Magazine article Working Mother

Single by Choice

Magazine article Working Mother

Single by Choice

Article excerpt

Even as a little girl, Melissa Kanes knew she'd have children one day. She'd meet her perfect mate and have a family - all without skipping a beat in her successful career. But when Melissa turned 34 and hadn't met a man she wanted to marry, she moved to plan B. "For me, having children on my own was a no-brainer," says the chiropractor, who had Ariana, 4, and Alexander, 1, by artificial insemination. Though she knew life as a single mom would be challenging - especially on top of her demanding chiropractic practice - she felt she couldn't endure the alternative. "What would be more difficult for me was to imagine a life without a family," says Melissa, who grew up with three younger sisters in a large Greek immigrant family in New York City.

She'd heard all the statistics about how the chances of conceiving drop as women enter their thirties. So she decided that if she hadn't met someone she wanted to settle down with by her mid-thirties, she'd have kids on her own. The Mr. Right she was seeking was a well-educated professional man who shares both her Greek heritage and her desire for a family. Despite a few longterm relationships, "the connection wasn't there," she says.

Opting for Plan B

After her thirty-fourth birthday, Melissa decided to conceive through artificial insemination. Choosing a donor was easy, she says. She scanned dozens of online profiles before selecting someone tall with dark hair and European roots who had an advanced degree and a good medical history.

Melissa conceived after just three tries over three months with each child, using the same donor. The process for both cost a total of $4,000. Melissa is honest with Ariana about how she came into the world, putting the explanation in terms she can understand, and she plans to do the same someday with Alexander. "I tell her that Mommy bought some seeds from a doctor to make a baby because I wanted her so much," says Melissa. With both children, she worked through her ninth month of pregnancy and returned to work six weeks after giving birth by cesarean section.

Melissa reduced her workweek to 20 hours when Ariana was a baby but now works full-time and relies on a live-in nanny to help her take care of the children during busy weekdays.

Timing Isn't Everything

Melissa opened her practice, Chiropractic for Prevention, in the Empire State Building in 2001, just two months before 9/11. Soon after the terrorist attacks, she had to face the daunting reality that potential clients were too scared to come to the Midtown Manhattan skyscraper. She could have closed her practice, chalking it up to bad timing, but Melissa was determined to figure out a way to make her business succeed. She decided to market herself to her fellow tenants in the building. She went door-to-door introducing herself and handing out her business card.

It turned out she was the only chiropractor in the building at a time of great stress - and the accompanying back and neck pains. It was a perfect match of supply and demand. "I'm able to adjust someone's back by pulling, pushing or twistingjoints in the spine," says Melissa. "That gets rid of typical musculoskeletal pain fairly quickly."

She credits her early success to her belief in the power of visualizing what she wants: "When you believe and you visualize, you're not living in fear." She visualized opening a thriving practice and having children and a home in the suburbs - and it's all happening. She's buying a house on the North Shore of Long Island so she will be closer to her family. …

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