career

A Potential Client Told Me I Shouldn’t Become a Mother

We’ve been following along with Emily on her path to becoming a single mother by choice. She is now 32 weeks pregnant.  

Something happened back in October that I was too nervous to share at the time. It was the day before my embryo transfer. I was scheduled to be in the city in meetings for most of the day, but in the morning, I did some work from home and had a phone call with a potential new client.

The call went very well. We spoke for about an hour and I learned a lot about this mom and her sophomore son. He sounded like a great kid. I explained my work and how I would help her family and her son navigate the college admissions process from both a strategic and human development viewpoint. The mom asked several thoughtful questions. She also mentioned to me that she was a business consultant and had some strong opinions about what would work best for her son. She signed off saying she would likely be back in touch the following week to set up our first meeting. 

A few hours later, she called back. She said she had a few more questions. She had Googled me, “as most people will,” and read my blog posts on Kveller. (At that point, I had posts up about my decision to become a single mother by choice, my donor selection, superstition, and dating while expecting.) She said she had to urge me “not to do this.”

“Not to do what?” I dared to inquire, “Become a mother?”

“Yes,” she replied, “I must urge you not to become a mother.” She went on to say that from her perspective as a business consultant, she could guarantee that my career would suffer as a result of motherhood. She said that her work declined when she had her sons, and she had a husband. How would I possibly manage when I don’t even have one of those?

I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but I will say I remained quite professional and level headed throughout the conversation in spite of the fact that my jaw was practically on the sidewalk as I paced the block outside my office. I wrapped up the call by telling her that I’m not naïve and that I’m sure I’ll have some sleepless nights ahead, but that I have a strong family and extended network and that, for me, motherhood was not optional. I also emphasized how very much I love my work and how dedicated I am to continuing my career and serving my students and their families with my whole heart. I never heard from her again.

After our call, I met with my business partners, with whom I own a second company, apart from my private educational consulting practice. They could see that something was wrong. I’m pretty sure all of the blood had left my face. I was upset. Here I was, one day before the biggest day of my life, and a total stranger just had the audacity to tell me I shouldn’t become a mom. Thank god for my partners! They were amazing–so supportive, encouraging, and excited for what the next day could bring. They were angry on my behalf and completely on my team.

I hesitated to write about this story at first because I feared that the woman caller would represent the prevailing opinion of others when I told them I was pregnant. I am so happy to tell you now that my business partners are a much better representation of the responses I have received over the last seven months. Overall, people are awesome! They are excited about my unwavering pursuit of motherhood and incredibly encouraging as I talk to them about the future. My clients have also been wonderfully supportive.

Life’s dreams are incredibly important and nobody, no matter how flagrantly out of line, should have the opportunity to derail another person’s hopes.

The night of that call, I had dinner with an old friend at one of my favorite city haunts. As we sat talking, he remarked that this woman’s call was the last obstacle to my pursuit of my most important adventure. She was a reminder of just how much I want to do this and how committed I am to being the best mom, provider, and role model I can be.


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Emily WolperEmily Wolper is a college admissions consultant and former Columbia University admissions officer who absolutely loves her work. She is also a singer, traveler, yoga enthusiast and all around optimist. Emily lives in Morristown, NJ and enjoys having offices in both NJ and NYC. She is a graduate and involved alumna of Vassar College, where she earned a BA in Religion. She also has a masters degree in Educational Theatre from NYU.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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