You may have clicked here looking for books written by me. My plan is to have one here for you before the end of 2017!
Meanwhile, here are some books on the subject of having a baby solo (plus a few more generally about pregnancy and birth)- the library I turned to when I was gearing up to make the leap.
Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood, by Jane Mattes: This was the first book I ordered when I started officially considering single motherhood. It’s likely the first book published on the topic, written originally in 1994 and updated in 1997, by the founder of the national network Single Mothers by Choice. Jane’s son is now in his thirties and she is still running the organization and pops up frequently on the online discussion forums. When I emailed the SMC office about finding a SF contact, she emailed me back. The book covers conception with a known or anonymous donor, adoption, legal issues, support suggestions, how to handle “daddy questions,” and contains lots of personal testimonials from SMCs in all types of situations. While it is somewhat outdated, this book is a great starting point for anyone in the research phase–I think of it as the “official” guidebook for SMCs.
Knock Yourself Up: No Man? No Problem! A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom, byLouise Sloan: This book covers a lot of the same topics as Single Mothers by Choice, but does so with more tongue-in-cheek humor, with titles like “Trysts with the Turkey Baster,” and “Sex (Will I Ever Have it Again?)” As with the SMC book, there are many personal stories from every stage in the process, with a particular focus on economic, legal, and logistical questions. Silly at times, but a light and easy read. Probably not necessary to read Single Mothers by Choice AND Knock Yourself Up, but I’m glad I did–more to chew on for the active thinker.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health, by Toni Weschler: I think this is a must-read for all women and girls. It’s astonishing how few women really understand their cycles and the signals their bodies are sending about what is happening when–I found this book fascinating. I religiously charted my cycles for several months, which helped me understand how to predict ovulation and time my IUIs. Eventually, I got frustrated with variations in temperature and CM and gave those up, opting for the ovulation predictor kit only. The author is so fixated on her approach that she is against OPKs, which kind of annoyed me (OPKs are correct!), but other than that I feel that girls armed with this info will know their own body’s signals which will eventually help them either avoid or achieve pregnancy.
Pregnancy Countdown: Nine Months of Practical Tips, Useful Advice, and Uncensored Truths, by Susan Magee with Kara Nakisbendi, M.D.: This is a day-by-day countdown, with lots of fluffy tips, tricks, and myths debunked. Most women could probably do without it. For me, though, it was the perfect book to have on a cross-country flight when I found out I was pregnant but hadn’t yet read anything about pregnancy! Very girly and kind of silly (in the vein of Knock Yourself Up), the best tip I got was this from Day 198: “Never go anywhere without (1) using the bathroom before you leave, even if you just went; (2) locating a new bathroom the moment you arrive; and (3) carrying plenty of tissues, just in case you need to duck behind a bush–which, believe it or not, happens to more women than you might think.”
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, by The Mayo Clinic: Pretty standard guidebook that didn’t teach me a whole lot, although I was surprised that this western medicine approach did include a lot of info on midwives. Like many books, when it got toward the end, it started cataloging everything that can go wrong; and that’s where I stopped reading.
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin: Awesome!!! This book is so groovy–based on Ina May’s experience as a midwife at a commune in Tennessee in the 70s and 80s, this book is about how spiritual the experience of labor and birth can be for women. Birth stories take up the first half of the book, written from the point of view of mothers, husbands, and midwives. I’ll stop reading when I get to the “For Midwives” section, since, again, I don’t need to focus on what can go wrong. This is a book about how things so often go right when a mother is encouraged to harness the life energy flowing through her–to not become buried in it or resist it but to surf on the waves and really go with the flow.
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year and Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, by Anne Lamott: God, I love Anne Lamott’s writing. Operating Instructions is wonderful–raw, vulnerable, so funny. She gets pregnant by accident and decides to have the baby on her own–hilarity ensues. There are many poignant moments as well about family, illness, addiction, and love for Marin County. This one is 5 stars. Some Assembly Required was written more recently, when her son Sam gets his girlfriend accidentally pregnant when they are barely 20 years old. This one has a similar feel to it–it definitely feels like a sequel–only it lacks the immediacy of a mother and child since Anne is now the super-neurotic grandmother who thinks it’s all about her. Sort of beside the point is her trip to India, which is one of my favorite parts. Not as good as the original, but still great.
1 thought on “Books”
Hi, there! I was delighted to find your blog. I am a solo mama like you and my son just turned 4. He was born in SF and, just about a year ago, we moved (way) north to Humboldt.
I was wondering if you might have some book recs for the kids? My son is asking about the dad in our family and I, like you, have gone with “our family does not have a dad but our family does have a kid, a mom, and a grandma.” That being said, I think that some books might help for him to see that there are lots of versions of “family.”
When we lived In SF, I hoped that he/we would get to know some more SMCs and their kids, but in his school here, every family has a mom and a dad. I am still on the lookout to connect with some more diverse families in hopes of adding them to our friend group, but any book recs to start would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again for your blog! I was delighted to find it.