Single and longing to be a mom
As a fertility counsellor, I see many women in their mid-30s to mid-40s wanting to become mothers. The first emotional challenge many of these women face is giving up the dream of having a child in a relationship. I often listen to women talk about how they’ve always wanted to be a mother but never thought they would have to do it on their own.
Although not easy, once you mourn the dream of conceiving a child in a relationship, it leaves you open to imagine another dream.
Many of the women I see in my practice are professionally successful and financially independent, with a strong support system that includes family and friends. When you are ready to accept that your path to motherhood will be different than what you anticipated or planned, this will often be followed by the realization that becoming a single mother by choice can be an empowering and exciting journey. After all, you have all of the skills to make it happen.
1. Get a referral to a fertility specialist
A medical assessment and consultation with your physician will give you a good idea of which fertility treatment is best suited to your particular needs.
2. Pick a donor
This process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. First, you’ll want to decide whether to use a known or anonymous donor. Consider your access to a known donor. Do you have any friends or acquaintances who you’d feel comfortable asking and who would consider donating their sperm? List the pros and cons of using a known versus anonymous donor. A fertility counsellor can be helpful in this process.
If you choose to go the anonymous route, get referrals from your clinic or physician to reputable sperm banks. Listing the traits you are looking for in a donor is often helpful. It’s sometimes more enjoyable to do it with a close friend over a glass of wine. Try to have fun with it.
Remember when choosing a donor to focus on nature, not nurture, unless he is a known donor and will have a relationship with you and your child. Things like his favourite movies and political affiliations are somewhat irrelevant. Focus instead on his physical characteristics, age, medical history and perhaps education.
3. Create your village
Remember the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Speak with family and friends about who will be available to support you through the pregnancy? Who will be able to help with child care? You might be surprised by how willing and excited your family and friends are to take part in your journey.
4. Prepare financially
Consider how maternity leave will affect your finances. Plan for the first year. Family and friends are often happy to help with gifts of new and gently used necessities, such as a stroller, a crib and baby clothes.
Most importantly, have faith in yourself. All new adventures can be scary, but remember that you are making your dream of motherhood a reality. Sure, you will face challenges, but you will also enjoy the benefits and great rewards. For example, the absence of parenting arguments and meddling in-laws can reduce a lot of the stress that new parents often experience. Becoming a mother on your own allows you to parent on your own terms and to feel good that you made your dream of being a mom come true.