Baby Mama

I am settling down. I bought a house . I just got a raise. I have a good career. I’m going to plant a garden.

After ten years of Nomadic living whilst getting a graduate degree at New York University, volunteering in Brazil and Ireland, working in Korea, France, Switzerland, and Portugal. Traveling the world and having an excellent time while doing it, I’m finally settled down. I’ve gotten to know myself.

I’ve decided that I’m going to have a baby. On my own. We’ve seen it all over the place lately in movies like Baby Mama and The Back-Up Plan. Highly successful, highly intelligent women undertaking the task of parenthood alone. In my twenties, I tended to believe that I would find Mr. Right and we would have our two children and things would fit into that nice box with a bow. In my thirties, I tend to take my life more into my own hands, making my own plans, rather than waiting around for some perfect situation to arise. Even women who find that mythical “perfect man” to have their child with may find that the relationship does not last and they end up becoming a single parent (unplanned) anyway—So, I decided,  why not take the guess work out of it and start off that way.

I’ve been weighing the logistics over the last three years and just about have them figured out. The logistics, nor my decision to have a baby,  are the topics up for discussion with this blog post. What is up for discussion is seeing clearly the reality of raising a child in my current community. I realize, when contemplating my upcoming venture into motherhood, that two of my biggest fears are:

 

1. How will my community treat my child (and me)?

2. How will my work handle my unwed pregnancy?

 

As much as other communities may have embraced the single woman as a capable parent (and as part of the social norm), I do not feel that my community is one of them. I live across from an LDS church, my neighbors consist of married couples with children, all of my friends who have children were married first, and I have NEVER met anyone near or far who is about to do what I am about to do…at least not deliberately.

After reading articles like this where unwed women are fired from Christian schools for being pregnant, I have been contemplating how I would be treated at my job were I to become pregnant. While I do not work for a “Christian” school, I do work at a small school in Utah county. A large population of students in my school are LDS. I can see the seminary from my office window. It’s a tightly knit community and I recognize myself as pushing boundaries in book and article choices, as well as topics for discussion in my classroom. It’s different than a job where I just stay in an office and am operating behind the computer screen. I’m in front of the classroom. In front of impressionable youth. My growing belly would be there, for all to see. And, while I have major job security now, I wonder what ramifications would come from my new life choices.  Have I mentioned that I’ve been thinking of moving back to New York before becoming a Baby Mama?

 

Stella

I'm an artist, writer, photographer, feminist, listener, lover, and a fighter. I believe that travel is fatal to prejudice, that skies are meant to be blue, and that the world is full of endless possibilities.

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39 Responses

  1. C. says:

    Your work by law has to be respectful or your decision and you are entitled to all the normal benefits – maternity leave, etc.. You community by common sense SHOULD support you, but depending on your demographics that might not happen the way you want it to. Look into it, decide if this is the area for you to raise your child. This decision is becoming increasingly common, but not in all areas. If you live in a place with other women making this decision, I suspect the things you are worrying about will have been addressed to some extent. If you don’t live in this sort of area, you will be a trailblazer – subject to all the assorted things (good and bad) trailblazers deal with.

    Also, are you yourself LDS? If so, you may face more pressures because apparently the new CHI subjects single women who get artificially inseminated to church discipline. Which is an entirely different rant, but may add to your concerns about community.

  2. HokieKate says:

    First, I respect your decision making process and I hope that this works out wonderfully for you. I’d be really worried about having a baby without a strong support network. Do you have close friends or relatives nearby to support you through the pregnancy and child rearing? If you have a close-knit circle of friends, then you’ll likely be able to better handle the people that don’t support your choices.

    Legally and procedurally, your work should treat you like any other pregnant woman. Socially, though, I don’t know if there would be problems. People can be so mean. Good luck, and I wish you all the strength to carry out the choices that you know are right for you and your family!

  3. Lorraine says:

    my honest response to this right off the bat was “New York would be such a wonderful place to be a single mom!

