I've been reading a great book lately called "knock yourself up" (check out reviews on Amazon and Chapters sites). Those who know me and live nearby are welcome to borrow it once I'm done.
Anyway, onto the book and why it’s relevant here. I'm more than halfway through now and its a very interesting read. The author interviewed many different women of all different ages, races, sexual orientations and backgrounds who are or are trying to become "Single Mothers by Choice" (SMbC). She drew out comments, thoughts, feelings and facts on many different subjects about the decision and the process. While reading what I have so far, its had me thinking about where I was/am in the process and how I got to where I am now. I've discussed parts of this with friends and family, but I'm not sure anyone has the complete picture.
So how did I decide to become a SMbC? It wasn't an overnight decision, it was definitely a journey. I've always known that I've wanted to have children. I've always wanted to be a mother, to give birth. When I was a teenager, I know that on more than one occasion, I considered taking the "easy path" to do this and have unprotected sex and hope for the best. I might have even done this if I hadn’t considered the ummmm, method so, ummm, unappealing. So that didn’t happen. That’s mostly a good thing.
Fast forward a bit until after University. I kept up the eternal quest to meet the right person, settle down and start a family. But how do you bring up the subject of children on the first date without the other person running screaming? How long do you date before you start to try to have children? I had dry spells in dating. I dated some people who expressed a desire to have kids ‘someday’ and some who never wanted children but those relationships didn’t work out (not for the kid reason, but it was always there in the background). For a while, I dated someone with a young child from an earlier marriage. It wasn’t the right relationship. I wanted to be a mom, not a step or third parent. But the little girl already had two parents and I was not even given status as a baby sitter. In the end, I was wanted only for my ability to provide financially and we parted ways. I will admit to a couple of one night (week) stands where getting pregnant wasn’t the goal at all, but that when it came time for my next period, I found myself hoping it was late.
Like many other women in my situation. I also looked to co-parenting. The first approach in this area ended when we discovered that both of us wanted to be the custodial parent. He and his partner found what they wanted in a surrogate and their daughter is now 10.
The next approach was with another very good friend. He didn’t want to be a custodial parent but he was adamant about being present and active in the child’s life. He wanted to be able to see him/her during the week, be the default ‘babysitter’, watch school plays etc. This suited both of us perfectly. I was also planning my move out west at this time. He was all over that and wanted to come this way too. I moved first. Then a close family member of his got sick and instead of moving west, he had to move further east. He is close to his family, I respect that. But of course that meant that he couldn’t be a present ‘dad’ and he couldn’t wrap himself around that. Plus, he’s African American (or Canadian) and we were both aware of the challenges of raising someone of a mix race without direct support of a parent of each race. I still think we’d have made very beautiful babies together.
For a while I was with a partner who wasn’t scared of the idea of having a child together. In fact, it went as far as an offer to be a stay at home and raise the child when mat leave was over and I went back to work (my income was about 4*s higher). But this was another person with close family ties who ended up moving back east to take care of a sibling having a hard time.
The rest of this tale is the part of the story of how I ended up going out of the country using anonymous donor egg and donor sperm. But that’s a tale for another time.
So, bottom line, I have no regrets at all about trying to become a single mother. My only regret is not taking more direct steps sooner. There are some things I can no longer control and many of the paths to motherhood are either more difficult or totally impossible for me now. My desire to have a child never wavered from the time I was 2, but I am a bit older and while some would say wiser, I would also say jaded.