123 of 124 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2000
I spent 7 years with a man I did not love because I saw it as my only way to have a child. When the relationship broke up, I cried for the next two years, thinking I could never have a baby alone. Too bad I did not know about this book or maybe I would already be a mother.
I always knew donor sperm banks existed, but could no amount of therapy or encouragement helped me to accept that option. And none of the males I encountered accepted to help me conceive. As I read this book my opinion on the use of known donor (such as the man I did not love) versus anonymous donor sperm totally changed and I am now thrilled that we live in an age where options exist for single women.
For anyone who is thinking of becoming a single mother but can't make the jump, this book gives the many positive reasons for becoming a mother now, even if Mr. Right hasn't come along. Although it does not deny all the difficult issues of being a single parent family, it provides solutions to these problems as well. Reading this book made it clear to me that single motherhood is the right answer for me, and I was able to quit crying and do something to make my dream come true. For other women I know it has helped them feel OK about NOT becoming a single mother.
This book is very readable and tells stories of women with whom you can identify. It gives some resources at the end, and helps connect you to the support group available in most cities. I highly recommend it as a starting point for those who are considering having a child even though they have not yet found their life partner.
91 of 91 people found the following review helpful
There are a lot of books about there about being a single mom, but this is the only one I've found about deciding to become a single mom. Single Mothers by Choice is an organization comprised primarily of women in their thirties and forties who, for whatever reason, have not found a permanent relationship, but still want to be mothers and create families. I would guess that most of the readers of this book are educated professional women with ticking biological clocks who might have liked to raise children with Prince Charming in a traditional family setting, but that opportunity did not arise, so they are considering other alternatives. The book is directed at women who are not in a permanent relationship with someone who will assume a serious parenting role in the child's life; unmarried women who are part of a committed partnership, either straight or lesbian, and have already decided to start a family, might not find the book to be very useful. (In other words, although the book discusses adoption and donor insemination, this book's primary emphasis is NOT as a resource guide for couples who have already decided on adoption or insemination.) Jane Mattes, the author, is the single mother of a 17 year old son (at the time the book was written) and a counselor who has traveled around the country meeting with many single mothers by choice. The book discusses all of the things that a single woman should consider before embarking on motherhood, and provides lots of guidance and anecdotes for women who have made the decision. (I found the stories of other SMCs to be particularly helpful; reading about how some of the women's parents reacted to their decisions made me feel much better about the conversations I've had with my own parents.)
This is not a feminist manifesto. The book doesn't necessarily encourage single motherhood; rather, it encourages women who want to become mothers to be aware of their options and make informed decisions about whether motherhood is right for them. The book doesn't minimize or ignore the possible difficulties that single mothers by choice may face, emotionally, financially, and in all ways. Although the incidence of single motherhood by choice is rapidly increasing, there is still a certain element of the population who thinks that you need to be 25 and happily married to be a good mother, and will not hesitate to pass judgment on a woman who chooses to go it alone. The book is particularly helpful in providing guidance on how to deal with that judgment, and it provides a lot of reassurance, through statistics and anecdotes, that a child born to a loving, caring single mother will likely turn out to be well-adjusted and just fine.
Topics covered include a discussion of whether single motherhood is a good choice for any individual, ways through which to become a single mother (known & unknown donor insemination, adoption, etc.), dealing with and telling others about the pregnancy, legal aspects of single motherhood, dealing with the "daddy" issue as the child becomes older, dating, subsequent marriage, and such. There is quite a bit in the book that deals with parenting as a single mother, rather than simply conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. It doesn't convey for a moment that single motherhood will be easy, but it does convey that for many women, it can be highly rewarding. The author emphasizes what is in the best interest of the children, and discusses the importance of having positive male role models in a child's life.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 1999
This book has been very helpful. Women who choose to be single moms have different issues from women who found themselves (through death or abandonment) to be single moms. This book gives a nice overview of many issues and gives lots of good resources in the back. It also spends some time talking about the thought that goes into becoming an SMC and how to get help with this crucial decision. For many, discovering a pregnancy leads to the discovery of single motherhood. For SMC's it's the other way around. The book also gives time to going through the process and then NOT choosing motherhood and ends with practical "parenting alone" information. Any woman (or man) considering choosing single parenting should start with this book. It's not packed with tons of info, but it's a good starting place.
