I thought this would be a good follow-up piece to my previous post about the reactions I have received so far from family and friends regarding my decision about becoming a single mother by choice. It’s a great article on Scary Mommy written by a fellow SMC. I’m glad I haven’t yet had anyone tell me that my future child will be doomed to be a stripper!
It was over special fried rice and Shanghai noodles a couple of weeks ago when I finally discussed with my mom the reality of my decision of becoming a mother on my own; some particulars on the process with the fertility clinic. We were talking on the phone the night before and she was excitedly gushing over the latest photos of the first baby in our immediate family, my niece. She religiously checks the website where my brother and sister-in-law post the photos the moment she wakes up in the morning and before she goes to bed at night. I admit – I do check daily too…seeing her brings a smile to my face each and every time.
Anyway, she pointed out how happy my brother and sister-in-law look and how much they must be enjoying new parenthood. She then gave me her blessing on my choice to pursue single motherhood. My happiness was instant. She even mentioned that she had talked about this with my aunt. To me, this translated into the significance of her being okay enough with my decision that she was even comfortable sharing it with someone else.
As for the rest of my immediate family, other than one extremely lengthy email that initially turned me into a puddle of tears with its appearance as an authoritative scare tactic which I have now chosen to trust was written with good intention and love; my siblings are pretty much avoiding the topic altogether. This is probably for the best as I don’t wish to strain our relationships and cause tense disagreements right now. It will only cause me stress and anger, emotions I do not wish to invite into my life right now. I am not planning on telling my dad anything at this point.
As for friends…I have to admit that I am avoiding a number of them because I dread telling them about my decision. Even my best friend. Who is due with her first child very soon. I know that the conversation will not affect our relationship (or at least I don’t think so…), but even though we have a long and relatively close friendship despite not living in the same city, my worries exist because of her religious and cultural beliefs. I know that to this day, I still have not lived up to her fairy tale life that she has envisioned for me over the last 20 years. I have never dared to tarnish her impermeable innocence with the sordid details of my dating life but she should have an idea at the very least of who I am. I know I will have to tell her eventually but at this point, I do not want to risk spoiling the first moments of her own motherhood journey.
One friend I told never replied back to my text.
Another one diplomatically just listened to me, without ever stating her opinion, and only commented that she has never known anyone else to do this.
The only other friend I have discussed this with was filled to the brim with sympathy for my situation and even said that hearing about all the things that I deal with always helps her feel less depressed about her life. Huh. And then wide-eyed, eager and curious, she soaked up every detail of the process thus far. The number one being how to choose a sperm donor, of course. Even my mom had asked me how I would be getting the…ummm…”stuff.”
Fortunately, I also have one wise older friend in her 60s who has always been like another mother to me. She has always been a champion (the only loyal one) of my relationship with S and she was the first one to tell me to pursue single motherhood. She was the one I sobbed to after I realized S was not going to father my child. In those early heated moments when I was considering natural insemination by strangers through co-parenting sites, she was the one who talked me down and pointed out that S is a traditional sort of man who would undoubtedly have his heart destroyed if I slept with another man. She was adamant that I find a sperm donor through official channels. Am I ever glad that she had talked some sense into me. If not, I am certain that any chance of my relationship with S continuing on would indeed be non-existent.
I am aware that I cannot go on continuing to avoid my friends so that I don’t need to talk about this. And if they are indeed my true friends, they will in the end want happiness for me and so would support my decision. I am going to be selective about which friends I will be telling, as well as which stage I will be doing it at. My current priority is to be as calm and positive as I can be for this journey as I want to be creating a healthy emotional, as well as physical, home in my body for a baby. In the meantime, I will surround myself with people who want to share in this unique and special journey with me and I hope that understanding will eventually reach those who don’t. I will focus on those I am so incredibly fortunate to have in my life right now.
I know it really shouldn’t matter what others think of personal decisions but it does really mean something when loved ones are on board with your choices. Especially moms. I was thinking I should share with her at some point that maybe a huge part of why I desire a baby so much, regardless of all of the struggles in the process, is maybe because I want to have a relationship like what we have had with my own child. I want to be able to unconditionally love a child and share the journey of entering and exploring each and every part of life with him/her. I want to pass on all of the good parts of me I have gotten from her onto her grandchild; the continuation of her beautiful love to future generations.
Through my humanitarian work, I have the opportunity to meet incredibly strong, resilient and amazing people. I am fortunate to have them share their life stories with me and I love what I do with a passion. It also keeps my feet on the ground and expands my views on life and what community really means.
On the flip side, I admit that I struggle to maintain an aura of strength and hope when I am painted a picture of what human beings are capable of doing to one another and the horrors that exist around the world. I don’t know if I will ever get used to hearing stories of brutality that is unimaginable and the terror and trauma that goes along with it. My heart shatters whenever there are children involved. I have the utmost admiration for those who persevere through it all and try to create a new life for themselves and their families, despite the pain they have suffered through.
