‘I wanted him so bad a friend gave me the seed I needed to plant him in my belly.’: Single mom by choice shares reminder ‘families come in all shapes and sizes’

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“I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I idolized my mom growing up and until the day she passed away in 2016. The love we had for each other I wanted to experience from the other end. This was always in the back of my mind through every relationship I had as an adult. Especially once I was in my 30’s. But each relationship I had ended for one reason or another.

By the time I was 32 and with the passing of my mom, I had made peace with the fact that I might not ever find a husband, but I wasn’t going to let that hold me back from experiencing life to the fullest. I started with going to the movies and out to eat by myself and eventually traveled abroad alone. All of these experiences gave me the courage to believe that maybe I could also be a mom on my own.

I had been thinking about using a donor for a few years, but the cost, and honestly what other people would think, held me back. That was until a friend of mine, one day when talking about this desire to be a mom, offered to be my donor. To respect his privacy I won’t go much into that, except to say we agreed from the beginning there was no expectation of a co-parenting situation and I wanted to be the sole decision maker, would not list him on the birth certificate, and of course the baby would have my last name.

I got pregnant on the first try. Which was a complete shocker! But I also think it had to happen that way, or else I would have found an excuse to back out. I’m not going to lie, at first I was freaked out. Thoughts of ‘what the he*l did I just do’ were flooding my brain. But the moment I went to the doctor to confirm I was indeed pregnant and saw that little blob on the ultrasound, I was in.

maternity photo of woman in a red dress
Courtesy of Lindsay Bryan

I had mentioned using a donor here and there to my family, but up to this point I had not let them in on what I was doing. So they were shocked to find out when I told them I was pregnant. I was worried what they would think, would they judge me? But they all know how much I have wanted this, and were more supportive than I could have expected.

During my second trimester I hired doulas to see me through the rest of my pregnancy and postpartum period, and it was the best decision I made! My closest family member is three hours away, so the support they provided was crucial! One attended doctor appointments with me, I had birthing classes in my home, they were with me during my labor, and came over after he was here to provide lactation support, show me how to baby wear, and hold him so I could get a shower.

I waited until I was 20 weeks and had my anatomy scan to make sure everything was looking good before I publicly announced. But I think I used that as a reason to put it off as long as possible because again I was afraid people would judge or not understand what I was doing. And again, I was overwhelmed by the level of support and encouragement I received. I’ve had a few women tell me that they wish they would have had the courage to do what I was doing because they waited until it was too late and regret it.

I think I should clarify that by no means am I man hater or resolved on never dating again. I just don’t think I have to have a significant other in order to have a child. The order of things is not how I envisioned my life unfolding, but everything happens for a reason and when it is supposed to.

I have my Jack now and I can’t imagine life without him now that he is here. Motherhood is hard, the hardest thing I’ve experienced so far, but also the most rewarding. Being a single mom has its pros and cons. I love being able to raise him how I want, but there are times I wish I had someone here to hand him off to when I am tired and need a few minutes to myself. In those moments it’s like little Jack realizes that and gives me the grace I need, which gives me the strength to give him that same grace in his difficult moments. We truly are a team! And the bonding between us over the last two months has been nothing less than magical. I now understand the love my mom felt for me.

baby boy sleeping
Courtesy of Lindsay Bryan

Being a new mom can be very isolating, even more so as a single mom. It’s very easy to have one day turn into the next when taking care of a baby. All the practice I’ve had doing things on my own has given me the confidence to take Jack out on my own. We meet friends for lunch or a beer, go shopping at consignment shops, for walks in the neighborhood, out to dinner at my favorite wine bar. I even wore him for two hours shooting my nieces engagement pictures. It was scary strapping him into his car seat that first time we went somewhere by ourselves. But the more we do things, the more comfortable we both have gotten. I think it’s important for us to get out of the house and have community with people while also filling my cup.

I have also realized that while being independent and doing things on your own is empowering, it is just as important to know when to ask for help and to let people support you. I had family stay with me the first two weeks after Jack was born and had a meal train from co-workers for the first six weeks. People would come by so I could shower and eat. Having a support system can not be undervalued!! I truthfully feel I have tried to be there for others through the years, and it was returned 10 fold when I needed it most.

For anyone out there that has desires in your heart but aren’t where you think you should be in life to have those things, reframe your thoughts to remove those barriers you think are there. You only get one life and it’s a shame to waste it living it on society or other people’s terms. By allowing myself the freedom to do things I knew I wanted, I am creating the life my heart desired. And it feels good!!!

mom on the floor with her baby
Courtesy of Lindsay Bryan

Some people were concerned about me doing it on my own, saying that they wished I had a partner. They would focus on how hard it was going to be for me on my own. Other people told me that I was smart doing it on my own with as many relationships that have fighting and negativity that end up ending and the kids being shuffled from place to place. Some people made comments that ‘they didn’t realize I was seeing anyone.’ And when I told them I wasn’t, I could see it made them uncomfortable. But the majority of people were just happy for me. That they knew I’d make a great mom and were proud of me for knowing what I wanted and going for it.

I plan to explain it to Jack when he is little that I wanted him so bad that a friend gave me the seed I needed to plant him in my belly. Families come in all shapes and sizes these days. The most important thing is that he is loved, respected, and supported. And he has so many people that love him!”

mom holding her son
Courtesy of Lindsay Bryan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lindsay Bryan from Springfield, MO. You can follow her 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.

Read more stories like this here:

‘If I’m not in a relationship when I’m 30, I’m using a sperm donor!’ I never took it seriously.’: Single mom by choice pens journey, ‘I hope she’s proud to be my daughter’

‘I want to be a single mom by choice.’ I hadn’t planned to tell anyone. ‘Will you wait until we can be together?’: After 10-year infertility battle, woman becomes mom, finds love

‘Here…AND HERE!’ The reality of having TWINS hit me. I cried alone at night, thinking I wasn’t doing enough.’: Single mom by choice delivers twins, shares parenting journey

‘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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