Sarah is delighted to be the mother of two-year-old Margalit Penina. By day she is the Senior Director, Operations, Planning and Analysis at Combined Jewish Philanthropies. When not working, she enjoys gardening with her daughter, taking loads of pictures, and cooking up a storm. She’s raising her daughter in Brookline, MA.
My journey to parenthood is not significantly different than many women. I was 35 years old. I had recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and after figuring out the right medication went into remission. But, something was still missing from my life. Not something. Someone. And so I began what ended up being a multi-year journey to becoming a parent.
I worked with many doctors. Doctors who officially treated me and doctors who were my friends, held my hand and answered my questions. Along the way, I suffered a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy before success with IVF. I like to say that I tried to have every obstetric experience. While each experience was painful, I knew that for a woman in her late 30s, they weren’t necessarily abnormal. What was slightly abnormal was that unlike many woman who suffer through this process, I was doing it by myself. I am a single mom by choice.
By myself? No. I did not become a mom by myself. I did it with the support, help and eventually only because of my medical team. I did it with the love and caring from my family. And most practically, I did it with the very hands-on involvement of my community. At every set back, my chosen family stepped in and helped me through the pain, both physical and emotional. They took me to appointments so I wouldn’t be alone. They cried and laughed with me. And so, after each setback, with the help of everyone around me, I picked myself up, put one foot in front of the other, and tried again.
And then, as the last pregnancy progressed, my community said, we are here for you. We will help you, feed you and be with you. We will pass on our baby clothes, toys and anything else you might need. We will help you run errands and we will sit with you at home.
So yes, I chose to become a single parent. And yes, the path to parenthood wasn’t straight. And yes, at the end of the day, I’m the one home alone taking care of my child. But really? I’m not alone at all. My blood family is at the other end of FaceTime whenever we want to see them, my local chosen family are in the neighborhood, and when I need to connect more broadly, there’s always the phone, email and Facebook to help me connect with my network. All of these circles of people are in our lives daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and are helping me raise my daughter.
Journey to Parenting is brought to you by Stork Ready. Stork Ready is conveniently located 15 miles north of Boston at 325 Main Street in North Reading. Offering a wide range of classes and support groups. Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding, Infant CPR, Newborn Essentials, Mommy and Baby Groups, Lactation and Postpartum Adjustment Support Groups. All in a relaxed homelike atmosphere. Their experienced staff are certified in many fields as well as work on labor and delivery & maternity units. Visit their website to see all that they offer.
If you have a story that you’d like to tell, please email me. We’re looking for guest posts of about 300-600 words long, accompanied by a couple of pictures.