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Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman's Guide Paperback – May 20, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman's Guide
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  • Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood
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  • Choosing You: Deciding to Have a Baby on My Own
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MIKKI MORRISSETTE is a Choice Mother of two and a longtime journalist. She has been both a writer and an editor at Time Inc. and has written and edited special projects for The New York Times. She lives with her children in Minneapolis, where she maintains the ChoiceMoms.org website, and travels around the world hosting workshops for single women who are contemplating and making this choice.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I was one of the lucky ones. Before I became a Choice Mom, I was oblivious to the issues that many Thinking Women face. I didn’t worry about whether I could afford it, because I had a high-paying job. I didn’t worry about whether I could handle the stress of solo parenting, because I assumed that I could handle anything. I didn’t grieve the fact that I was embarking on motherhood without a lifetime partner, because I had never been a fan of convention. So I was lucky — at the start, anyway. Ignorance can be bliss.
Shortly after I became pregnant I started to freak out about whether I would actually like being a mother. Maybe I’d been foolish to think it was the logical next step of my life . . . maybe I was supposed to stay solo, traveling and writing and having experiences as a lone wanderer in the universe. Wouldn’t my life stop if I was locked inside four walls changing diapers and, ohmigod, actually preparing three meals a day, and helping someone else turn into a person who had experiences? Bump.
After my daughter was born, in that first year of often lonesome, scary motherhood I discovered many moments of sadness that I wasn’t sharing her development, and mine, with someone else. My local friends were single and childless, with no real interest in being part of my motherhood journey. My family was literally a thousand miles away. I didn’t have a childhood dream of “husband, wife, and kids” to grieve, but I found myself grieving something I couldn’t even define. Bump.
After three months of unpaid leave, I was ready to return to my well-paid job — only to learn that I was being “eliminated.” CRASH!
Talk about a rude awakening to the realities of life. In hindsight, I’m happy I was oblivious beforehand to how much my life would change. After talking to more than 100 women about their struggles in reaching this decision — and their struggles after — I understand how lucky I was to avoid many of the typical concerns before Sophie was born. Although I had no regrets about being a Choice Mom, my hard-won lessons about the bumps in the road made it more difficult to make a decision the second time. It took about two years of inner debate before I chose Choice Motherhood again, and Dylan was born.
Today’s Choice Mothers feel less stigma about their decision than did pioneers of the 1980s. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice. Women today tend to focus less on whether having a child will be seen as “legitimate” for her and the child, and more on whether the decision itself is a legitimate one: Will I have the strength and energy to be a good mother? Do I have the financial, emotional, and support resources to pull it off? Should I wait a little longer to see if life turns a new corner? If you’re struggling with some of the typical “Should I?” conflicts, the next four chapters have been written to help you through.
“Am I Single-Mom Material?” looks at some of the most common reasons women hesitate as they contemplate this choice.
“Can I Afford It?” explores the number one issue of concern, finances, based on results of an informal survey I did in 2003.
“Grieving the Childhood Dream” includes personal stories of women who came to this decision reluctantly, having dreamed for years of raising children with a lifetime partner.
“Will My Community Accept Us?” examines the disapproval women have faced from family, friends, and other members of their local network. It also revisits the national conversation Vice President Dan Quayle launched in 1992 about Choice Motherhood when he decried the TV show Murphy Brown for mocking the importance of fathers.

NOTE: These are very common concerns. While the material here is ultimately reassuring — so many women have addressed them and gone on to Choice Motherhood — there are many more women who have chosen not to become a single mother because of these questions. Listen closely to yourself.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618833323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618833320
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gwyneth Wray on January 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
The author of this extensively researched book is the mother of two children conceived by known donor insemination. The first part of the book explores issues relevant to women who are making the decision about whether to pursue single motherhood. This includes assessing motivation, financial implications, grieving the childhood dream of raising children within a loving realtionship, community reactions and the impact on a child of growing up without a father.

The next section covers chssoing the method, including adoption and donor insemination. The section entitled day to day parenting includes coping with stress, the importance of a support system, a discussion on talking with children and others about their conception, and confronting identity issues. It is helpful that some accounts of difficult experiences are included, including a moving account from a mother of two children with special needs. There is information about policies around the world, including the removal of donor anonymity in the UK.

Of great interest to me (as the mother of a seven year old), was the chapter which includes interviews with young adults and teenagers raised by Choice Moms, as the author refers to them. This was a small sample consisting only of those who were willing to share their thoughts, but most of them were well adjusted and reported healthy and nurturing relationships with their mothers. There is an extensive list of website addresses and other resources. This book is a useful addition to the literature available for single women considering parenthood, as well as those who already have children.
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This book is a MUST for any woman considering single motherhood by choice. In today's world, many women are choosing to have a child without having a life partner. There are many issues to consider and the author covers them all. The book discusses the logistical aspects which include making the choice, legal issues, and choosing the method to become pregnant or adopt. The book also covers the emotional and delicate issues: Can I handle being a single mother? How will my family and friends react? How will I tell my child about their conception? Will my child be accepted? The book is informative, funny, honest and well-researched. It's a book to read and to keep as a reference for any woman choosing to be a "choice mom."
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Speaking as someone who has already accomplished choice motherhood, the best part of this book is the expert advice addressing what the tough issues are and ways to solve them.

Raising a boy as a single mother isn't easy. There are obvious and (as I learned from the book) not so obvious reasons why children need both same- and opposite-sex role models. I really had never considered that rough-housing could be a teaching mechanism rather than just a testosterone-laden way of bonding! Mikki has included research from many different child experts and provides a concise synopsis of ways to lessen the effects of the tough realities that we can't avoid.

This book is a must-read and has a place of honor on my reference shelf.
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This book, in my opinion, is a good reference for every woman considering single motherhood. Mikki Morrissette, makes it a point to bring examples from real life when writing about issues such as becoming pregnant by a donor sperm or adopting a child.

I found the book helpful in not only as a guide for all options of single motherhood but also as a thought tool to the many issues that single motherhood's entails.
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I received this book on Friday and was done reading it by the following Monday. It was well written and ridiculously helpful. I have chosen to take the route of being a single mother, and this is the first book I've read that looks at all aspects (including being a single lesbian mother) as well as providing suggestions of other books to read (which I have ordered recently as well.) I highly recommend this book for any womyn that is debating the question of Single Motherhood. The book is full of insightful questions that really made me stop and think about whether I was truly ready for this next step. It is a must read!
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I have started to read this book on at least four occasions. I force myself to read it for a few nights and a row and then I end up setting it aside. I've owned the book for a year and a half and am not even to the half way point. I find the author tries to incorporate many experts opinions but it is in a scattered sort of fashion. The author does not have a very succinct fashion of writing. A chapter that's five pages contains information that could have been contained on two pages. Overall a very dry read.
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This book discusses so many aspects of single motherhood that a potential mother might worry about. The advice is sound and both sides of each complex issue are presented fairly. It doesn't lead you to a specific answer, but does provide enough information to allow you to add to whatever information you already have to make a decision. I highly recommend this and am happy I bought it, rather than checked it out at a library. It will be a good manual during my journey.

The one downside is I would have liked to have seen more specifics when it comes to telling people, including the child, about the father. Most of the books I've read - or the items online - give general advice. But what I think a lot of us want to know is, "What actual and specific words did you use?" (whether the words worked or not).

But I highly recommend this book.
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