“The very first memory I have of wanting to be a mom finds me roughly around eight years old. I vividly recall laying in the snow, all bundled up, staring at a cloud filled sky while snowflakes fell from Heaven. I was planning my life: I’ll get straight A’s all through school and earn a scholarship to my dream college. I’ll leave college with a degree which will help me become a research scientist, and I’ll find a job I love working in a male dominated field (yes, I actually said those words). And, of course, I’d be madly in love and married at twenty-four, and have two or three kids by the time I reached thirty. When you are eight, thirty seems like a lifetime away.
In reality, I accomplished all the goals academically and professionally my eight-year-old-self had hoped for. While I didn’t become a research scientist, I did end up in the male dominated field of nuclear power. However, it was apparent to me I was falling behind in the whole, ‘fall in love and get married’ goals. I went on a few first dates in my early twenties, but nothing ever materialized. By twenty-three, I was starting to feel as though I was meant to be alone. I had an amazing career, owned a house and was quickly making it into a home on my own. Yet, there was always this empty feeling in my heart. I finally realized the emptiness wasn’t from the potential of never falling in love and getting married, but the fear I may never get to become a mom.
One night, during a long stretch of insomnia, I typed, ‘becoming a single mom on purpose’ into a search engine and my heart ignited as I read stories of women in their late thirties and early forties who took charge of their destiny and made the decision to become single mothers through fertility treatments or adoption. I couldn’t find any resources about how a woman in her mid-to-late twenties could take charge and follow this path, but I was determined to keep it in the back of my mind as an option.
I remember about six months later, sitting with my girlfriends, chatting about their boyfriends and husbands. I said, ‘I feel maybe I am someone who is destined to be without a partner. I’ve heard about women deciding to have children on their own, it’s something I may want to try.’ I could tell they were hesitant about the idea, but it broke my heart when I heard about conversations they had behind my back afterwards. One of my very best friends shared her opinion with another friend, ‘It is wrong for a woman to have a child on her own, and in order to grow up well rounded a child needs a mother AND a father in their life.’
I struggled with those words for the next three years, as I worked towards my goal of being in a place financially, emotionally and physically, and when I could give my all to a baby. During those years, I was promoted at work, finished the renovation on my house with the help of my incredibly handy parents, and paid off my debts. At twenty-nine, with an ache in my heart so overwhelming I could no longer push it down or ignore it, I made the decision to pursue fertility treatments, hoping to make my dream of motherhood a reality.
My beautiful baby was spun into creation on September 14th, 2018. I loved being pregnant before the test even came back positive. For the first few weeks I was absolutely convinced I was having a girl, so when I found out I was having a little boy I just about crumbled beneath the weight of all my anxiety. I feared I wouldn’t be enough for him, after all, I was a girl and only knew a female’s perspective on the world. I buckled down and promised the sweet little boy growing big and strong in my belly, ‘I will do my very best to never make you feel like you’re missing out because our family is just a mom and son.’
My pregnancy was everything I hoped for. Don’t get me wrong, I was nauseous for nearly all of my second trimester, had heartburn which could rival the heat produced from a volcano near the end of my third, and dealt with hours of Braxton Hicks contractions nearly every day after my eighteenth week…but it was all a part of the most amazing process. I am still in awe my body grew a human! On June 18th, 2019, thirteen days past his due date, I brought my son into the world. All eight pounds, six ounces and twenty perfect inches of him.
My biggest fear before my son was born was I wouldn’t recognize him. With half of his DNA coming from an anonymous donor, who I am so thankful for, I was petrified all I would see looking back at me would be a reflection of someone I didn’t know. The moment his eyes met mine just seconds after being born, I recognized his soul, his heart, and his mind. In the most beautiful way, I truly feel as though my son and I have known each other since the universe was formed. Every part of him was a part I helped create and held within my own heart, my own soul, and my own mind. I see how he has my lips and eyes, my father’s nose, my mother’s ears and toes. I recognize every freckle, each dimple, every strand of hair. All his different cries and coos were etched upon my soul an eternity ago, waiting to spark recognition in my heart the moment we met. I waited so long for this sweet boy, and the most amazing part is every time I look at him, I truly see infinite love looking back at me.
For the most part, I am oblivious to any negative judgments people might be making. However, a few instances stick out in my mind. The first is from when I went to the hospital to be induced. I planned to have a home birth with a midwife, but ended up needing to go to the hospital to be induced because I was 12 days overdue and my son had not done well on his biophysical profile exam. I arrived in Labor and Delivery, and the midwife on call asked me to explain why my mom was my support person. I told her I was a ‘Single Mom by Choice’ and was having my baby on my own. She looked at me and said, ‘Girl, are you crazy?’ to which I gently replied, ‘No, I’ve just always wanted to be a mom.’ She was very forceful with her opinions I was in the wrong for choosing to become a mom without being in a relationship. And during my possible due date at that!
The second instance happened just last week with my supervisor at work. She and I were having a conversation and she decided to tell me her husband, who was a supervisor in my previous department, had a discussion with my coworkers when I announced I was pregnant, saying, ‘I can’t believe how irresponsible she is being having a child on her own!’ It was extremely hurtful, because I planned and prepared meticulously for seven years to have a baby, and most people just wing it and hope for the best, and they don’t face such harsh criticism and judgement.
It’s interesting to me, now all my friends are moms and I am too, how quick they are to tell me I made the right decision to have a baby without a partner. I will admit, it was nice not having to argue over names or where the baby was going to be born. I came into this experience knowing I am the one who will be up all night with the baby, and I’ll be the one up all day with him, too. There is no resentment towards a partner who sleeps deeply and doesn’t wake up when the baby cries. No feelings of disappointment when someone else doesn’t offer to take over diaper duty. The nights are long, but they are also filled with bliss, as I nurse and rock the most precious thing in my life while the world around us is still.
This is the only life we get, so if you feel in your heart you want to be a parent, but you find yourself without a partner, don’t feel you have to settle in a situation which is less than everything you want. Being a solo parent IS hard, but so is being a parent in general! If you go into the situation knowing and understanding all you will be responsible for, it can truly be the most amazing journey!
Now that my son is here, I look at him and my heart is filled with overwhelming joy. I am a ‘Single Mom by Choice,’ and I am so proud.”
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