Women choosing single motherhood are subject of new documentary

Nina Davenport and her son Jasper in front of their Brooklyn home. Credit: Bess Adler
Nina Davenport and her son Jasper in front of their Brooklyn home. Credit: Bess Adler

In a city where women often bemoan the uneven ratio of women to men — 400,000 more women, according to city data — stories like Nina Davenport’s are no doubt becoming less and less unusual.

In fact, Davenport, a Brooklyn-based single mother who decided to have a child on her own at the age of 41, scoffed at a reviewer who referred to her, in the context of a documentary she made about her experience, as “a demographic of one.”

“It’s so absurd,” she said. “I know tons of people who have done this and it’s not even necessarily from seeking them out [because of the film].”

Davenport’s documentary, “First Comes Love,” is showing at Independent Film Center and premiered on HBO on Monday, with a special screening of its sort-of prequel, “Always a Bridesmaid,” beforehand.

A career documentary filmmaker, making a movie of her experience was natural. Now, though, especially in light of some of the more vicious reviews the film has received, she’s hoping it will help other women in New York feel less afraid of facing judgment if they make the decision to have a child on their own.

The film, she said, is about “female empowerment, like a woman feeling that I don’t need a man to do this, I don’t need a man psychologically, I don’t need the validation from society, I don’t have to do the same thing my parents did.”

That sense of security and confidence didn’t come easy to her.

“It was hard-won to get to that point; I had to overcome a lot to get to the point of giving up on finding a man and having a baby of my own,” she said.

But being a New Yorker made feeling comfortable with the experience that much easier.

“I feel like the beauty of New York is anything goes,” she added. “There’s everything here and there’s so much tolerance and openness.”

Davenport gives the city a lot of positive credit with regard to her experience, brushing aside the struggle to find man who will commit (the subject of “Always a Bridesmaid”) and focusing instead on the sense of community the city affords.

“I don’t know that I could live anywhere else and feel as happy and normal being a single mother,” Davenport said. “Here I never feel judged.”

Indeed, she says, there is no such thing as a “typical” family in New York City: There are single-parent families, divorced families, families with two mothers or two fathers or grandparents.

“I value that more than anything,” she said.

See the film

The film is playing at the IFC Center at 323 Sixth Ave.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.