    BUT, you probably have your reasons for being in Utah County. I’m sure will be judged, and you probably will be less accomodated in the early stages. But I think that in the end, you will also find the good in people, who will judge you and question you off the bat, but in the end might aid you in motherhood, respect your desires, and be excited to share in the joys and stresses of being a parent.

    And as far as being an “example” goes to your students, I think they will be lucky to have you as their teacher, so they can be exposed to a faithful teacher and mother who did things differently. I think Utah County kids are PLENTY exposed to the norm, and if youth are so impressionable, maybe the message you can impress upon them is that you control your life, you have dreams to be a mom and a teacher, that it’s okay to be different, and you can be different but still be good. I’m sure I would have loved to have had a teacher like that when I was young.

  4. Stella says:

    I am LDS (not active, but I do associate with the church and feel that it is my heritage–thus it would hurt to be excommunicated). I did NOT know about the new CHI for artificial insemination. Wow. I guess I know what my next post will be about 🙂

    And yes, I have the most AMAZING support group ever. I didn’t want to get into the logistics online, but the baby would know her father, have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and an awesome nanny all within reach. So much love ready to be extended!

    Thank you for both of your comments.

  5. I live in Utah County, too, and if anyone in your neighborhood or workplace has a problem with your choice, let me know. I’ll come on down and scissor-kick them into showing respect.

    One big component of the reaction you get is how open you want to be about how you got pregnant. Are you a private person? Do you want to keep this decision close-to-the-chest, even as your pregnancy is increasingly apparent? Or do you want to be really open about what’s going on, showing people that you have zero shame or ambivalence about your choice?

    • Stella says:

      Awesome! I will take you up on that! And your response totally makes me want to meet you! 🙂

      • Well shoot, let’s be friends.

        I grew up in southern Utah, and if one of my high school teachers was single and had gotten pregnant via AI and was vocal about it, I imagine my high school’s seminary staff would have had something to say about it in the form of a lunchside (a fireside, but at lunchtime — this ritual was totally normal to me, but my husband claims that it is something he’d never heard of as a teenager =). Should you choose to share that you got pregnant intentionally, as a single woman, with all that carazy medical intervention, I bet you’ll get some isolated-but-loud kickback. I also bet that you’ll get some widespread-but-quiet support from students/co-workers/neighbors who are just downright excited for you, as they are for any woman expecting a new baby.

        My guess is that any fever that gets underway while you’re pregnant will die down once you have the baby and are doing the hard work of parenting. The pregnant body is a very politicized body, but I think people feel a little sheepish about insulting a hard-working single mom for no reason other than that she’s a single mom. Anyway, I don’t have any firsthand, solid experience to help me form this hypothesis, but it’s my best guess. Good luck. =)

  6. jks says:

    “The logistics, nor my decision to have a baby, are the topics up for discussion with this blog post. What is up for discussion is seeing clearly the reality of raising a child in my current community. ”
    Sorry, not clear what I’m not supposed to discuss.
    1. How will my community treat my child (and me)?

    2. How will my work handle my unwed pregnancy?

    Sexual sin is sin partially because it is using your procreative powers improperly. I consider what you are choosing to do to be using your procreative powers improperly. I would definitely tell my older children my views if we knew you.
    I hope people are nice to you. It is not their place to harrass you. I can’t imagine you losing your job.
    But, I would be disappointed that my child was coming home talking about his/her single teacher was pregnant. I do not live in Utah County (or Utah), I live in Seattle. But my children have not yet known someone having a baby while single by the old fashioned way or by AI.
    You may think it is a good thing that the children know you. Some parents might feel like it is not a good thing.
    I think that if you arrived already with a child in tow, people wouldn’t care about your past. Having your choice right in front of them is different. If you arrived with a child, single mother, people’s heart would go out to you and your child. This way, though, people won’t be able to feel “sorry” for you as much because you are choosing to do it alone vs. dead beat dad left you holding the bag.
    If you tend to be friendly and likeable and part of the community, I’m sure people will still find you friendly, likeable and part of the community. If you tend to be socially awkward and on the outskirts you will probably still be there. I don’t think things will change very much.

