Meditations of a Choice Mom

The Next Family

By: Sheana Ochoa

I recently interviewed a parenting expert who has written over 23 books on parenting and appears on shows like Dr. Phil and The Today Show. I was interviewing her about disciplining the preverbal toddler for an article I pitched to a magazine when I decided to just go ahead and ask her, the expert, what she thought about women who intentionally choose to have a child on their own, a child who would be brought into the world without a biological father.

I did this, I thought, because I want to write about how children of choice moms fair compared to the conventional mom-dad household (which is actually pretty non-existent today anyway), but after hearing her response, I was surprised by the way I felt. Basically she iterated what many choice moms who have written on the subject say (however this woman was objective since she is not a choice mom). I’m paraphrasing here but she said women who plan to have a child are committed to parenting and any kid with a parent like that is already ahead of the game.

This wasn’t coming from the theoretical mouths of psychologists or sociologists, but a real educator in child development whose work is dedicated to rearing confident, well-adjusted members of society. I felt redeemed without having realized I ever had previous doubts about my decision. If I debated the issue, I may not have my beautiful son today.

It was relatively easy for me. My family and friends didn’t question my plan to have a baby on my own. I never had to deal with the judgment many women face both in the workplace and in their personal lives. Without the judgment, I didn’t have to judge myself, but somewhere still and quiet in the back of my mind was this thought: my child won’t experience what I have had with my father.

I’m daddy’s girl. Not in the here’s-a-car-at-sixteen and tuition-at-an-Ivy-League daddy’s girl, but the kind of girl who was always found on daddy’s lap, and even with all of his faults and after having become an adult, I still have this child-like perception of him as a hero. Of course, my son can have that with the man I decide to make a life with. His father doesn’t have to be biological, but the still and quiet thought that nagged at me disappeared after speaking to my interviewee, and that was nice.

Love transcends blood. My son will keep my last name even if I do marry, and before having my son, I decided I would keep my last name, an ancient Basque name originally spelled Otxoa, which means Wolf. So, it isn’t as if he doesn’t have a strong bloodline, and perhaps it’s high time children take on their mother’s line anyway. In some small way I’ve created the matriarchal society I wish we lived in, one that would balance out our phallocentric one where the naked, human body is prohibitive and sex education inadequate while TV, films, video games, even cartoons are replete with violence and bloodshed, in which women make seventy-seven cents to every dollar a man makes, in which the industrial war complex is STILL fueling our economy. I could go on and on, but that’s another blog . . .

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