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.