    • Caroline says:

      jks, I’m surprised you take such a hard line on this. I myself was raised by a single mother, so I know it’s possible for single women to do a beautiful job raising children. I think most would agree that the ideal is two parents, but life just isn’t ideal for a lot of people. And I would be sad to see women who feel called to motherhood denied that opportunity because their life didn’t fall into that ideal pattern. My mom has had much joy and meaning added to her life because of us two kids. I want that for any woman who desires motherhood. Is there not space within the orthodox LDS community to sympathize and support a woman making such a decision?

  7. Caroline says:

    Stella, what an exciting path you are about to embark on. Parenthood is hard, as I’m sure you know, but if you have a great network of supportive friends and family, that will make all the difference. I just love seeing women like you go after their dreams.

    Have you read Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees? (A fantastic book for teens, by the way. Some high schools teach it.) It features a couple of young single moms who help one another as they raise their kids. It comes to mind because I hope and expect that you will likewise have a community of loving women to help you and share your joy in raising this child.

  8. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    If he’s whatever definition of “good enough” to be the father of your baby, why is he not good enough to be your husband?

    • I don’t know anything about Stella’s particular situation, but it may not be a matter of being “good” enough, just a matter of what team he plays for. Gay men can make marvelous fathers (my husband was raised by one), but most straight women find them unsatisfactory as husbands.

    • Stella says:

      I’m not sure if I want to get married. Simple as that.

  9. MB says:

    I think the answers to #1 and #2 are:

    “You’ll have to ask them.”

    If you are not comfortable discussing it with your neighbors and your co-workers and your boss before you undertake this process, it does not bode well for your ability to handle what comes down the road if their response is not exactly what you hope it will be. This is generally true whenever you plan to take an unusual course of action that will affect those around you. And this will affect those around you. Open communication is crucial in creating bridges between differing opinions, particularly in any community where there are going to be widely disparate opinions on the moral implications of a decision. We may think that big decsions are just our own business, but they are not when they affect different people’s life experience and it behooves us to build bridges of understanding. Having a baby is a personal decision, but it does affect many more people than just you and the baby. I’m not saying that you should get their permission but I do think the civilized thing is to at least give them a heads up. I suggest you get to a point where you can discuss the idea comfortably and with confidence with them before you undertake the project. It may seem hugely challenging to do, but I believe it will be even harder and more divisive and alienating down the road if you cannot muster the maturity to do that beforehand.

  10. CatherineWO says:

    Twenty years ago, I worked with a woman in a similar situation to yours (we taught at a state-funded preschool for at-risk children). In that case, she did talk to several of her co-workers before going ahead with the AI. This was in the Seattle area, not in Utah, and, while there were a few raised eyebrows initially, seeing her earnest desire to become a mother soon won everyone over to be supportive or her. She was a fantastic teacher and we knew she would make a good mother. I expect that you will run into some harsh judgement of your decision, but it may surprise you from whence will come your support. I sincerely hope it all works out for you.

  11. Corktree says:

    I absolutely believe you have what it takes to do this well if that’s your decision Stella. And I think you should be allowed to make a choice like this and feel supported, but in all honesty, I’d be afraid that you wouldn’t get that from the start where you are. Hopefully with your support system it wouldn’t matter, but I’d be prepared for a lot of negativity and just be ready for it. Then maybe you’d be pleasantly surprised when people are supportive. Its such a big thing for you that I really hope it would be the most positive experience possible. And I imagine trading the family support for NY would be equally hard.

  12. spunky says:

    I didn’t marry till I was 30 (egads! old maid in mormondom!) For me, I just didn’t think there was a perfect guy for me. Sure there were lots of RMs and such and more than a few offers, but they weren’t right for me. So I considered doing the same as you… but for me, I considered adopting rather than artificial insemination. By and large, the support from my church friends was amazing. At the time, I even found a tiny yahoo group of single LDS women who had adopted. So although I am sure there were some nay-sayers, I didn’t interact with any of them, so didn’t feel berated in any way.

