Last year, I started really thinking about the way my daughter sees the world. After overhearing a playground conversation she had with a little boy, I was waiting for her to come to me with questions and sure enough, on the walk from the park she expressed her concern for a little boy who said he didn’t have a dad. It was in that moment, I realized justhow obsessed our culture is with the idea of a family existing as a mom and a dad of the same race who have a couple biological children. But the truth is families don’t always fit into that mold and their validity as a family shouldn’t be questioned because of it. Families are created in many different ways and are made up of different shapes, sizes and configurations. Chrissy choose to conceive Dorothy by way of a donor ; their family is just one example of a family that doesn’t fit into the Beaver Cleaver ideal but looking at these pictures, the love they share is palpable. This is their American Family.
What’s your story?
My name is Chrissy and I am a 35 year old single mother by choice. My daughter’s name is Dorothy True and she is 14 months old. I am a native San Diegan who lives in North County. Being a single mother “by choice” means that I chose to conceive my daughter via a donor. We currently spend time hanging out with our playgroup pals or just enjoy being home. We recently walked in a 5K together and look forward to taking swimming lessons. I do my best to balance work, play and being a good mother.
What makes your family special?
I think we are a little special in that we are very much a “chosen” family. I feel like although it was my choice to have her- we really chose each other. When you chose to have a child via a donor it becomes a true thinking process- you are literally putting the wheels in motion to create a new life. That can be daunting at first. But from the moment she was born everything about this experience and our journey together has felt very natural, more natural than anything I have ever done.
What’s are the benefits and challenges of your individual family?
I think being a single parent actually has many benefits. I am able to make all of the decisions about her life-which can be both empowering and occasionally overwhelming. But there is not that push and pull of two different parenting styles trying to find common ground that might be present in other families. I also think that because I chose to be a single parent, my reality is different than single parents who did not start out their journey thinking they would be doing it all on their own. I knew that, wanted that, and like that about our life. I also think we are really blessed to have so much family support. We live with my parents and I feel it is really in Dorothy’s best interest to be living among many generations of her family. We also have my grandparents living close by and she brings them such joy. It really shows you how family should truly be…we help them, they help us…it is about the whole family working together for safety and security of all the members. I want her to know that that is what family is all about.
What would you like people to know about your family?
I would like more women to know that this is an option for them. I see many women who are in their mid-late thirties really rushing into relationships and marriages because they want to have a baby. If you really just want a baby- have one! If you want to be married and have a child then wait for the right person and make sure you are connected on the issue that matter to you most around parenting.
Are there any misconceptions you would like address?
I think it is interesting that people often look to single moms as something outside the norm. The truth is more than half of all children are raised by a single parent. The vast majority are mothers. Having one parent who loves you is enough to make a child happy and healthy. I think families can have some many different structures and still be rock solid. I feel proud of the way I have chose to create my family- and I hope my child will feel that same sense of pride in me when she grows up.
Why do you think this project is important?
I think it is so important to see pictures of different types of families. It shows people what is possible. I think many people are sure if they are making the right choices in life just because they have never actually seen what an alternative path might look like. When people look at our photos I hope that they see a loving mother and child. I hope that they know that this type of family is a valid option for them, and that it is a fun, amazing, giant dream come true!