Mark Fischer, a math teacher in Wilbraham, Mass., is our Lead Dad of the Week.
Mark is single Lead Dad by choice. His two daughters, 8 and 6, were conceived with an egg donor and gestational carriers on the cusp of his 50th birthday. He had been determined to be a dad, but he didn’t know what to expect when his first one arrived.
“I did not expect as much support as I got here on campus,” said Mark, who teaches at Wilbraham Monson, an independent day and boarding school.
“I expected to be more on my own. I’m manically independent. But there’s no way to be a parent alone. It was a benefit of being at a boarding school.”
He announced her birth at a faculty meeting, as if it were another teacher arriving or departing. His fellow faculty members rallied around him. “It was touching.”
There have been unique challenges. There were logistical issues – like getting donated breast milk. And there were fewer connections from the broader community, more generally focused on moms or couples. He met a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was also a single dad by choice, and they have supported each other.
“There are limitations that crop up because of being a single dad by choice,” he said. “I get fewer birthday party invitations, which is tough because they’re precious kids.”
But Mark prefers to dwell more on the positives of his parenting journey. In particular, he cherishes their summers off where they take road trips around the country. “Our tendency is to throw a pity party as humans,” he said. “I tell my girls all the time that you’re the luckiest girls in the world, and I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”
Welcome, Mark, to The Company of Dads’ community.