    BUT. That was for adopting. There is something about adopting a child from a foreign country that seems more acceptable (I think) than going through artificial insemination or IVF. I think publicity-wise, adoption is an easier choice. If nothing else, you may have to come up with an explanation as to why you chose to not go with adopting from China, etc. That might be something to consider- some people may label you as selfish because you are choosing to be pregnant rather than the sainted and selflessness associated with rescuing a child by adoption. Its all lame, but I have fielded some of these questions, and these are the ones that hit me and hurt me.

    I think the real questions are this: Can you provide for the child? Sounds to me like you can. So- it really is no one else’s business. Having health insurance, a preferred day care, a contact for emergency for the child in case you can’t get there, even a college fund, is miles ahead of thousands of other young and married LDS couples who just happened to fall pregnant without any preparation. I think in being prepared with these things for the child, you have every right, and every privileged to become a parent. What’s more, you would be better prepared and therefore, a better parent, than most people world-wide.

  13. Jessawhy says:

    Stella,
    My sister is almost 2 years into the single mother path. It’s been difficult for her and for the rest of us (particularly my mother).

    From my perspective, the questions about how you will handle the labor-intensive job of motherhood is a much bigger deal than how your work or community will treat you. After the announcement of your pregnancy and your delivery, the point will be moot (you may have a few months of awkward conversations). Then you have the rest of your life to deal with the daily tasks of motherhood.

  14. jks says:

    “jks, I’m surprised you take such a hard line on this. It’s possible for single women to do a beautiful job raising children.”
    I myself think I would make an awesome single mother. Doesn’t change the fact that I think procreative powers should be used solely within marriage.

    I think that if people are your friends now, they won’t quit being your friends through this. People manage to work together, be neighbors and socialize even when they don’t “approve” of all of each others’ decisions.

  15. SilverRain says:

    I was pregnant mostly by myself. It sucks big time, both through the nausea and through the heavy final trimester, not to mention the horrible aftermath, recovering and caring for a newborn. Although my mom helped me hugely with the last, it is still hard by yourself. All the babysitters in the world can’t be supportive the way a spouse should be supportive. If it were me really wanting a child, I’d adopt. (I’ve thought of adopting anyways.) At least then you could focus on the child more and yourself less.

    Stella, as a single mom, I don’t agree with this choice. But I would also never ostracize or berate you for it. And if I knew you in person, I’d support you raising the child whether that is by babysitting or swapping advice or whatever else you needed. But I am not your neighbors.

    To try to put myself in your shoes, I’d ask myself some hard questions before following through. Am I considering this to make a statement, or maybe to fulfill some part of my life? Because if there is a grain of truth in either of those things, you may want to ferret it out and deal with it before you put another person into the middle of your expectations.

    • ESO says:

      Agreed! My husband left halfway through my last pregnancy and, oh boy, that birth was so dark. I was just thinking about it yesterday (that son is 2 now) and it makes me so sad. So sad. That poor kid just had a shitty start. I have never used that word before, but I really want to express how terrible it felt to know that I was birthing this child and he was born to such a deficit! Laying there on the table (a surgical birth), all I could do was watch him lay on a table near me an wail. No one was there to hold him, and I couldn’t hold him until the recovery room and I just felt so so so useless to him. Obviously, I am somewhat useful to him, but the holes in his life–I was just so sad about the holes. And seriously, if your own mom can’t even be happy at your birth, well, how pitiful is that? I am so sad everytime I get to the end of Juno–I SO feel for the Jennifer Garner character–she did everything right, but there is no denying she will have such hard times being the sole parent.

  16. ESO says:

    As the recent Pew report showed, single mothers are highly suspect through the whole country–not just UT. Don’t count on people being excited about your choice just because you move (incidentally, some of the reasons you gave for being ready to do this is your house, your local family, and your great job–all of which you would be leaving if you moved, right?). For whatever reason, adoption/fostering is viewed as altruistic and purposefully bringing a biological child into an un-whole family is viewed as selfish; you may not like that, but I understand the sentiment behind that split.