The only reason I couldn't give it five stars is that it's a little negative about encouraging women with less than stellar financials to embark on this road. Not necessarily poor advice, but we "poorer" women need hope too.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2002
When I read this book, there was a sense of coming home. Here was a woman who understood where I was in my life. I always thought I'd meet the right man and have kids. My life was full and meaningful, but I hadn't met the man and I wasn't a mother.
This book gave me the information I needed to get on the path towards being a single mom by CHOICE. That coupled with the singlemothersbychoice.com list serve gave me the strength and support I needed to begin trying to be a mom.
I had lots of questions about choosing between a known donor or a sperm bank. The book has a sample contract between the known donor and the mom-to-be. In the end, I decided to use an anonymous donor, but the discussion was helpful.
If you are thinking about becoming a single mom, buy the book and think about joining the organization... and at [the cost of] a year membership, you aren't exactly making Jane a rich woman. I will be forever grateful for her pioneering a term and a movement which has given me a beautiful daughter.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2004
I am in the process right now of becoming a single mother. I actually bought and read this book two years ago and have been working to get to a place where I was ready to act out my choice. I found the book extremely helpful with regards to making the choice to do ADI. I had never even considered some of the scenarios that the author presented and they were in fact the things I was trying to avoid. Highly recommended if you are contemplating becoming a single mother.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2002
I enjoyed reading Jane's book. I highly recommend it to women in their 30's and beyond who are thinking of becoming single mothers. The book gives helpful advice and I appreciate the sociological studies of women Jane uses to make her points.
I also highly recommend women join the e-mail lists which Jane created to seek support from other women in the process of making the same choice or who have already made the choice with success.
This is a book for women who are making a conscious choice to have a baby without a partner - although that might not necessarily have been their first choice. I like this point of view in the book as I feel that is the feeling of most women in this predicament. They're not having babies on their own to make a feminist statement and they have deep concern for raising a child without a father - they're simply making a family the best way they can given the limitations in their lives (mostly the lack of partners available to women in their 30's and beyond and a concern for their biological clock winding down).
In conjunction with this book, I highly recommend readers also purchase "The Complete Single Mother." The latter book gives much more practical day-to-day information on what items single mothers need to purchase and how to prepare for a baby. "The Complete Single Mother" also has some encouraging sociological perspectives on single motherhood which may make a woman feel better about undertaking such a task on her own.
Read Jane's book first, then read "The Complete Single Mother."
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2001
This book is the greatest! It answers the concerns of single mothers in a realistic and honest way. Mattes doesn't avoid any of the difficult questions, but tackles them head-on. It's a must-read for women choosing to have children while single.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2006
A very well written, well thought out book. This is probably one of the most difficult decisions I will have to make and reading through this book has really helped me to sort out my thoughts and feelings. It gives you permission to have a difficult time, to be comfortable with the complexity of feelings and to help you to make a choice that is right for you, whatever that choice might be.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2005
This book hit on every area I could have imagined having a curiousity about. I was impressed with the attitude of honesty and forthright information from experience of writer and many, many single mothers by choice. Everything from donors, to adoptions of all type and choosing a friend as a father-its all in there in a very easy read.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2003
I really was suprised that I enjoyed this book so much. The book is honest & very thought provoking. This book raised mature questions that anyone considering single motherhood for the right reason would appreciate. This Book is an excellent resource & one I have referred to over & over during my research process to make a life changing choice. In my opinion, anyone can get something from this well written book. Be warned this book is geared toward serious minded women(like me). So if it is silliness & less realistic info you are looking for I wouldn't suggest this type of book. If you want a book that is Joyous and challenging...then go for it. Great Bedside reading.