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Meet the mums doing it on their own

10 Apr

Time to update the blog! Here is a taster (first few paragraphs) of a recent feature I wrote for the Jewish Chronicle about the fabulous single women who are choosing to have children on their own. Enjoy the read! Click here for the full article in the JC. And here for a link to KayamaMoms’ website – the organisation that is helping Jewish single women to become mums. (And here is a link to KayamaMoms’ Facebook page too.)

Meet the mums doing it on their own

There’s a growing trend in Israel for women to choose to become single mothers. Now British Jewish women are being encouraged to do the same. Rebecca Schischa reports.

For Amanda Moss, it was the end of a relationship when she was 39. For Michelle, it was her 35th birthday. Both women decided they were unlikely to find a partner to start a family. So, each became single mothers by choice.

“It was a real emotional rollercoaster,” says Moss, now 44, from St Albans, of her fertility treatment, which included four rounds of IVF. She’d frozen her eggs at 37 and tried thawing them, but none fertilised. Finally she tried a ‘double donation’ using donated sperm and egg. “I had a gut feeling it would work, and I tested pregnant soon after.

“I was induced two weeks early, and Joshua was born two years ago. I lived with my parents for the first five months. It was great, they built up a real bond with him. They adore him and help me out lots with him.”

Michelle, now 60, from Manchester had an easier time getting pregnant, using donor sperm, and is mother to Alex, 23 and Theo, 21 (their names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy).

“I was fairly secure in my career. I moved round the corner to my parents (they’re not alive anymore), and they were very happy to help out when I went back to work. My dad used to take the boys to toddler groups. I had parents I didn’t know saying to me, ‘I know your dad’!”

She and Moss are part of a growing number of single Jewish women who choose to become mothers. Now an Israeli organisation, KayamaMoms, is helping women considering following their lead.

“So many babies are not being born because people still aren’t considering the option” in the UK, says Dina Pinner, KayamaMoms’ co-founding director. She held an inaugural meeting in London last month to provide information and support to Jewish women considering becoming single mothers by choice (SMCs).

Click here for the full article in the JC

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Double buggy rage and other buggy blues

7 Jun

To continue on the parenting theme begun in my last post, today is the day for a guilty confession:

My name is Rebecca and I suffer from a bad case of buggy rage. 

(But officer, don’t judge me, anyone in my position would be guilty of the same crime, I swear!)

I am blessed to have three children under the age of five. This means that most of my gallivanting around the world in the last few years has involved a large multi-occupancy three-wheeled GT vehicle – but not one I travel in, oh no: this is one which relies solely on my own pushing power – aka a double buggy.

I began my double buggy career being a meek, nervous newbie gingerly steering the unwieldy contraption along narrow pavements, in and out of slightly too narrow shop doors, and up and down and all around town.

Scroll forward a couple of years later, and I am a whizz at zigzagging along the pavement effortlessly pushing the double buggy along one-handed. But this is where the problem begins. Inexplicably, other passers-by do not realise they are meant to get out of the way when I come hurtling forward. And this is the root cause of my buggy rage.

Not only do they not move out of my way, out of spite, I swear, they actually slow down, or stop entirely, JUST in front of my buggy. All types of humans are guilty of this, so it’s not limited to a certain demographic. Old ladies with walking sticks, children, mobile phone conversers, groups of people, single individuals, canine individuals, they are all culprits.

After innumerable encounters of this kind, I have concluded that they must be doing on purpose, they are all out to get me. There’s no other explanation for this.

There is a bus stop near where I live which I have to pass regularly, and the people waiting at that bus stop are without doubt the most unbearable offenders of this buggy obstruction. They ALL without exception conspire to stop and wait RIGHT in the middle of the narrow strip of pavement JUST as I appear behind them with my buggy. They loiter right in my path with their immense pieces of luggage / their giant-sized dogs / talking into their mobile phones. And then, as I call out politely for them to excuse me please can I get past, they move in sickening slow motion one or two steps to the left or right, which means, either there is still not enough space for me to get past, so I have to holler again, or worse still, there is JUST enough room for me to get through, but to do so requires me squeezing the buggy past painfully slowly for fear of causing injury.

Reader, I confess, I no longer care about causing injury. I now actively wish to do harm to these vile buggy obstructers.

While we are on the subject of buses, I have another cause for my buggy rage. This is when I need to take a bus journey and I have to haul the double buggy onto the bus using the middle doors. Because it is a large contraption piled high with little people, bags, blankets, water bottles, with rice cakes and breadsticks flying in its wake, everyone on the bus stares at me as I attempt my acrobatics to mount the vehicle.

But wait, you’d imagine all these unencumbered humans would LEAP up to help this hapless mother. Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you? But no, this is how the sequence works: I struggle, they stare, I struggle some more, they stare some more, and JUST at the point when my one-woman haulage system has completed its heaving, and the buggy has successfully been raised into the bus, one helpful person sometimes finally gets off their tush and asks me so helpfully: “Do you need any help?” GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

And once on the bus, puffing and panting, between gritted teeth, I still often need to sweetly ask those unbearable people invariably blocking the buggy / wheelchair section of the bus for no good reason, to kindly move out of the way.  Again, slow-motion movement from said individuals.

There’s much more to be said on this subject, I’m just warming to the theme, but I need to head off now. Just don’t get in my way, ok? And you can’t say you haven’t been warned.

 

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