By Evie Peck
It was an overcast morning.
“Wanna go to the park?” I asked, when I saw that my 19-month-old son Spenser had pulled everything out of his kitchen cabinet (all the stuff that is child safe like my Gladware, boxes of jello, bags of pasta etc.).
“Yeah!” he said, but he would have said that if I had asked him if he wanted to go to the doctor for a shot. He’s just enthusiastic.
So we went. We went to the nicest park near me, which is in a super rich neighborhood. This park is just a little cleaner and it’s smallish and I just convince myself it’s great because it’s surrounded by mansions.
There was no one there.
About five or six utilities trucks and one Prius stopped at the park and different men over the age of 50 tried to use the men’s bathroom, but it was locked. Creepy or smart? A little of both, I think.
Spenser and I played. We went down the slide together and I got soaking wet (from the drizzle and dew).
Then a dad and kid came along. “We love this weather,” the dad said to me. He had a British accent.
“I like it too,” I told him.
British dad’s child was 2 and so S played with her and British dad and I chatted. He seemed like a nice dad. Then he asked, “Are you going to have another child?”
OK, um, so personal!! But thank you for thinking I’m young enough to have that option (who knows, maybe I could).
“Maybe,” I said. I wasn’t going to tell him I was a single mom or anything.
Well, British dad wanted to really get into it with me. “My wife wants to, but I don’t.”
Wow. That was super personal!
“It’s hard to believe you could love another child as much as this one.” I put words in his mouth, so he wouldn’t horrify me.
“Yeah,” he said. “Right.”
“Well, everyone I know with two children says they felt that way, but they love the second as much.”
British dad nodded.
I think it would be really hard to be married to someone and have such a huge disagreement where one person might be really unhappy with the outcome. I mean, that’s part of marriage, I know, I’m just saying, marriage seems so difficult; like how are you expected to live your whole life with someone and compromise all the time??? I can’t help but think about how if I wanted another baby, I could just have one (or try to). There’s a lot of freedom in being a mom solo.
Another dad and child came along. This dad was pretty handsome -tall, rugged, athletic, lots of nice hair… his child had brought a bunch of trucks that Spenser wanted to put sand on and push around.
“Share, Patrick,” Handsome dad said to his son.
Patrick reluctantly let Spenser push around one of his toy trucks.
“You have the dumpy,” Handsome dad said to Patrick, pointing to a toy dump truck.
“Thanks, for sharing the truck, Patrick,” I called as I saw S was not going to give it back anytime soon.
“Sure,” Handsome dad said, “Patrick’s fine. He has two dumpys.” He pointed to another dump truck toy.
Ewwwww. You are calling it a dumpy, to me?
“Patrick, get the dumpy!” Handsome dad called.
Patrick pointed to Spenser, pushing his truck. His non dumpy truck, I guess.
“Patrick, there’s a dumpy here and a dumpy there. You’ve got two dumpys! Go get a dumpy.”
He must have said, “play with your dumpy,” 25 times!!!
Handsome dad was looking so much less handsome. What if I were married to a guy who kept saying dumpy and probably called other things gross names too like during sex and stuff like ”nippies,” or “yum yums” … I don’t know. I guess you can say, to your husband, stop saying that word, but once the damage is done…
By Evie Peck
When I was 9 months pregnant, I walked into a major chain baby store and I saw something I really wanted: a BABY BOOK – the kind where you write down everything that happens- first bath, first smile, first solid poop… It had a hard cover, thick pages and places to add photos… I started scrolling through:
Page 1: Baby’s birth statistics.
Page 2: About mom
Page 3: About dad
I was a single mom to be. I did have a dad in the picture; my best friend of twenty years was my sperm donor. Though we wouldn’t be co-parenting, I would put him in the “ABOUT DAD” page.
Page 4: Mom and Dad’s wedding
Well first of all, my best friend was gay, so we weren’t getting married! And what about the same sex parents who can’t marry! I was livid. I was hot and sweaty and HUGE and outraged.
“EXCUSE ME!” I yelled to an employee; she was maybe nineteen and this was most likely her first job.
“Yes?” she came over with a bright smile, “How may I help you?”
“Um ,” I looked at her name tag. Carrie. I gave a sarcastic laugh, “Well, Carrie, you can tell me where the baby books for alternative families are, THANK YOU!” I shot her an iron glare, knowing she would NOT be able to deliver.
“Yes! Our baby books are right here. I see you are holding one.” She was so naive.
“This is the only baby book you have?” I was gonna get her; I was like Johnnie Cochran with the small glove.
“Yes,” she said as innocent as a kitten.
I opened the book to the incriminating evidence. “Do you see that this book asks not only for the information for both parents specifically as MOM and DAD, but also asks for information about a WEDDING?!”
The salesgirl blinked. Clueless.
“Do you understand the problem here, Carrie? What if you are a single mom, like me? Do you just rip the dad page out? If you do, you miss out on the grandparents’ info on the back. And what if you are a gay couple? You can’t legally get married in most states, can you?” I was yelling at this poor girl, who was turning red.
There was silence and then a nervous laugh. “Ummm…. we must be out of them.”
“Out of them, huh!? But you said this was the only one.”
“Ummmm. We must have run out of the other kind.”
