‘I said if I wasn’t married by 30, I was going to have a baby on my own. They laughed, told me I was crazy.’: Single mom by choice shares journey with infertility

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“Welcome to my journey to becoming a single mother by choice.

woman holding her baby
Courtesy of Kerri R.

My name is Kerri. I’m 31 years old from the Atlanta, Georgia area. I work in the Airline Industry as a Flight Attendant – something I am extremely passionate about. It’s quite possibly the best job I’ve ever had. My sisters and I grew up with a single mother by circumstance. I think subconsciously that is what sparked my interest in being a SMBC. My mother raised me and my sisters to be independent women. She always taught us that a partner in life was a want, not a need. I took it a little too literally. Growing up I never pictured myself getting married, having some fancy wedding and a white picket fence. Nope, I grew up knowing I was meant to be a mother. I started babysitting at a young age and when my youngest sister was born, oh lord I was in love! She was my first taste of true love. Being there for her birth and being her big sister lit a fire in my soul. I loved being her big sister; loved helping my mom take care of the baby. My mom had a pretty severe accident when my sister was 4 months old and for a few months while she was incapacitated, I got to step up and really help out with the baby. It wasn’t what you’d expect a 10 year old to be doing, but I took on the task of helper with such pride. Over the years I continued to babysit and would go to work in daycare and nannying positions well into adulthood.

My real decision to become a single mother by choice was made when I was 16. I don’t think that I really knew how I was going to go about it or if I would even have to go it alone but I remember telling my friends and family that if I wasn’t married or in a serious relationship bound for marriage by the age of 30, I was going to have a baby on my own. They laughed of course; told me I was crazy. Little did they know I was completely serious. I’d dated around in my late teens and early twenties. They were more young-love than anything else. One of the relationships was an abusive one – mentally, physically, and emotionally. As a 21-year-old that can be pretty scarring to your ego. I shut down; swore off relationships after that. Things became casual hookups only when it came to men. In early 2019, I’d starting seeing someone a bit more regularly, but it was still nothing serious and surely nothing to write home about in the way of ‘love.’

Fast forward to May of that year, I became pregnant. I was ecstatic. The person I was seeing was not too thrilled that I was pregnant, as he had two kids of his own. He wanted me to have an abortion. I straight up told him no – I was going to have that baby, my baby, regardless of what he wanted. I told him I didn’t want or need anything from him and I embarked on the journey to motherhood. Sadly, my pregnancy ended in miscarriage at eight weeks. I was devastated. There’s this unspoken easiness that comes over you the moment you learn you’re pregnant. It’s like your whole mindset changes in an instant and you find yourself thinking all the things; ‘what do I need to do?’ ‘who do I need to call?’ ‘how soon can I get an appointment?’ The list goes on and on and it never stops. So, when my miscarriage occurred, those thoughts carried over into ‘how did I let this happen?’ ‘what could I have done differently?’ ‘did I work too much those first couple weeks?’ I hit rock bottom. I was in the lowest state I had ever been in my life, and I started seeing a therapist weekly to cope with my loss.

woman sitting on the front steps
Courtesy of Kerri R.

It took me some time, but by November of 2019 I had decided that it was time. Being a mother was where I needed to be in my life, so I started researching known donors through co-parents.com. I had to quickly weed out the creepers from the true donors. It took quite some time to find a genuine donor. Once I did, we set up an in-person meeting. I liked him and was content with choosing him. I was so naïve – I surely thought that it was going to be a one and done type of deal. Boy, was I wrong! By March of 2020 I was still not pregnant. I made the decision to reach out to my Ob/gyn and get a full work up done to just make sure things were working properly. Everything came back normal. Because everything was as normal as could be, I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. I had no real knowledge of infertility and how many people it affected. It was like a gut punch to hear that I was ‘infertile.’ My doctor prescribed me a three month trial of Clomid and said that if I wasn’t pregnant by month three, she’d refer me to a fertility clinic. Well, month three came and went and I was STILL not pregnant. I remember praying to God every day during this time, just praying He’d send me a child. To my surprise, He did send a baby… just not to me. I got a phone call from my sister in early June of 2020, and it was her telling me that she was pregnant. I was so angry. Angry at her, angry at God, angry at my body. I remember telling her that I was done with her. She got the one thing I wanted most and it killed me. I called my mother and asked her if it was true and when she said yes, I cried like I’ve never cried before. I just remember asking her what was so wrong with me that I couldn’t get pregnant. I was just lost in that moment. (I will add that my sister and I did end up talking things over and going through our pregnancies together. Our boys were born four months apart. They’re little best friends already!)

