Guest post by Shelby
There comes a time in everyone’s life when we look back and wonder what we’ve done (and haven’t done) and where we are going. That happened to me when I was about thirty-five years old. Prior to that, I thought I had my life figured out.
When I was twenty-nine, I moved to a new state for the man I thought I was going to marry. We had dated for two years prior to moving, but a year after moving, our relationship hit a big bump, and sadly (very sadly) we went our separate ways.
After I healed from the devastating break up and tried to pull myself back together, I decided to start dating again. I kind of found myself dating for the purpose of procreating. Of course I wanted more than children when looking for the right-man-for-me, but if a guy I was dating didn’t want kids, then that was a deal breaker for me.
I didn’t want to date him in hopes of changing his mind. He either wanted kids or he didn’t. Despite joining the craziness of the online dating world, that right-man-for-me just hadn’t shown up, and it seemed like the dating pool was getting smaller and smaller as I was getting older and older. All the while, my biological clock was ticking loudly and quickly. It was hurting my ears so much that I knew I had to do something about it.
While dating, I felt like I was in an abyss date after date after date. With a little introspection, I realized that at that moment, I wanted a baby more than I wanted a husband. It’s not that I didn’t want a husband because I really did (and still do), but my heart was yearning for a baby more, possibly because of that darn clock. I’ve known that I wanted to be a mom ever since I was six years old when I was a mother’s helper for a neighbor.
I earned fifty cents an hour helping with a baby and toddler. I was destined to be a mom, which was evident with my obsession for babysitting the neighborhood kids up until I graduated from high school. I knew those kids inside and out as if they were my own. Being a mom just came naturally for me. Being a mom was never an option, it was a given.
People around me were married and having kids, and I felt this hole in my soul. I felt unlucky in love and life, but I was determined to fix that. I researched having kids on my own, and I learned that there was a term called Single Mothers by Choice (SMC). I was happy to learn that I was definitely not alone in wanting to take this journey to single motherhood. I was thrilled and relieved to learn that there are plenty of others like me in the world! Many have similar stories like mine while others have other reasons for wanting to be a SMC. I did a lot of soul searching for a couple of years before really taking the plunge to become a SMC.
I quickly began to wrap my head around the idea of having a baby on my own and wondered if I could financially, emotionally, and logistically be a single mom from the get go who is solely responsible for a child with no family in the same state. I needed to know that I was strong enough to be a SMC. While I’ve always known I am a strong woman, being a mom, and especially a SMC is an entirely different kind of “strong”.
My biggest concern with being a SMC was financial. I really looked at my monthly paycheck and broke it down to see if there was room for another human being. Daycare is the biggest expense, so I called around to get an idea of what this monthly expense would be. It was at that moment, that I opened a separate savings account just for daycare and began contributing to it monthly while still contributing to my retirement, paying my mortgage, and paying my credit card bill off each month. I was fortunate that by the time my baby started daycare, I had saved fifteen months of tuition. I’ve always had a cushion for daycare; otherwise, I’m not so I could have done this because I refuse to have any debt.
Then one morning, I was ready to take the leap of faith. I made an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist to discuss my options to conceive, my chances of conceiving, etc. While at thirty-seven my chances weren’t great, I needed to try anyway. I had a “Pick my Baby’s Daddy” party with a couple of close friends and my sister via Skype. While drinking wine and eating chocolate cake, we viewed profile after profile of sperm donors. We found ourselves laughing at times because we had to remind ourselves that we weren’t looking for a man for me to date/marry; instead, we were just looking for some good, quality sperm to knock me up.
It took eight Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) to get pregnant. Cycle after cycle I was so disappointed, sad, angry, and frustrated that I finally decided the eighth one would be my last before I moved on to adoption. I was done because I couldn’t take it anymore physically or emotionally. I had my eighth and final IUI the day after I ran a half marathon.
I remember begging my eggs at various times during the race to not pop out until the next morning when I was scheduled to have my last IUI. I remember running that race thinking that the next day could be better than crossing the finish line because it would hopefully be the day I conceived my child. Lucky number eight worked. I officially learned I was pregnant three days before I turned thirty-eight, and I was blessed with an beautiful boy in July of 2012.
I never knew love until my son was placed on my chest after a grueling two and a half hours of pushing. He looked up at me as if he was searching for this woman whose voice he heard for so many months and who he would one day call “mommy”. How could I love someone so much and so quickly? I never knew how much he would instantly fill that hole in my soul. I never knew just how much I was missing in my life until my son was born.
About the writer:
Shelby is a single mother by choice (SMC) to a 3 1/2 year old boy. She is an account executive for a large company. She enjoys hiking and having dance parties with her son, reading when she won’t actually fall asleep doing so, and running when she can fit it in to her busy day. You can check out her blog, “Going Solo with my Sidekick“.