03/14/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

From One Single Mom to Another

Dear Nadya,

Hey, I get that whole wanting to be a mom thing. Like you, I chose to become a single mom -- though of course it wasn't my first choice. But I was jonesin' to be a mom just as much as you were. I went the sperm bank route 17 years ago and ended up with a wonderful baby girl. Like you, I was thoughtful about the process. But unlike you, I also had a job, money in the bank, loving parents who supported my decision and a plan for the future that went beyond the diaper stage.

Sure, there were times over the years when I desperately wanted another baby. The first go-round was so positive and my child such a wonder that I often imagined doing it again. But then I'd review my bank statements, recall the nights spent awake with a sick toddler, and the joy of hopping on a plane -- just the two of us -- to go to Disney World...and reason would win out.

And Nadya, you know what I did when I decided my child needed siblings? I became a foster mom. Our family has been blessed over the years with at least 14 children who have come and gone from our home but remain in our hearts. Dear, sweet children who, for a variety of reasons, needed a home for a while. Our lives are richer for loving them and Hannah has learned to be a big sister.

So why I am writing to you? Because you don't need all the hostility and anger that is being aimed at you these days. Not helpful...though of course understandable. When an article about my single motherhood appeared years ago, one right-wing group went on camera to say I was "tearing the fabric of the American family." You of course have been accused of much worse.

But here's the thing: reproducing is inherently a selfish act. Doing it on your own without a partner is even more selfish. Choosing to have 14 or 5 or 6 as a single mom who is unemployed is a singular act of lunacy. Schlepping one child to ballet classes, softball, and Scouting activities is taxing and expensive. How are you going to do that with your 14 -- and don't they deserve to participate in activities like other children?

All these years the growing legion of middle-class, college-educated single mothers by choice has been attempting to live quiet, happy lives. Oh sure, there's been the occasional dust-up over a celebrity single mom but most of the time we've flown under the radar. Now you come along and suddenly the words "single mom" have taken on a new and unwelcome stigma. Not good, Nadya.

My best advice to you is to start some college funds for those kids immediately, all of them. College, not collagen. It's not about you anymore. Whatever your dreams were, they must now be replaced with the goal of making your kids' dreams a reality...and without relying on the kindness of strangers. Make friends with all the teenagers in your neighborhood who might be willing to help out for a small fee. Stop giving interviews -- you're turning into a freak show. And for God's sake, teach your kids that there is more to life than giving birth. Someday the children of single moms may be in the spotlight and it would be good if they are viewed as sane or at least "normal." For my daughter's sake, and for the sake of your own brood, please become self-sufficient and just go away.

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