The Editors

Marika Lindholm founded the social platform Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere (ESME) to ignite a social movement of solo moms. A trained sociologist, she taught courses on inequality, diversity, and gender at Northwestern University for over a decade. After a divorce left her parenting two children on her own, she built ESME out of academic and personal experience. Marika has published scholarly articles; been a regular contributor to Psychology Today, Working Mother, Mind Body Green, and Talk Space; and published essays and fiction in the Daily News, Elephant Journal, The Hill, Ms., Silent Voices, and the Southern Indiana Review.

Domenica Ruta is the author of the New York Times bestseller With or Without You, a memoir about growing up with a heroin-addicted solo mom. Her short fiction has appeared in Epoch, Indiana Review, and the Boston Review.  Her most recent book, Last Day, a novel, was written in a postpartum fugue state as a new solo mom to her son. She lives in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter at @DomenicaMary and on Instagram at @domenicaruta.

Cheryl Dumesnil’s books include two collections of poems, Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes and In Praise of Falling; a memoir, Love Song for Baby X; and the anthology Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos, coedited with Kim Addonizio. When she’s not nagging her children to do their homework, she’s pitching baseballs to Kid #1 or singing show tunes with Kid #2, while ignoring a sink full of dirty dishes. Her stint as a solo mom ended in 2017, when she married her soul mate, Sarah, aka the Best Stepparent on Earth.

 Katie Shonk is the author of the short-story collection The Red Passport and the novel Happy Now? Her writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Tin House, and elsewhere. An editor for ESME and Harvard University, Katherine lives with her family in Evanston, Illinois, where she is working on a novel about motherhood and immigration.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

The Road by Teresa Mei Chuc

You Were Born to Be Loved by Domenica Ruta

from The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens by Terri Linton

Notes to My Autistic Daughter by Marianne Peel Forman

I Was the Different One by Nisa Rashid

Return by Dorianne Laux

Teaching My Son to Write: An Abecedarian by Stacia Fleegal

It’s Really Not a Big Deal by Jacob Kronenberg

An Open Letter to Our Sperm Donor by Robin Silbergleid

Dad Day: Death Is a Holiday by Lennlee Keep

How to Pray by Sage Cohen

Butterfly and Sunshine by Marika Lindholm

CHAPTER THREE: A DAY IN THE LIFE

When a Car Wreck Collides with Picking Up the Kids by Melissa Stephenson

How to Comfort a Small Child by Abby Murray

Rules for Being Twenty by Ariel Gore

Evening Guilt by Kristie Robin Johnson

“I’m the Woman Who Hit Your Daughter with My Car” by Courtney Christine

Life after the NICU by Sarah Netter

My Life as a Refugee by Faleeha Hassan

The Rookie by January Gill O’Neil

This Is Your Life by Fern Capella

Crying It Out by Robin Silbergleid

They Give Awards for That by Lee Nash

CHAPTER FIVE: A CHANGE IS GONNA COME

Now That I Am Forever with Child by Audre Lorde

Coming Out Pregnant! by Staceyann Chin

The Story, for Now by Janlori Goldman

Myths of Botany and Motherhood by Isa Down

Gravity by Kim Addonizio

The Nervous Hospital by Mary Karr

What Remains by Jaimie Seaton

It Will Look Like a Sunset by Kelly Sundberg

Cicadas by Rachel Jamison Webster

My Books on Divorce by Amy Poehler

Today, I Am Mostly Crying by Claire Gillespie

CHAPTER TWO: LEAN ON ME

Finding My Voice, Feeding My Friends by Janelle Hardy

For My Sisters by Sharisse Kimbro

from A Beautiful, Terrible Thing by Jen Waite

Raising a Boy without a Man by Kathleen Laccinole

September 17 by Anne Lamott

Prayer by Keetje Kuipers

The Godfather by Margot Kessler

the lost women by Lucille Clifton

We Are Loved by Amy Rivers

XIII by Adrienne Rich

Tahlequah by Isa Down

All the Single Ladies Jennifer Baumgardner

CHAPTER FOUR: GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE

Why We Stay by VersAnnette Blackman-Bosia

When He Died by Robin Rogers

This Lesson My Boy Already Knows by Georgia Pearle

from The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander

Then by Ruth Stone

When Black Lives Matter More than You Ever Imagined by Deborah Pannell

In a Quiet Moment by Hilary Melton

Heroin Rain by Anne Spollen

On Home by Lisa Fay Coutley

What I Will Tell His Daughter, When She’s

Old Enough to Ask by Meg Day

Grey Street by Angela Ricketts

CHAPTER SIX: ISN’T IT ROMANTIC

Size Queen by Evie Peck

All Manner of Obscene Things by Kim Addonizio

Origami Wishes by Akesha Baron

How My Daughter Taught Me to Trust Again by Rachel Sarah

Personals by Muriel Johnson

Kaboom by Susan Goldberg

I Don’t Want Your Husband by P. Charlotte Lindsay

How to Love by January Gill O’Neil

You Can’t “Undo” This One by Jessica Bern

I Ask the Impossible by Ana Castillo

CHAPTER SEVEN: HERE COMES THE SUN

Yeah, But by Cheryl Dumesnil

My Birth, My Way by Cate Morrissey

How I Came to Me by Malaika King Albrecht

Teacher and Teammate by Sarah Kowalski

The Sky Is Everywhere by Nancy Sharp

Divorce Cliché by Shannon Lell

Sunday by January Gill O’Neil

Why I Don’t Grieve for My Daughter at College by Ylonda Gault

Deconstructing Kanji by Mika Yamamoto

After He Left by Jeanie Tomasko

I’d Loved Before, but Never Like This by asha bandele