I enjoyed it, first and foremost. It didn't do some things I expected it to - get perspectives from lots of other thinker/ trier/SMC types (although she does have two sequences involving other SMCs); it didn't show very much about the pregnancy (it kind of flies by, and she gets pregnant on her first IVF, so no fertility struggles at all). So anyone looking for a detailed, fraught story of a woman's struggle to become a single mother - this isn't it. But it is her story, which is more about her relationship with her parents and reminiscing about her childhood and their childhoods than it is about struggles to become pregnant or raise the child on her own. So that did surprise me.
I was envious of her support network. She has one childless, single friend who is basically her partner through the whole process, who despite exhibiting some misgivings about being expected to be "on call" all the time, seems to get over this fairly easily and is, in fact, a de facto other parent. The biological father, a gay friend, is also surprisingly present for pretty much every milestone (it seems), also despite having sworn off any responsibility. When she returns from the hospital she has a crew of three friends camping out in her living room to help. If this weren't a documentary, I would laugh at how unrealistic this all is, that all these people say they're going to help and then actually do. So I envied her all this help - but again, it's her story. It's what really happened.
In the end it seemed to me that the real struggle of this woman's life is not having a baby on her own - which seems like a snap - but reconciling herself to her father, in a very childish way, still seeking his approval for her choice of career and choices in general (when she first tells him she's pregnant, he says, "call the abortionist!"). That to me is the real story of this documentary, not being a single mother.
I guess as one who had the opposite experience of most middle class Americans - the kind of people who grew up in intact families in the suburbs whose parents placed high expectations on them and frowned on any artistic leanings - I find it hard to relate. I grew up in a crazy, messy, chaotic family with an absent dad and a musician mother who actively discouraged any desire in me to go to college or do anything in a traditional way. I see again and again stories of free-spirited adult children trying to win the approval of their stubborn conservative Johnson-era parents, and I just don't get it. But then again because my parents were both so unpleasant, I was able to "individuate" in my thirties; most people never do. Seeking parental approval at this ripe old age just seems dumb to me. So I have a very different perspective from most people.
To sum up, I wish it had been more SMC-related; I wish she had interviewed Mikki Morisette or Jane Mattes; I wish she had exhibited more anxiety about the pregnancy or process of IVF; I wish she had struggled more as a new parent. But this is her story, not mine or anyone else's. I'm so glad at least somebody had the wherewithal to document the woman's perspective of having a baby on your own. It's definitely a first.
One question that's been bugging me lately. If someone has a baby with a male friend who, whether intentionally or not, is a part of the child's life - are they really an SMC? Is it the same as someone who sets out from the beginning that there be no dad and no possibility of a dad? Curious to hear your thoughts on this.