by Mikki Morrissette
A month before my 35th birthday, I told my boyfriend that I wanted to have children. So…. he broke up with me the day after my birthday. Devastated – far more than the relatively short-lived relationship merited – I traveled solo around Madagascar to reclaim my adventurous spirit. A few months later I announced to a male friend that I intended to have a child on my own. He offered to be the sperm donor. Shortly after my 37th birthday, my daughter was born.
While I was on maternity leave, I lost my six-figure salaried job. In its place, I cobbled together a decidedly low-paying but much more flexible life as a mother and as an educator for other single women who find themselves ready to build a family, but lacking a partner to build it with. My ChoiceMoms.org website, Choice Chat podcasts, Choice Mom networking workshops and Choosing Single Motherhood book tap into a large community of women who are Thinking, Trying, Waiting, Becoming and Being single mothers by choice.
At cocktail parties, I like to raise eyebrows by saying that “I help single women have babies.” And nothing warms me like seeing the picture of a new mother, holding her child, who says she was inspired, or supported in her decision, by Choice Mom resources and the community we have built together.
My daughter was born more than 12 years ago now! For a variety of reasons (9/11, cost of living, wanting to be nearer to family) I returned to my home state of Minnesota. Almost eight years ago, just shy of my 42nd birthday, my son was born using the same donor.
Is this the life I envisioned when I told my boyfriend years ago that I wanted to become a mother? Not at all. I loved him. I got paid a lot of money. My career was in New York City. My “have it all” included a partner, financial security, and the city that never sleeps, where I’d built friendships and a publishing career that I intended to last forever.
None of that is part of my life today.
And my life is so incredibly richer than I ever imagined it could be.
Not simply because of my kids, although they are a huge part of that equation. Through them, I started to slow down. By losing my job, I found something more spiritually rewarding. My friendships today are almost all new, revolving around family and soul and love, rather than corporate clients, consumerism, and clubs.
My youngest is now nearly eight years old. He recently made me a card – for no particular reason – that said: “You are the best Mom in the world (you know that). Because your [sic] there when I need you. You let me play on your computer. You let me throw toys in the air really high. Mom, thank you for making me your son. You’re the best!”
Do I celebrate the unexpected, unintended life that I have now?
Man (or no man) do I ever!
Mikki Morrissette is a writer/editor and founder of Choicemoms.org. http://www.choicemoms.org