“DIY Mom is a romance with life. At turns lyrical and introspective, Rachel Lehmann-Haupt’s writing is as inspiring as her reinvention of family.” – Ariel Gore, Founder of Hip Mama magazine
In her first book, In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment and Motherhood, Rachel Lehmann-Haupt traveled the world exploring the many new choices available to women on the edge of their fertility — egg freezing, single motherhood, and instant families–while grappling with her own ambitions, anxieties, and values. The result was a witty and poignant account of balancing modern love with modern life.
DIY Mom: A Solo Parenting Adventure is the much anticipated story of what happened next. A candid, wry memoir about she stops waiting for Mr. Right and chooses to have a baby on her own. From choosing a sperm donor, to deciding to take her profile off Match.com, to ditching her high-heels and high rolling New York life and moving to a houseboat in Northern California, to her multiple attempts to become pregnant, Lehmann-Haupt tells the story of making “the best decision of her life.”
Praise for Lehmann-Haupt’s In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment and Motherhood
This book offers extraordinary, fresh, and well-synthesized information that will be useful to doctors, therapists, women, and couples who are striving to understand the complex worlds of fertility and relationships. Its author is thoughtful, honest, compassionate, and funny. She reminded me of my daughter and her friends, all those Ophelias who are now in their thirties and struggling with the stormy seas of motherhood, commitment, and work.
Praise for In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment and Motherhood.
“Ms. Lehmann-Haupt reminds women that sometimes baby makes two, not three, and that in either case, they won’t be going at it alone.”
On my 39th birthday, two years after I froze my eggs, I decided that if I wasn’t in a serious relationship by the time I turned 40, I was going to start intrauterine insemination. Even though my eggs were frozen, the urge to become a mother was becoming stronger, almost stronger than my desire for a relationship that would bring me a child.
I went into the doctor’s examination room, and shivers ran down my spine as I lay down on the table and put my feet into stirrups. The doctor came into the room with my donor’s sperm collected into a syringe, and I burst into tears.
“I can’t do this,” I said, jumping off the table.
I wasn’t ready.
I spent my 40th with my parents and brother, clinking champagne glasses in the Pool Room of the Four Seasons, and then a few weeks later, I made an altogether different kind of choice. I decided to go live in Northern California.
I needed a change and a new perspective. I have never been a person who chose to follow the straight and narrow, and at this point that’s how life in New York felt. Even though it’s where I was born and the city that shaped my childhood and values, I have always struggled with the stiffness of the East Coast establishment. I was frustrated that even though I had spent the previous six years traveling around the world as a successful writer, I had not successfully joined the establishment of traditional marriage and family. I was sick of being in pain over all the relationships that for one reason or another hadn’t worked out and my failure to join my parents’ and friends’ club. Sure, I had a lot of single girlfriends, too, and we lived our own Sex and the City episodes, but our dating-and-men-dominated conversations felt desperate, and I think many of us believed our single status was second-class.
I needed a new scene and a new attitude.
The summer before, I had visited the Bay Area, where I had lived through my 20s. One night a friend took me to a party out in Bolinas, the hippie surfer town in West Marin County. We drove up along the coast in his antique red Porsche, drank cocktails with his friends in an old converted farmhouse, and then danced to a honky-tonk band at the dive bar Smiley’s. Later that evening, he showed me the little gingerbread-style houseboat on the bay in Sausalito where he lived with his fiancé. I instantly fell in love with the salty charm of this bohemian floating life.
It was a strange kind of love, though, like falling for a man who was completely not my type. Even though I’d lived in California for almost a decade in the 1990s, going with the flow and other California clichés had always made me cringe. I’ve always been more inclined to wear a Diane Von Furstenberg bikini than my birthday suit in a hot tub. I always chose three-inch heels over sensible Birkenstocks, a bloody steak over soy turkey sausage, and a glamorous night poolside at the Four Seasons with a sapphire blue martini over a hike in the woods to a clear blue lake. Though I’d traveled in Southeast Asia while reading Jeff Greenwald’s Shopping for Buddhas and gone on camping trips with boyfriends in the Sierras, for the past decade, I’d done nothing close to nature—or going with the flow, unless you count carefully navigating the large slush puddles that accumulate on Manhattan street corners in heels and a miniskirt.
But on that trip, I felt the air loosening muscles that had been stiffened from life in New York. So a few months later, I sold everything that couldn’t fit into a few boxes, bought a used 2001 VW Beetle, gave up my rent-stabilized apartment, and rented a little purple houseboat on a dock called Yellow Ferry in Sausalito.
Rachel’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, New York magazine, The New York Observer, Outside magazine, Salon.com, Self, Vogue, Business Week, O magazine, and my essay “The Multi-Tasking Man” appeared in What Makes a Man: 22 Writers Imagine the Future, edited by Rebecca Walker (Riverhead Books, 2004). She’s appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and numerous other national TV and radio shows and spoken on panels at bookstores, hospitals and corporate events, and have delivered talks at universities. She is also the Creative Director of StoryMade, a boutique storytelling studio that she founded. She works on nonfiction manuscripts, book proposals, multimedia web content, and e-book development. Projects have included editing the best-selling The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, the launch of TED Books, and serving as Editorial Director for Dr. Dean Ornish and Ornish Spectrum.
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