    Rather than researching the logistics of gestation, I would encourage you to really meditate on single parenthood. You really cannot count on the father–that is just reality. And your aunts and grandparents who are excited to pinch chubby cheeks and hold your hand while you give birth just won’t be there for MOST of your parenting time and for all the hard stuff. They won’t. No matter how great they are, they are not yours to claim their time away from their lives because you or your child is having a bad day/week/year/illness, whatever. Few people, IMO, understand the reality of parenthood before doing it (myself included) and I don’t think anyone really understands the solitude of single parenting.

  17. Stella says:

    I am SO SO appreciative of these comments! I am taking them all to heart. I know it sounds like the baby is right around the corner, but I’m still committed to at least ONE more year (maybe two) of really thinking through, getting secure, having a larger savings account than I do now and etc.

    @ SilverRain– when I get closer to the decision, I’d love to pick your brain a little bit more. If you’re ok with that. Thanks for your honesty.

    Thank you to all of you! I’m so grateful for your honest opinions. I know that this topic could cover SO much more about single parenting (which I’ll be exploring more in future posts) then simply what would people at work/community think–but I thought that a fair topic to look at too. I don’t think I would inform anyone at work about my decision beforehand (too invasive and weird for me)–I would be pretty secure and confident in my decision when it was made.

  18. Duerma says:

    Am I totally late in posting here? Curse you, real life, from taking me away from an interesting discussion in the Bloggernacle! 😉

    I’m finding myself leaning toward the adoption option for you, not because I have super strong feelings one way or another about artificial insemination, but because pregnancy is SUCH a mixed bag. My husband and I made the decision to get pregnant when I was in grad school, figuring it’d be something we could handle since we had so many female friends who were grad students and had children. Well, turned out that I got pregnant with twins. (No fertility treatments or anything, just a happy little embryo that split into two identical babies.) I was so sick I lost 13ish pounds my first trimester and ended up on bedrest at 26 weeks (dropping all my classes first semester and then completing the next semester from bed). I went to the hospital maybe 5 times in between 24 & 34 weeks to stop preterm labor. It was an overwhelming experience, and I can’t imagine how I could have done it without a husband.

    Obviously that’s kind of a worst case scenario, but the point is, even when you plan to cover all your bases, you still have no idea how pregnancy is going to be for you until you’re in the thick of it, and random complications – like identical twins – can and do pop up when you aren’t expecting them. When you adopt, you don’t have to worry about the physical complications and you can just get right down to the mothering part.

    I dunno, maybe I’m just being cynical about pregnancy because I barfed my way through 9 months of being pregnant with my son, and there was just one of him. But I urge you to think about how you’ll deal with complications before you go through with it.

  19. jks says:

    My pregnancies weren’t great, but I got through them better than I got through the post-partum year. So when I think of what was worst to go it is that.
    However, when I think of what I am most grateful for having a spouse it is the older, teenage years. Maybe my husband is a better father now, I don’t know. When I think of the pregnancy and baby and toddler years it was hard for ME if my husband wasn’t around physically or supportive. However, when I think of my older kids it isn’t about making it easier for me if he is a good father, I just see how much better it is for them.
    The fact is there is no way to predict what challenges will come with your child. But you have to figure that challenges really will be there whether it is pregnancy or infant stage or every year after that: health issues, behavioral issues, disability, rebellion, teenage lack of motivation, being sexually abused, being a sexual abuser, doing their homework, being lazy, unable to make friends, being a bully, being bullied, etc. No one has to deal with it all, but no one gets off scott free either.

  20. aerin says:

    I recommend reading “Mothers who think” and “Because I Said So”. Both books of essays give great insight into motherhood in our culture; the good, the bad and the ugly.

  21. ESO says:

    I guess I wonder how your family feels about this idea. Obviously, their support means a lot to you–when they heard this idea, did they say “good for you” and pat you on the back, or did they express reservations. Because I am sure they had them, and I hope you would have the kind of relationship with your support system that they could express and explore their reservations with you, rather than just smile and hope you will change your mind.