Reflecting on this today, I feel ever so grateful for everything in my life. Despite my own hardships, I am so fortunate to be where I am today. I live in a country with freedom and democracy, a clean and healthy environment, and is home to all different kinds of citizens, regardless of background, culture, religion or sexuality. I have a house over my head with clean running water, a toilet, heat and electricity. I am able to stay hydrated and nourished. I have a bed to sleep in at night; clean clothes, shoes.
I can live my life without persistent fear of violence or persecution towards myself or my loved ones. I am comforted by the fact that the people I care about are happy, healthy and safe. I know where they are. I am not alone; I have loving family and friends who are there for me when I need them. I do not have restraints around where I go, who I see. When I am hurt or ill, I have doctors, medication, healthcare; immunizations to protect me from disease. When I am outside, I have the luxury of being able to look up at the sky, soak in the sunshine, and just be.
I admit, I am a bit superstitious at times. I do believe that there are things that exist in this universe that cannot be explained by science or religion. I sometimes even have premonition dreams. Not regularly, but it does happen. For instance, I knew that I was going to get this particular job that I had desperately wanted. I dreamt right before S and I shared our first kiss; before he first professed his love for me. Despite my brother’s dream of his first child being a boy, I, on the other hand, dreamt of being with my niece. Unfortunately, they are not always pleasant dreams. When S’s father was in the hospital, I also dreamt that he would not make it.
Occasionally, out of curiosity and also shamefully seeking some silly form of guidance (although many times it has proven to be quite accurate in representing my true emotions!), I will check out symbols that I recall from my dream the night before. The two things that stuck out from my dream last night were the raw chicken that my friend and I were barbequing and the other was the basketball that flew into the backyard of my childhood home. According to “Dream Moods” dictionary:
To see raw meat in your dream represents obstacles and discouragements that you will come across as you move toward achieving your goals. Alternatively, it may reflect your untamed, animalistic nature and raw emotions. To eat or cook meat in your dream suggests that you are getting to the heart of the matter. You are recognizing and utilizing your instinctual energies. Alternatively, you are seeing others achieve what you are still striving for.
To see a basketball in your dream suggests that you need to make the first move. You also need to concentrate and focus on your goals.
Now I am going to go back to how I have been feeling for the last day or two…My day yesterday started off with a call from the fertility clinic that my doctor had referred me to. I did not expect to hear from them so soon. It has only a couple of weeks since I informed my doctor of my decision, but I know that he likely relayed to them the urgency of my situation. The lady told me that they were missing my partner’s information from the referral form. I paused for a beat and stumblingly uttered the words, “There won’t be a partner. I am doing this on my own.”
It was said out loud and it was okay. She thought nothing of it and then asked me if I would like to go to their office in Vancouver for my consultation or if I would like to pay $200 and do it over the phone. My doctor had already informed me of the price so I went with the latter. The soonest she could book me for was mid-April. She then asked for my email and I promptly received my login information for the clinic’s patient portal. I have to say I am impressed so far. The website is very professional and comprehensive. I’m not sure if the majority of fertility clinics have this but it seems like it is an efficient way for information to be updated between the clinic and patient and I also really liked how there was plenty of useful information, even a comprehensive glossary of fertility-related terms (phew!!) and articles on fertility that were incredibly helpful for a newbie like me. It then hit me. This is real and this is really happening. Their new office opens here in June so I am assuming that my first IUI treatment would occur shortly after that.
I also saw S briefly yesterday. It has been kind of strange being in this pseudo-relationship where I am planning a pregnancy without him. Over the last couple of weeks or so, we have been talking more again. After I had made my decision, I chose to back away for a bit. I originally had made the assumption that since we were not going to have a baby together, then that also meant that our relationship was dissolved. But after seeking the advice of my best male friend, he suggested that I give S the choice on whether or not he wanted to stay in my life. After all, we still love each other. Well it looks to be that our story isn’t over yet. After everything we have been through over the past three years, we somehow manage to still hang on.
I just don’t know how much of this personal journey I should be sharing with him. I did update him yesterday on what is happening with the clinic. He did attempt to revisit the topic of why he wasn’t ready. But as with many of our conversations, he had difficulty expressing and communicating his feelings and simply ended it by telling me that no one, including me, understands him. Once again, I told him that it is what it is and this is what is happening. That it is okay to feel the way he does.
Later into the night, I began thinking about why I am doing this. What if S changes his mind before June? Would I stray from this road I have already embarked on? I have always lived my life by following my heart. In the silence, if I were to truly listen to what I need to do, it is this. Yes, it is probably not what the typical couple does. This is not what is supposed to happen in a love story.
