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Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman's Guide Paperback – May 20, 2008
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was one of the best books I read about becoming a single mother by choice. SMCPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was such a good book. I wish there were more out there. This helped me make some decisions on this topic.Published 21 months ago by Nicole LaConti
Good book but missing important information. I would have liked more information on what types of conversations/issues you may have with friends/family/child.Published on May 16, 2014 by Christie
This is a great book for prospective grandparents. It helped explain the paths our daughter traveled as she made the decision to become a single mother. Read morePublished on March 15, 2012 by Optimist
Great book for women in the process of deciding if they want to become a single mother by choice. I still use it today for reference.Published on April 11, 2011 by D. K. Johnson
I am a 40 year old Canadian (living in the USA) Choice Mom to a beautiful 6 month old baby girl. I love this book and started reading it when my baby was 5 months. Read morePublished on July 5, 2010 by canadiannp
I searched the text for "unemployed" and "unemployment". Nowhere in this book is there a discussion of serious financial realities as a single mother. Read morePublished on March 16, 2010 by Sparky Malone
The author's "Choice Mother" is financially independent and too good to be true. I did not find the book to be useful in preparing advice for a beautiful, single, impecunious... Read morePublished on September 30, 2009 by Sam Huntex
This book was very very helpful and in great shape it was just like new! I enjoyed it. Delivery was good and had no problems. I am completely Satisfy. Thank you so much :)Published on August 24, 2009 by Jennifer Rivera