|The internet definition of a family is as follows: Noun – A group consisting of parents and children living together in a household
Right now, as of June 21st, for me, that household consists of my father, Edward and me, Nicole. I’m a 32-year-old female who has a great job that I love, friends whom I cherish more each day and an extended family that makes me laugh on a regular basis. In a nutshell, I am blessed.
I have some people missing from my life though – people whose absence I feel daily. I’m missing a husband and the pitter-patter of little feet. Now don’t get me wrong or feel too sorry for me, I have been fortunate to have some great boyfriends in my past. Men who loved me and whom I loved. Men who were great role-models and who would have made wonderful husbands and fathers had the timing been right. But it wasn’t, the timing and the situations were wrong and my relationships ended. I can’t do anything about that. I have dated and will continue to date in the search of someone who makes my heart skip a beat again, but I can’t just make them appear. I can’t wish someone out of thin air (though seriously how amazing would that be?). So what does that mean? Does that mean I don’t get children? I don’t get to be pregnant, to be a mother, to experience a baby inside of me and raise that child through the good times and bad? That doesn’t really seem fair. Does it?
Well, I didn’t think so. About 8 months ago I started thinking about the possibility of being a single mother – by choice. Of using sperm donation (Artificial Insemination) to become a mom. My first thought wasn’t what people would think, I really couldn’t care less what absolute strangers think of me. My concern was, do children suffer in any way from not having a father? My second concern was what my father would say and do? I’ve spent the past three years taking care of him, it being just the two of us. I have given up the “hard-core” dating scene of clubbing and bar hopping (willingly) in order to make both our lives easier. But would I have to give up my dreams of being a mommy in order to keep him happy? I was not concerned financially – I am debt free, make good money and while I spend it foolishly, I can be responsible when I need to be – when I want to be. I certainly wasn’t worried about what being a mom would do to my dating life, if a man can’t handle a child in his life, he can’t handle me. The good thing would be that any future man in my life wouldn’t have a biological father to deal with. He would be the only father-figure my child would have.
So I started thinking more and more. I went to my doctor first. Because I take Ciprolex for anxiety I was concerned for the baby’s health. I was referred to Mothers Risk at Sick Kids Hospital and the doctor there reassured me that not only could I have a perfectly healthy child, but that the chance of birth defects for babies whose moms are on Ciprolex do not rise at all. This made me happy! Very, very happy.
Next I wanted to do my research, I spent a lot of time on Google (it really is your best friend when you need answers). I found an amazing website www.singlemothersbychoice.org. I bought a book, written by the founder of this organization, Jane Mattes and read it in about three days. I bought What to Expect when Expecting and am going through the first few chapters now. I was becoming more and more confidant in my decision.
I talked to my girlfriends – the closest of them being my sister-in-law Tammy and my girlfriends Kris, Agnes, Kim, Erin, Nancy and Rochelle. I talked to a few other friends too and the overwhelming response was positive. They had questions and I gave them answers. Some friends urged me to wait, that my man could be around the corner and not want to deal with a pregnant woman; they didn’t understand that would not be a reason for me giving up this chance.
I went to my doctor again and that is when I got hit with my only speed bump (or a brick wall if I am describing the feeling). She, as a Jewish doctor, did not believe it was acceptable or responsible for a single woman to choose to get pregnant through AI and have children.
DID I HEAR YOU RIGHT?
I know, when I talked to my girlfriends, they wanted and encouraged me to go to the Physicians board of Ontario and demand her license be revoked. I agreed that she had NO right to have her personal opinion affect my life, but really – what would that do? I’d still be without support from a practitioner and the fertility clinic I wanted to attend required a referral.
At this point, I didn’t give up, I couldn’t. I have felt this was the right decision for me for a long time. I continued my research, even having lunch with a 22-year old woman whose mother conceived her through AI. She is a delightful, smart, beautiful girl who seems to have no issues with her mom being a SMC. In fact the way she put it to me was like this:
“I don’t have a dad, some of my friends don’t have dads, the difference is, I was never abandoned. My mom wanted me so badly she did everything in her power to get me. I don’t have the issues my friends do with feeling like I wasn’t good enough for the second parent to stick around.”
What a great kid right? She made me more determined than ever. I contacted the fertility clinic right away and the lady there advised me any physician could do the referral and I could go to a walk-in. I immediately thought of Rochelle, who when not on maternity leave, works at a walk-in clinic and always talks highly of her doctors. She contacted her doctor, I got an appointment and three weeks later I had a signed referral letter faxed to the clinic!
Now I had to tell my dad.
**insert Jaws theme song here**
One Friday I pulled on my big girl pants and came out and told my dad what I wanted, why I wanted it and exactly what my plan was. After talking I prepared for the worst. I had all my comeback lines ready. Instead I saw a grown man humble himself, he had tears in his eyes and a smile so big I was speechless for a second (I’m never really speechless, nothing actually shocks me). My father, the most traditional man I know, was happy – ecstatic actually. I had given him a new reason to live. He started making plans with me! He fully supported me. Being his only daughter and the one who had done everything for him for the past three years, I wasn’t actually surprised. We have a bond. A bond that is unbreakable. I love my father more than words can express and his supporting my untraditional approach to motherhood is heart-warming.
I know my decision is not going to be popular amongst strangers, and not even amongst all of my friends and co-workers. However those who love me most love me and support me, know that I am making the right decision for me and the right decision for any baby that I am fortunate enough to deliver.
Please join me, join me in the ups and the downs. The highs will be extremely high, the lows I am sure will be painful, but through it all, I will document this journey, for me, for you, for single mothers by choice and for my child. The child that I will pray God brings into my life as soon as possible.