Category Archives: Rachel Lehmann-Haupt

Rachel Lehmann-Haupt on having a kid on her own

Has your writing changed since you’ve become a mother?

My writing has changed. In the past I’ve been driven to write by painful experiences I needed to work out. Even DIY Mom began as that. But after the birth of my son, I’m driven to write by much more positive feelings and inspirations. I definitely don’t feel like I have as much time to get into the zone I need to be in to do my best work, and I’m not sure what I’ll write next. It feels good to float for now, and see what this next phase brings. My life has become much more routine as a mother, so it’s exciting not knowing what will happen next for me creatively.

What prompted you to write DIY Mom?

After my first book, In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love Commitment and Motherhood, I got a lot of letters from readers asking what happened to me next. I figured I owed it to them to tell that story. I also really wanted to dispel some of the myths about modern single motherhood, and be a positive role model for women who are considering this choice.

Have you had any negative reactions to becoming a single mom by choice?

I haven’t really gotten any negative reactions, but then again I live in San Francisco and there’s very little judgment about the kind of family you choose here. One former friend did say she thought it was “weird” when I expressed the idea that I might want to contact other families who used my same sperm donor. But then again this was coming from someone who constantly complains about and criticizes her own more conventional life, and once told me she thought it “weird” that “two dudes shack up.” You’re always going to meet someone who doesn’t support your choices, and the way to deal with it, I’ve found, is to gracefully let that person and their negativity go from your life.

What advice do you have for other women considering becoming a DIY mom?

My advice to other women who are considering having a baby without a partner is not to make the decision in haste, and to make sure they want it in the deepest reaches of their heart because there’s no going back. If you have the right kind of social support — and this does not mean that you have to be rich — it could be the best decision of your life. I really can’t imagine life without my son now, and in hindsight the torture over the decision seems like too much. But maybe that was part of the process. Just do it; it’s truly amazing.

What are some other books about single motherhood that you’ve loved?

I loved Operating Instructions by Annie Lamott, and I loved Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman as a light read. I honestly don’t read that many books about parenting or motherhood.

DIY Mom