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Life Of Joan

Musings on the Mostly Mundane

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joan the english chick
16 March 1974
External Services:
  • mamajoan@livejournal.com
  • mamajoan@livejournal.com
About Me:

I am the user formerly known as chlaal. I am 33 years old, bisexual, and a single mother by choice (SMC).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a SMC?
SMC is a term designed to differentiate between women who become single mothers deliberately, and those who become single mothers by accident (via unplanned pregnancy, divorce, or death of a partner). A SMC is a woman who chooses to become pregnant (usually via donor sperm) or to adopt while single.

Why did you become a SMC?
The short version:
I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I was raised by a SMC myself, and so it's likely that on some level I always suspected/expected that I would end up the same way -- although I never thought of it that way consciously. I always imagined myself meeting someone, settling down, and so forth. But in the spring of 2002, I realized that I was 28 years old and tired of waiting for Mr./Ms. Right to show up. I realized that aside from being single, I was "ready" to have a child in all other ways. I had recently left a stressful, unsatisfying job for a much more exciting and fulfilling one. I felt financially secure and had a good circle of friends, as well as the support of my mom, without whom nothing in my life has been possible. So, after much soul-searching, I decided to embark on the search for a sperm donor.

If you're interested in the longer version, you can read my angsty soul-searching posts from May 2002: one, two, three, four, five. They are friend-locked, so you'll need to be on my friend-list to view them.

So who's the father?
I prefer the term "sperm donor." The father of both my children is a man I met online at www.gayfamilyoptions.org, a website where you can post ads for sperm donors, surrogate mothers, coparents, and so forth. He is not gay himself but has deep empathy for the plight of lesbians and single gay/bi women who want to have kids. He had donated sperm to at least two other people/couples before me, and he also donates to the local sperm bank (which I considered a huge plus, because the sperm banks do extensive genetic screening and disease testing). After emailing with him at length and then meeting him in person, I decided to take the plunge. (It was only after I got pregnant that I discovered we had some friends in common!) We wrote up a contract, both signed it, and went from there.

The kids?
In Oct/Nov 2002, I succeeded in getting pregnant on the first month of trying with the aforementioned donor. (I had previously been trying for a few months with a different donor, a friend of a friend, without any luck.) On June 11, 2003, I gave birth to my son Isaac. (Isaac's Webpage)

In the spring of 2005, after much more soul-searching, I decided the time was right to start trying for a second baby. The same sperm donor was still available, and in July 2005, I got pregnant again on the second month of trying. My daughter Ruth was born on March 24, 2006.

Details on the conception process?
The most detail I will provide in "public" is that it involved a sterile collection cup and a syringe. I am happy to go into more detail in a friend-locked post or email.

What are the terms of your contract with the donor?
It's a long contract filled with legalese, but it boils down to three main points:
   a. We both agree that he is a sperm donor, not a father; his name will not be on the birth certificate, he has no paternal rights. He agrees never to attempt to get rights such as custody or acknowledgement of paternity.
   b. We both agree that the child(ren) and all attendant financial responsibilities are mine alone. I agree never to attempt to get any money out of him.
   c. He agrees to be available to talk to the child(ren) if desired; it is left to me to decide when the child is old enough to make that decision.

Isn't it hard being a single mom?
Of course. It is hard financially, emotionally, and physically. The costs of daycare are staggering; emotionally there are many difficult moments when you just want someone else to wash the dishes or pay the bills for once so you won't have to deal with it; and often when you get sick you wish there were someone else around who would care for the child(ren) and bring you soup in bed. As every working mother does, I struggle with feelings of guilt over putting my children in daycare for many long hours, and over the fact that I'm often too tired on evenings and weekends to give them my full attention. But on the whole, it's very rewarding and worth all the struggle. I very much value being able to raise my child(ren) as I see fit, without having to argue or compromise with anyone else on important parenting decisions. I like the autonomy, and the closeness of the relationship that I have with my kids. They are two wonderful children, happy and well-adjusted, independent but still loving, smart and funny. I would defy anyone to spend an hour with them and then say they have suffered from having a single parent.

What will you tell your children about their father?
I plan to be open and honest, while tailoring my comments to their ages whenever they ask. For starters, I plan to say that their father is a very compassionate man who did a wonderful thing for us by helping us to become a family. (Cheesy, but true.) And then go from there based on age-appropriateness.

What will you say to others about the situation?
Generally speaking I am honest with others as well. I will say that I chose to become a mother and used a sperm donor. With people I don't know well, or with elderly relatives who can't necessarily grok the whole meeting people on the internet thing, I use a vague "he's a friend of a friend," which is true if not an accurate description of how I met him. With everyone else, I tell the truth, and anyone is free to judge as they see fit.

Other Questions!
Please feel free to ask, either in a comment here or in email (mamajoan at livejournal dot com works fine). I am happy to answer anything and am extremely unlikely to be offended by your question, unless it's along the lines of "Are you aware that you're a horrible person?" or such.

About This Journal:
This journal is primarily a "what I did today" type of thing, with much minutiae about my daily life, as well as a lot of "latest cute thing my kids did" posts. You will also find the occasional post about Deep Thoughts, politics, and/or fandom (rare).

Please feel free to friend this journal. You don't have to ask permission. LiveJournal is an open forum.

My re-friending policy is essentially whim-based, although if I know you from another context (e.g. real life or another internet board) I will probably friend you right away.
activism, alliteration, amber benson, anthony stewart head, apostrophes, attachment parenting, babies, babylon 5, bach, baroque music, baseball, beethoven, being barefoot, bisexuality, books, boston, boston red sox, breastfeeding, breasts, buffy, buffy the vampire slayer, cats, chocolate, choral music, civil liberties, classical music, connie willis, crossword puzzles, crosswords, daily show, dave barry, dilbert, douglas adams, drew barrymore, due south, eliza dushku, etymology, fan fiction, fanfic, fanfiction, farscape, feminism, fenway park, fiction, firefly, free speech, gay rights, geekiness, geeks, gilbert & sullivan, gilbert and sullivan, gillian anderson, good grammar, grammar, heinlein, homoeroticism, hot chocolate, isaac, isaac asimov, james marsters, jigsaw puzzles, jon stewart, joss is god, kit kat, kittens, libana, lois mcmaster bujold, macintosh, meta, michael rosenbaum, mint chocolate chip, monty python, motherhood, moxy fruvous, moxy früvous, mozart, music, music history, music theory, my baby, oberlin, open-mindedness, paganism, pasta, paul simon, peanut butter, piano, pierce brosnan, pinky and the brain, playing piano, pratchett, pregnancy, punctuation, puns, purring, queen, queer theory, reading, reading sci-fi, red sox, rhetoric, rhetorical questions, robert heinlein, rocky horror picture show, sarcasm, satire, schadenfreude, sci-fi, sci-fi conventions, science fiction, science-fiction, scrabble, shakespeare, silliness, singing, single motherhood, single mothers, sith academy, slash, smallville, snark, south park, spelling, spelling my interests correctly, spike, spock, sports night, star trek, star wars, tarot, tarot cards, tattoos, terry pratchett, that 70s show, the bechdel ginger benchmark, thinking, tivo, tom lehrer, tom stoppard, twizzlers, user friendly, vegetarianism, web design, west wing, women on fire, words, writing, writing science fiction, yankees suck

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