The Jewish Week is always here for you.
We need your support now.
Your contribution will help us bring you vital news
and frequent updates about the impact of COVID-19.
Cinderella Stories

Cinderella Stories

My friend sent out an article to her single and (ahem!) aging girlfriends as a show of solidarity. So it’s not her fault that I’m a total cranky pants. Plus, why would she suspect that an article about having a baby alone would make me go so ballistic?

After all, a member of my very inner-circle has gone through this process herself and to say we love the product of this "donor insemination" is the understatement of the century.

In other words: We love this child more than words can say!

No, what got my goat is with the way our society consistently, and if you ask me, perniciously, implies that the minute a woman decides to have a baby on her own that is when she will meet her beloved.

Consider the article in question about three women who, just when they were about to be inseminated, each met the man of their dreams. Passed from one to the other like an elixir was the “lucky” sperm that, it was implied, managed to bring about that elusive man and save them from single motherhood. Naturally, they wrote a book about it.

Annoying, huh?

Since I haven’t read the book, all I can go by is the article, and the writer of the article gives lip service to the sentiment that there is nothing wrong with having a baby alone or that these Hollywood endings are just that, Hollywood endings. “It wasn’t like, ‘Whew! We didn’t have to use it [the sperm bank] … That’s just how it turned out for us,” she quotes one of the women as saying. And she does include the fact that the fourth woman who received the "lucky sperm" neither got pregnant nor found a mate.

But these sentiments are buried at the end of the piece while front, center and running throughout are these fantastical stories of women "saved," in the nick of time, from single parenthood.

And it seems there are a bunch of new movies out with similar messages.

So what to make of that?

To begin with, it is important to acknowledge that a large percentage of single, straight women who choose the sperm bank option do so because biologically speaking they cannot wait around for Mr. Right to have a child. So it is a bittersweet decision: At once empowering and tinged with some sadness that they can’t bring a child into the world with a partner alongside them. Which isn’t to say they still can’t meet a partner. They can – but there is no guarantee that they will.

Popular sentiment says that women who have moved ahead and had a child alone will have a better chance of meeting someone because they no longer feel panicked or desperate – qualities that the male species apparently dislike. (So I’ve heard.)

But, and I repeat, there is no guarantee that they will meet someone.

Why? Because when it comes to our love lives, we are not in control.

And no matter how often we online date or mix and mingle at "Matzo Ball" parties or go out with our mom’s friend’s cousin’s neighbor’s c.p.a., we still cannot know for 100 percent sure that we will meet our match.

Which is another way of saying we cannot conjure a life-partner, Golem-like, out of the ether, especially and in particular by going to a sperm bank.

So please, ladies and gentlemen, save the Cinderella stories for children.

That’s the least we can do for the single women in our lives already dealing with enough nonsense as is.

read more: