The morning I found out I was pregnant, I ran out of my gynecologist's office, whipped out my cell phone, and dialed my therapist's number. I didn't know who else to call. After leaving the good news on his voice mail, I decided to tell my friend Amy, my friend Linda, and then the clerk at Whole Foods, who directed me to the prenatal vitamins. By day's end I'd told everyone from my mother to my manager to my mailman.
I didn't, however, tell the baby's father. I wanted to, but I have no idea who he is. I'm not married, don't have a boyfriend, and hadn't recently returned from a drunken one-night stand. Instead I got knocked up by half a cubic centimeter of defrosted sperm that had been FedExed in a nitrogen tank from an East Coast donor facility to my doctor in Los Angeles. Now, if all goes well, my dream will become a reality: I'll be a single mom.
This wasn't my dream growing up, of course. Nor was it the dream of the other members of Single Mothers by Choice, a national group for women who want to have children but won't shack up with the wrong guy to do so. Its members—mostly attractive, smart, successful thirtysomethings—subscribe to the "somebody isn't always better than nobody" theory of marriage. Many, including me, have turned down engagement rings from eligible bachelors even as our biological alarm bells started sounding. As a friend put it, we're paradoxically "desperate but picky."