New technologies have helped, but so have shifting attitudes among Jews and non-Jews alike about what constitutes the so-called conventional family.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
Susan Feigenbaum was juggling her career, coming out of a relationship, and felt her time to have children was running short. She consulted with friends and a doctor and mulled over the idea of being a single mom by choice.
At the age of 38, she took the plunge. After trying artificial insemination, she opted to have two fertilized embryos implanted in her womb, a procedure known as in-vitro fertilization, which can often lead to twins, triplets, or more.
Now, 15 months later, she is the proud single mother of Eve and Lily, two healthy fraternal twins.
The road hasn’t been easy – her medical procedures ran upwards of $25,000. And while she had the full support of her Orthodox Jewish sister, her mother was initially skeptical.
Now her mother lives in the same building, and Feigenbaum enjoys a full-time nanny, plus she works from home two days a week to maximize time with her kids.
Jane Mattes decided to go at it alone herself more than 30 years ago. Seeking like-minded women, she started Single Mothers by Choice – a support group and online forum that today serves 3,000 active members.
Like Feigenbaum, Mattes is Jewish and says her membership has always had a disproportionately high number of Jewish women.
Feigenbaum looks forward to introducing her faith to her children. During a baby naming ceremony at a local synagogue, she said the rabbi was particularly supportive of her choice to have children solo.
Feigenbaum says she’s never been happier. And while she knows that raising her children as a single mom will be a challenge, she knows that any family – no matter the composition – will have both struggles and triumphs when it comes to being a parent.