Happy Mother’s Day single moms and single moms-to-be! To all of you hard-working, amazing solo moms wearing 16 different hats trying to keep you and your kids afloat during quarantine, or desperately wishing to be moms, I see you!
I think being a single mom in quarantine is the biggest test of single motherhood I’ve faced thus far, and I know many of you feel the same.
I’m reminded of all the past years that a group of single moms gathered together for a Mother’s Day potluck celebration together at a park or a fancy brunch without our kids. It was a joyous day, holding each other up and honoring the leap we had all taken to be mothers on our own. A moment to join in solidarity for the choices we had made.
Mother’s Day in quarantine….. My son is too young to make me breakfast or plan something for me. I have to remind him it’s Mother’s Day because no one is helping him remember or do something special for me. He desperately wants to show his love, but what can he really do. There’s no breakfast in bed, no bouquet of flowers because he just can’t.
If I want a moment to myself today, I have to turn on the TV and hide in my bedroom. Of course, his warm snuggles and big kiss this morning are all I really need, but it’s hard to see all those mothers out there who get a moment off today–a hot bath, a walk alone, a chance to sleep in. It’s a small thing but still makes the day just a little bit bittersweet.
It’s week 8 or 9 of quarantine here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (I’ve lost count). Honestly, I’d really like to stop counting, cause I’m barely just surviving and I’m sick of seeing those who are thriving during the quarantine. “Today we baked some stuff (Sourdough, OMGEEEE!), the kids rediscovered an old toy/instrument.”
Yes, you’re baking a lot. I know.
Meanwhile, I’m juggling work, homeschooling, getting meals on the table, and generally entertaining my kid. Not to mention, my old, very sick dog and my 87-year-old mother whose cancer has spread and will likely die in less than 3 months. I don’t know if I’ll be able to see my mom again or when life will return to something I recognize.
Every time I see my friends on social media with big houses and pools, husbands who take turns with the kids, moms who have time to do cool homeschooling activities with their kids, or hell, take a walk without a child in tow or can go to the grocery store because they have someone to stay with their kid while they go, I have instant feelings of jealousy.
Every time, a mom tells me they understand my situation because their husbands barely help, I just feel angry. Pre-pandemic, this bugged me but now it makes me seethe and I can feel all the emotions welling up in me. Like they do every few days.
And then the tears come. And I just let them. Forget about holding it together– it feels so good to just cry it out every now and then.
Like most of you, I’m trying to walk a line between staying positive, being realistic, and just plain surviving. It’s true: there are so many great things to come out of this… and so many losses. All swirled together in one giant mass of emotions.
Personally, it’s really the uncertainty that gets me the most. I think I’m better than some at dealing with uncertainty. But this is one of those really big tests that is pushing me beyond my limit.
Will our kids go back to school in the Fall? No one knows. They can’t know. It all depends on what happens this summer.
And what if schools and daycares don’t open back up? How will we work? If we can’t work, how do we pay the bills?
This question is top of mind for most parents, I know, not to mention single moms. And thousands more are already in these exact dire straits. And again… there is no answer.
These are super important questions, questions that affect our very livelihoods. And how can we not be stressed about that??
It feels like just about everything I cling to for stability is crumbling around me. I find myself grasping for some normalcy, some support, some assurance that life as I previously knew it will return. But too many things are in flux. I freak out.
Then for moments, I see possibility. Great freedom in letting go of what I’ve been holding onto–a chance to rebuild my world in ways that might be more nurturing and sane. And, I bring it back to center: we are okay, we are okay, we are okay.
I’m learning that I need to work on some important skills:
- Lowering the bar,
- trying to find the positives,
- accepting what is,
- being okay with uncertainty,
- and trusting that if I let go, I will find something better on the other side.
…I’m telling you this because I suspect this is where many people are at, and sometimes it’s just nice to know you’re not alone. Among all these smiling, sourdough-making friends who are so proud of all the crafts they’ve constructed this week and how many closets they’ve cleaned out, you are not alone in feeling worried and sad about life and the future right now.
I’m so glad to have you, dear readers. I feel like we are going through this journey together. No matter which stage in the solo mon game you’re in, I hope you’re hanging in there and realizing some amazing silver linings. Who knows, maybe you even learned to bake bread 😉.
If no one is there to recognize you for all your courage and bravery, please know I’m here for you. Whether you’re desperately trying to make your dream of motherhood come true and are stalled, or in the trenches of day to day life completely alone, I see you.
We will figure this thing out as we go 💪🏼 — and everything will be okay (right!?).
Be well and Happy Single Mother’s Day in quarantine! 🌸
P.S. If you’d like a little extra support, I’m offering a quarantine coaching special for $127 a month! Set up a FREE consultation to see if it’s right for you.
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Enjoy my monthly musings, resources and updates all about navigating and celebrating all paths to motherhood. I'm so excited to be in touch!
