“What would you do if you knew you were destined to be a mother but hadn’t met the person you could envision raising children with? This was the predicament I found myself in at the age of 38.
I grew up in a small suburban town with the textbook version of a family in the 80s and 90s. My Dad was the successful breadwinner and Mom stayed home to raise my sister and me. My childhood was nothing short of perfect and full of happy memories. My sister and I spent our days playing Barbies with our made-up families. I couldn’t wait until I was the grown-up, with a dotting husband and three or four children of my own. I watched Disney fairy tales and after-school specials, excited for my future of dating and love. It all looked so magical and exciting, and EASY.
But what I didn’t know was that it would not be easy. In fact, finding the love I craved would be the most difficult obstacle I faced in my life.
I’ve been ‘dating’ since I was 13. That’s 25 years that I have spent trying to find my match. And while I’ve come close at times, there has always been some kind of gut feeling telling me, ‘No, he is not the one.’ We’re talking about everything from mistreatment to alcohol abuse, to me just not feeling myself with a person. It’s to the point that I could write a whole book on my dating experiences, and then some.
And while these experiences have taught me a magnitude about myself and what real love is, they have also left me childless at the age of 38…
I was 34 when I finally bit the bullet and got my fertility tested. I always had a feeling that it wouldn’t be easy for me to conceive, and I was right. I found out that while I was otherwise a healthy 34-year-old woman, my ‘ovaries were aging faster than the rest of me.’ I remember sitting there in a daze, as my doctor went over terms like ‘AMH’ and ‘FSH’; I had no idea what these acronyms meant in the grand scheme of my fertility. I knew I wanted to move forward with egg freezing, but I was scared. My singleness had gotten to the point where I had to do something as drastic as egg freezing to preserve my chance of having a biological child of my own one day.
I delayed it for 6 months while I continued to date and travel, thinking, ‘Maybe this relationship will be the one that works.’ But alas, they didn’t and I went through two rounds of egg freezing at 35, which produced 20 frozen eggs.
After I froze my eggs I felt I had bought myself some years in dating. I had my insurance policy, my backup plan. I continued to live my life in the city dating and hanging out with my other single friends, where we spent our weekends sipping mimosas and swapping dating stories.
Then COVID hit, and that lifestyle quickly changed. I was 37 at the end of summer when I was still single and my friends had all moved on. Whether they moved in with their quarantine boyfriends, got married, or relocated to the suburbs, I was single without the crutch of other single friends and had to take a hard look at my life and where it was going.
I looked back through my old journals when I froze my eggs and came across an entry where I wrote that if I were still single in the fall approaching my 38th birthday, I would pursue motherhood solo. I knew it was time to look into this path. I had waited long enough. People say you will never feel ready to have a baby, but I knew I was.
I started researching what is called a ‘Single Mother by Choice.’ Although I kind of hate that term because I am not choosing to be single, it’s just the cards I have been dealt. I spent hours googling, and I had a hard time finding the information I sought. I wanted to read real first-person stories and day-to-day life experiences. I wanted to find something I could connect with and that would inspire me to believe I could do this.
I got to the point where I wasn’t sleeping at night because my mind was constantly racing with questions. ‘Can I really do this?’ ‘What will people think?’ ‘How will this affect my future child’s life?’ ‘Am I ready to give up on my fairytale ending?’ I was becoming mentally exhausted.
The one thing that calmed my mind was writing. I started writing about my doubts and concerns and all of the emotions I was feeling. And as this outlet started to make me see clearer I thought, ‘If my writing is helping me, maybe it can help other women like me.’ And so, I started my blog Once Upon a Bebe with the hope of letting other women like me see that it’s okay to write your own fairytale.
A month later, I created an Instagram account to help share my story. Within a month, I had 1,000 followers of women just like me. Whether they were in the thinking phase, actively trying to become a single mom by choice, or already a loving mother, I realized I was building a community. I started receiving messages from women saying they had been looking for something like my blog for so long and they loved what I was doing.
It’s been pretty amazing to connect with women and see that I am not alone. And it has also built confidence around my decision. It has been six months since I started this journey, and while I am not pregnant yet, I am hoping that it will happen soon and I can continue to share my story with women like me.
This path to motherhood was never what I envisioned for myself. I have had so many doubts and questions along the way, but when it comes down to it, I know I would regret living a lifetime without being a mother. ”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nicole from Once Upon A Bebe. You can follow her journey on her Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories about single mothers by choice:
‘At 18, I nonchalantly said to my friend over dinner, ‘I could always have a baby on my OWN.’ I was unlucky in love. Months before graduation, I committed.’: Single mom by choice says ‘this is the best decision I ever made’
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