    You might want to read some of those recent threads at Mormon Mentality and BCC about involving grandparents in parenting–there have been lots of interesting perspectives, but generally speaking, I think counting on grandparents to be more involved than our cultural norm, will lead to eventual disappointment.

    And I agree with JKS that the absence of a father, while very hard for you in the younger years, becomes a more serious issue for the kids in their teenage years. Much. That lack can lead to acting out to you, for choosing that situation for them and even seeking out certain elements in society I think every parent would want their kids to avoid. I know you think you’ve got the father thing figured out, but even in the best case scenario, some people, one of whom may be your kid, will feel seriously jilted at not having the kind of family they feel they have a right to expect. Adoption or fostering includes some of these issues (x2) but also places you in the role of the one who stepped in to help, rather than the one who set up a sham of a life for a 13-year-old who is having a bad day and thinks life would be infinitely better if his family was “normal.”

    As for work and community–I would class them together, and say that many people, no matter where in the US you live, will think less of you for this choice. If it is one you are totally comfortable with (absolutely 0 insecurities or doubts), that won’t matter to you. But it would be crazy to think that it will never matter to your child. It will. The only variable is how much it will matter.

  22. Stella says:

    ESO–I’d be the second person in my family to make this decision–which I feel helps me process through a lot of the nitty-gritty of what this life change would entail.

  23. kmillecam says:

    Stella, I think this will be such a wonderful adventure! And it’s not as if you’re rushing into it after thinking about it for three years. More power to you in spite of all the naysayers. I will support you in this decision, hands down.

  24. O says:

    I agree there are worse things than only having one parent to love you. But I have also been a single mom, and I agree that it is so hard and not the ideal. However, like you said, there are no guarantees in life. You could get married, have a child and then your spouse dies, or becomes disabled, or you get divorced. You do what you have to do. Yes, its definitely harder, and not the ideal, but it isn’t automatic failure either.

    Thinking of the children I know who do not have active fathers in their lives, I realize their behavior has more to do with how their mother is raising them, than whether or not their father is there (although it must have some affects either way). The “worst” one I know is mostly that way because his mom isn’t actively involved in his life. He is definitely treated differently by the adults in the area, and they have less sympathy for him. He’s written off from the get-go as having no hope. I, being the child of a divorced family, am more compassionate towards him. Yes, he acts like a little sh*t most of the time, but its not really his fault. Poor kid has no one to care for him properly. No one has taught him otherwise. I don’t think that would be the case for you though.

    I think there will be a definite flurry or anger/judgment during the pregnancy. But after the baby is born, the drama goes away. Babies are the great equalizer. 🙂 And I think even if people initially talk behind your back, they will still be supportive to you in person, and after the baby is born, they won’t even think twice about s/he got here anymore. That’s how it usually plays out for unwed teen moms I’ve seen/known. Gossip behind her back, but they still throw her a shower, and after the baby is here, there’s only praise for how well she is doing. I could see this going one of two ways for you…because you aren’t a teen, and it wasn’t an “oops”, other adult women may think worse of you. I can imagine the cattiness that could come out of it “Well, she CHOSE this”. Or, being that you weren’t an irresponsible teen mom, and you actually chose this, they may have more respect for you. Either way, I’m sure in the future, if you complain about parenthood, you’ll hear “well, you chose to do it alone!” at least a few dozen times. I can see how you may not get the same response other venting moms would get.

    Curiously, I think if you just adopted, you wouldn’t get as much judgment. I don’t know what it is about being pregnant that gives people permission to judge you, but it seems like the basketball stomach is the most offensive part to others. I guess because some people would consider it physical proof of “sexual sin”. And its easier to be cruel to a bulging belly than to a sweet little baby.

  25. kristine N says:

    Well, since you work at a school you could try to time things so you’ll have a summer baby. Most of your pregnancy would go by unnoticed by co-workers and students, and you’d likely have plenty of time to recuperate.