Why Plan C? Well, motherhood rarely comes the way we hoped or expected. Sometimes we have to move well beyond our original vision. In my case, Plan B was to become a single mother by choice, using an anonymous sperm donor. I ended up at what I affectionately call Plan C because I needed to use an egg donor as well.
Even if your plans didn't work out as we expected (psst, it never really does), don't let it stop you from embracing your unique path.
So that we can get to know each other better , I want to share my story with you and why it put me on a mission to help women all over the world do whatever it takes to become a mother--if they decide that’s what they want.
As a child, I was obsessed with babies. If anyone asked me if I wanted kids when I grew up, I would exuberantly respond that I wanted eleven babies (I know, right? Eleven??) I distinctly remember stalking a pregnant mother in my neighborhood, asking if I could care for her child once it was born. She obliged and I spent every day after school at her house. You could basically say that loving babies and kids was my hobby.
But somewhere along the way, I lost my conviction and clarity. I went to college and law school, graduated at the top of my class, and got a job at a prestigious law firm during the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley. I was focused on my career and worked insane hours. Dating, however, was not my best skill, and I wasn’t taking any intentional steps to find "the one." When people asked me if I wanted kids, I would always say, "I don’t know. It’s a decision I want to make together with my partner once I find him."
In contrast, most of my friends who wanted babies were deliberate and intentional about their dating efforts. They spent time on dating sites, went out specifically to meet men, even hired matchmakers. Soon, they moved on to marriage and began having kids.
But I just never found him.
However, I was fast approaching 40 and there was still no partner in sight.
As I faced the closing of my fertility window, I realized I needed to think about whether or not I truly wanted children ... with or without someone to co-parent with. I wasn't panicked though. Friends all around me were having babies in their late 30s and 40s. My own mother had me when she was 39. I thought that, if anything, my generation had proven that having a baby later in life is possible and, in some ways, more desirable.
It took me over a year of contemplation to decide to take the leap into solo motherhood. As much as I loved children, I wasn’t certain that I was ready to give up my freedom and life of spontaneity.
Who would I be if I couldn’t travel the world, go see various spiritual teachers on a whim, stay out late dancing, and sample all the best restaurants and music festivals?
The flip side started to seep in too though: Would life get boring for me if I only had to focus on myself? At some point would I get bored of travel, retreats and dancing?
Already, the last few times I had traveled somewhere exotic, it didn't have the same allure. The intense drive of my spontaneous life was fading. Something else was calling me. I was looking for something ... more.
And then one day, my teacher said to me, "Have you noticed that you cry every time you talk about not having a baby?"
It was true! And that was a startling realization. But, as I considered the idea of solo mothering, I just kept thinking: This isn't the way I thought my life would unfold! I had to mourn the life I thought I was meant to have and re-imagine the remainder of my life unfolding an entirely new way.
My greatest fear was — Would I be alone forever if I have a baby by myself? Who would want to date a single mom?
I was also deeply concerned about financial stability.
How would I manage alone — financially, emotionally, logistically? What if I lost my job? Or couldn’t work again due to physical pain?
My teacher reminded me that nothing in life is ever certain.
People who find the love of their life end up divorced, cheated on, and even widowed. Happy couples remain childless due to infertility. No one's "dream life" is promised to them. And, everyone's job safety is impossible to predict.
I could freak out about having a baby alone and miss my chance at becoming a mother, or I could lean into the uncertainty and let the rest of my life unfold as it was meant to. Having a child alone did not necessarily mean I’d never meet a life partner. It might mean delaying the partner for several years, or it might mean that being pregnant would make me feel amazing and sexy and call in the partner I’d always dreamed about. It was truly impossible to predict.
Then, one day in meditation, I had a vision of a little girl in a frilly, pink dress riding on a swing on a glorious spring day. In that moment, I knew — I wanted to become a mother more than anything. All of my indecision vanished in an instant! I was ready.
I wanted to be of service in some way, and I realized I wanted to be of service to a child. (Of course, at the time, I had NO idea just how much surrender and sacrifice motherhood would entail!)
I researched the logistics and started trying to conceive a child alone with the use of an Identity-Release donor (which is an amazing process, by the way, but that's a story for another day).
But then, my OB/GYN informed me that if I wanted to have a baby, I’d likely have to use an egg donor. WHAT? This was definitely not part of the plan!
I refused to listen and instead spent a year trying to get pregnant with my own eggs (I won’t even start trying to explain the lengths I went to on that front) I finally accepted that I'd need to use both a sperm and an egg donor.
I finally came to terms with having a baby via egg donation and I have no regrets.
On April 3, 2014 my son was born. Happily. Gloriously. A beautiful, healthy, amazing son. And, I can’t imagine a more perfect union. I have no doubt I got the child I was meant to have.
Motherhood is about love, plain and simple ... no matter how complicated the journey is getting there.
You can read my whole story in my new book: Motherhood Reimagined: When Becoming A Mother Doesn’t Go As Planned: A Memoir. It’s due out Oct. 17th but you can pre-order your copy now.
All My Best,