Fast forward to mid-June, I received my referral for the fertility clinic. I met with two different ones via zoom meetings. I loved the second doctor I’d met with from Shady Grove Fertility. Something about him just spoke to me. I had my first appointment late in the month. I went through all kinds of testing (HSG, blood work galore, ultrasounds left and right). In August, my doctor gave me a protocol that included IUI with discussion of IVF if I was still not pregnant by cycle number three with the clinic. I was so excited. However, I was not letting myself get my hopes up. I mean, it didn’t work for the nine months prior, why would it work this time, right?

August 28th. IUI day. I was at peace that morning. I’d prayed to God and spoke some affirmations into the universe; ‘I am getting pregnant today! Baby E is coming home with me!’ August 28th holds a special place in my heart as it was my great grandmother’s birthday. I remember speaking to her and just asking her for a miracle, too. I don’t know exactly what did it or how, but on September 11 I found out I was pregnant! I remember getting the phone call from my nurse. She said, ‘Hey girl, you had a blood test today, right? Wanna know the results?’ I said, ‘uhm, YES!’ to which she replied ‘you’re knocked up girl!’ I immediately began sobbing. I couldn’t believe it. I was so sure it was going to take more than one try just based on what I’d gone through previously and the unexplained infertility diagnosis. I can’t begin to explain the amount of relief I felt when I got that news. That relief, however didn’t last long. It was quickly replaced with worry that would last the entire first trimester. Thankfully though, despite all of my worrying, I had an amazing pregnancy.

maternity photo of woman in a red dress with her hands on her stomach
Nataly Huertas Photography

I gave birth to my son on May 20th – four days after my 31st birthday. It is a day I will never forget for as long as I live. I had to have an emergency c-section and when they brought him to me for the first time, I looked at him and said, ‘I have been waiting for you’ (still makes me tear up!). Finally having him here was such an overwhelming feeling. I felt like I could finally breathe again, like my life was complete and my heart was whole. My rainbow baby was here. I look at him every single day in awe. He is perfect to me, and even more perfect for me. I don’t know what I did to deserve him.

mom and her baby
Courtesy of Kerri R.

Being a single mom has been amazing so far. Sure, we’ve had some bumps in the road but we’re only 10 weeks in. It wasn’t easy the first two and a half weeks trying to recover from major surgery and taking care of a newborn, but we powered through it and found our groove. My favorite part of being a SMBC is not having to share him with anyone! I get all the snuggles and love I want. I get to make all the decisions regarding him without having to mesh with someone else’s opinions or beliefs, I get to parent the way I want to parent. That’s not to say it will always be easy. Of course, I worry about him resenting me for him not having a ‘traditional’ family. I worry that he’ll somehow feel ‘less than’ around his friends. But I will do my very best to make sure he knows that he is part of a special kind of family and that he knows his mama loves him so much that she went to the ends of the earth to get to him. It won’t always be easy, but will most definitely be worth it. He is worth it.

mom snuggling with her baby
Courtesy of Kerri R.

I am certainly no expert on single motherhood by choice, but for me the decision was an easy one. I knew what I wanted out of life and I went after it. I find it empowering when people take control of their lives and don’t follow the cookie cutter lifestyle that society says we need to have. Having a child is not, and should not, be limited to marriage and white picket fences. My child is the greatest part of me and if I never do anything right in life again, I’m glad he’s the one thing I did do right.

baby smiling in a rainbow shirt
Courtesy of Kerri R.

If I had to give one piece of advice to someone wanting to become a single mother by choice it would be, simply, do it. Motherhood is so rewarding and you shouldn’t miss out on it just because you’re single. I think we’re some pretty badass women in this SMBC community.”

woman holding her baby, smiling
James Hill Photo

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kerri R. from Atlanta, Ga. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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‘Girl, are you crazy?’ I told the midwife I was having a baby on my own. ‘A child needs a mother AND father in their life.’: Single mom by choice births baby solo, ‘Every time I look at him, I see infinite love looking back’

‘I’m single, and I haven’t had sex with anyone, but I’m pregnant.’: Single-by-choice mom births son with Down syndrome, ‘I thought I chose Matthew, but he chose me’

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