I was going to make her show me the other kind on the computer… I took a deep breath. I looked at the poor girl. I was having a hormonal rage and I was yelling at someone who was completely innocent. “I’m sorry, Carrie,” I said. “This isn’t your fault.”
“That’s OK,” she said happily, probably because she could tell I was leaving. Then she added, “There really should be a book that all families can use.”
I left the store feeling hopeful… and entrepreneurial. Maybe I’ll make that book.
By Evie Peck
I know it sounds crazy, but once I got up at 5am to bake cookies for my new fertility doctor. He was supposed to be the best in town and I guess I was over compensating, because I was nervous about being a single woman trying to get pregnant… and… our first meeting didn’t go so well.
I waited in the lobby of The Fancy Clinic for an hour. When I finally met Dr. X he barely let me say hello before he launched into a lecture of percentages and facts about fertility in women over 40.
“I’m doing this alone and my best friend, who is gay, is the sperm donor,” I said, not caring about the statistics but needing him to know who I was.
Dr. X held up his hand, “Don’t interrupt. I will ask you questions after I’m finished.”
Interrupt? This was supposed to be a consultation, not a sermon. I didn’t like Dr. X. He was rude and cold and I certainly didn’t want him sticking his fingers in my vagina. But this guy was supposed to be the best so I wanted to stay.
And I started to cry.
“Why are you crying?” Dr. X demanded.
“I’m just overwhelmed and emotional,” I told him between sobs.
“Well there’s nothing to be emotional about… yet,” he replied.
I wanted to stand up and yell, “Would you be so condescending if I had a husband sitting here next to me?” But mostly, I wanted him to like me so instead I got up at 5am to bake cookies for him. They were M&M chocolate chip.
The day of the insemination, Dr. X and his female assistant walked into the room with quick hellos. Dr. X grabbed the catheter off a sterile, silver tray and lifted up the paper cloth across my lap and put his head all the way under it, so that it was just his head and my crotch under the paper tent. It was unnerving. Why was he up so close in there?
I was lying back, looking at the ceiling trying not to think about this unpleasant person with his nose in my most private spot when all of a sudden, Dr. X spoke. His words echoed as they bounced off the thin cloth on my lap.
“Mmmmm, it smells good in here!”
I shuddered and almost pulled my legs off of the table.
How can he say something like that to me!!!!!!????? My face got hot and red. I looked at the female assistant and then…..
Then… I remembered the cookies. The hot cookies I had just baked had made the room smell like a bakery.
Oh my god. I started to laugh.
Dr. X continued his work up my snatch as I looked at his assistant for at least a smile. She gave me nothing.
When Dr. X was done, I pointed to the bag in the corner. “I made you some cookies,” I said.
He selected a cookie out of the bag and took a big bite. “Thanks. I have a big sweet tooth.”
I guess the cookies worked. He seemed to like me now. I inadvertently squeezed my legs together.
By Evie Peck
The woman at the counter handed me two nametags.
“One for your husband,” she said.
“No husband,” I said, pushing the extra nametag back.
At the age of forty, I decided to have a baby, even though I was not in a relationship. My best friend of twenty years was my sperm donor. Though choosing a nontraditional family was the right choice for me, I was still getting used to certain potentially awkward situations; like baby class.
I went into the classroom and sat amongst many pregnant ladies and their partners. The instructor Pam came in yelling,
“Husbands! Husbands! There’s beer for the husbands! Husbands, go get a beer!”
She said “husbands” with a lot of force and frequency. I wondered if the word “husbands” bothered anyone else. Was “dads” better? “Partners”? What would she do if there was a lesbian couple?
I had a little bit of that I’m missing something feeling. I had to give myself a quick, internal pep talk:
Remember, you can do this and you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone. Remember, you are doing this your own way and you are going to be a mom!
“Is your husband coming?” Pam asked me, as men started leaving the room to get their brews. I wanted to give a cute answer like, “I don’t know, you tell me.” Or “I haven’t met him yet,” but I didn’t want to sound bitter, so I just gave a little smile.
Soon, the room was full of boozing husbands. Crap. I wanted a beer too. I silently pep-talked myself again.
Then it was time for group introductions. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I spoke loudly, “I’m Evie. I’m a single mom and my best friend, who happens to be gay, donated the sperm, but I am parenting on my own.”
Pam stared at me with a frozen smile. After a minute she asked, “No husband?”
I shook my head with pride and Pam moved on to a lesson.
Pam launched into a whole rehearsed bit about something called The Witching Hour. She dramatically set the scene: “It starts in the early evening. Moms, your baby is screaming and crying and you can’t make her stop. You are starving but you have no time to eat.
Husbands, you call from work and say you are bringing home dinner – don’t ask what they want for dinner! Just bring something! You know your wives! Bring them what they like. Then when you get home, you take the baby so your wife can eat!”
Pam looked around the room, making eye contact with all the moms and husbands, until she got to me. She paused and then said… “For you… Trader Joe’s is your husband.”
I was horrified and yet… now I had a husband! Trader Joe! Well, maybe I had husbands - I have all the Trader Joeses. I’m a polyamorist.
I could do worse.
At the age of 40 I decided to become a mom, even though I was not in a relationship. My blog tells stories of how I got here, the bad dates I used to have, and how it is to be a mom solo.