne Bernstein, Berkeley area, author of “Flight of the Stork: What Children Think (and When) about Sex and Family Building.”
  • Diane Ehrensaft, Berkeley area, author of “Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates”
  • Jane Mattes, author of “Single Mothers by Choice”


  1 comment for “Therapists who understand the Choice Mom journey

  1. Irena Milentijevic,Psy.D.
    October 9, 2010 at 11:00 am

    We have a Free Donor Parent Support Group in Houston that meets 1st Thursday of the month at 6pm 7900 Fannin. We have a lot of single moms by choice. We hope to be a resource for all single moms in the Houston area.
    For more information please check or

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