    My little sister married the &*)@# who impregnated her and most of us would have preferred she just remain a single mother. While I’m going to agree this isn’t an optimal choice–and hope you find a supportive, loving spouse in the near future specifically so you don’t have to deal with parenthood alone–I would hope your community will recognize there are far worse choices out there and will support you in what you do choose.

  26. Debra says:

    HI Stella:

    Since you have asked for thoughts about the reality of raising children as a single parent, I am sharing mine: I have lived in UT county, for many years in the past, both married and divorced. I completed graduate school at BYU while a divorced mom of two young girls. This was in the 80’s, and even with my “socially acceptable” reasons for being divorced and therefore, raising children on my own, it was still difficult – socially, emotionally, and financially challenging. Children have needs that are best served by two parents sharing the job and the work and the time and emotional involvement that is required, and are involved in their lives. In my experience, it really is a harder route to be a single parent, for whatever reasons. A good support system helps, but does do what two loving parents committed first in marriage provides for children.

    I hope you will consider your reasons for not wanting to be married. Children are more time consuming, demanding of your personal resources at times that are NOT convenient, and can drain a mother emotionally, spiritually, physically much more than a healthy marriage with a healthy partner.

    That being said, I have a friend who was also single, taught school in Provo, and wanted children. She adopted – ultimately three beautiful Chinese girls. She ultimately moved to CA to give her girls more experiences with their homeland culture and peers.

    There are SO MANY children in need of loving parents, on the planet already. Have you considered adoption?

    • Lorraine says:

      Debra,

      I don’t suppose your friend was a 6th grade elementary teacher, was she? I had a teacher in provo who fit that very description and I’ve been trying to track her down for years to tell her “thank you”. She was one of those teachers who inspired me to believe it was okay to be different, coincidentally.

  27. Stella says:

    Thanks for your comment Debra! It is something I am considering. I’m still in the process of considering a lot. I might be honest and say that the responses to this post and a recent trip to Costco on a Saturday afternoon with screaming kids has made me think I’m still not ready (this is a little tongue in cheek, obviously).

    I do still think that marriage is no security blanket. I would not be opposed to having a life long partner, but I do not think I’ll go through the marriage ceremony (at least not at this time). Partners can die, or leave, or get tired, or bail, or do any number of things. There are no absolutes.

    At the same time, this post has really made me think a lot about doing the very best you can to give a child everything they need to be successful, and having strong male and female models is a key. I really do believe it takes a village to raise a child.

    I’m not rushing into anything, that’s for sure!

    Thanks again for sharing your story.

  28. LilyTiger says:

    In the mid-90s, I remember finding my mom’s stash of old Dialogue Journals. (Some people stash porn. My mom hid Dialogue.) I remember coming across an article written by a single woman (also a teacher) who had adopted a baby. She discusses the reaction of people in her Mormon community. Fascinating stuff. It was written 25 years ago, but it still might be a help to you. I think it would be great if you or another single-mom-by-choice updated this article. What is the experience like now? Has anything changed in 25 years?

    The author is Jerilyn Wakefield, published Dec 1, 1986

  29. I completely realize that I’m about a month late in posting this comment. Sorry. I just wanted to say that I’m also about open communication if you want people’s support. Give them some time to get used to the idea before you go ahead with it. One question that I thought of while reading the comments is, “If she’s not sure she wants to get married, is that a commitment issue? If so, why is committing to being a mother any different?”

    In many ways, I’m more scared of becoming a mother than of committing to a relationship, because kids are so dependent and it’s our responsibility not to mess them up. Yikes.

    But anyway, it’s your life and if you feel good about the decision (although not active, I’d encourage you to pray about it), go with it and don’t look back no matter what people do or say.

  1. May 8, 2012

    […] baby *Amelia shows the problems with how the Church wants us to raise girls in regards to modesty *Stella contemplates being single and having a baby *Jana considers the scars of life her body carries *Starfoxy wonders the disservice we may do by […]

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