Even though S does not feel I understand his reasons for not being ready for a child right now, I do believe that it comes down to differing views family. Maybe growing up with an abusive father is why I always feel so strongly about living my life the way I want to and being free to make my own decisions regardless of the opinions of others, even family.
S, on the other hand, places much more value on the the opinions of his family (i.e., mother). He had said in the past that because his family all immigrated together here as a unit, they are incredibly close as a family. One of the reasons why I fell in love with him at the beginning was that I thought it was sweet and thoughtful how much he was there for his family. It wasn’t a year into our union that I realized that maybe it wasn’t normal for his mother to call him first thing each morning and for them to talk on the phone several times a day. Or that spending time with his family actually meant him lugging over his toolbox to fix something, to drive his young sisters to their swimming or gymnastics lessons, or to do whatever else his mother needed…on a regular basis. I fell in love with a man who was too kindhearted for his own good.
It should not be surprising to anyone to learn that the issues in our relationship all stem from the involvement of his mother. It has taken me two and a half years, multiple sessions with my therapist, a high dose of anti-depressants, and seeking inner peace through Buddhism, that I have learned to deal with this force of nature.
He has stated “current circumstances” as the reasoning behind his stance on parenthood. I have told him that it will never change. I hope that like me, he will eventually realize that you cannot always make everyone around you happy. I now know that no matter what either of us say or do, his mother will never like me or approve of our relationship.
Witnessing the suffering and anguish she radiates around those in her life, as well as experiencing it first-hand myself, I feel that it is best to protect my child-to-be from this kind of environment. It is very sad to admit but there is a part of me that is glad to finally be away from the negative energy and knowing that I would not be passing those seeds to my baby. I made this confession to my therapist and she explained it as since his mother “owns” him, she would also feel and act like she has ownership over our baby. I want my baby to grow up in a safe, healthy and loving environment, surrounded by family and friends who would support him/her no matter what.
I will listen to my dream. I will concentrate and focus on my goals.
One more thing accomplished…day 3 FSH level blood test – check! Now hopefully the results will be okay…
Prior to this, it was quite the day…
I have been off of birth control since the beginning of the year when S and I were supposed to start trying for a baby. I was happy to be off the hormones as I figured my body needed a break from them after over 15 years of it. After finding out that I would now be doing this on my own without S, I continued staying off the bc so that my body would be baby-ready even though IUI wouldn’t likely happen for another 4 months or so. I held out (barely) for the day 3 blood test but now it looks like I will need to go back on the hormones because of the cursed countless number of fibroids and thalassemia (which in case you don’t know, is not as pretty as the name may sound. It is a genetic blood disorder that causes chronic anemia. And of course, I ended up having one of the more severe types).
Being off the bc, my periods have been more regular but have been more of a bloodbath than usual. Well it started a couple of days ago and I ended up hemorrhaging while I was at work. They ended up calling an ambulance and the school I was in was put on alert while all of this was happening (poor kids!). It was absolutely mortifying. The bathroom, my black pants (staple of my everyday wardrobe), shirt and even boots looked like props in a horror movie. At least the majority of my coworkers are women, which helps. They hooked me up to the IV and eventually after finding a match, I received a blood transfusion of a couple of units.
Unfortunately, this blood came in one way and promptly out another but I am still standing. Pale and frail as a ghost, shaky and out of breath with the slightest of movements, but I am here.
I am hoping that going back on the bc and continuing with the max doses of tranexamic acid and Advil will prevent this from happening again. But I know that with the combination of these two serious conditions, it will be a fine balance between trying to create life while trying to keep mine going at a safe level. My doctor has warned me that if I do get conceive, it will be a high-risk pregnancy and that he will have to “monitor me like a hawk.”
My mom had a hysterectomy at my age but this was after bearing three children. My doctor and I have tried everything under the sun over the last decade, including every kind of bc, Lupron, Fibristal and two hysteroscopies. He is adamant that the only treatment left for the fibroids is to have the same fate as my mom.
But I refuse to give up. I will continue pushing on in my lightheaded, lethargic haze with the hope that one day you will be here and know that this is how much I wanted you.
I would like to create a blogroll of choice moms (or moms to-be) all around the globe. So if you are interested in representing your country/city with your blog, please let me know! Thanks everyone!
Wishing all of you beautiful and amazing ladies a Happy International Women’s Day! 🙂
It was official. I have taken the leap and told my OB-GYN that I would like to attempt pregnancy on my own. A felt like a huge weight was lifted after I told him. I guess I had expected the usual disappointment and looks of pity I have been receiving from family members and some friends after I shared my recent plan with them but my doctor was extremely supportive and gave me reassurance that I was doing the right thing. Over several years of seeing him, this was one of the most positive appointments I have had.
Being the wonderful and efficient doctor he is, he went right into discussing the different alternatives and worked out a plan with me. It seems to be a bit of kismet that a new local fertility clinic will be opening up soon and a referral was to be made there to have IUI done. He assured me that he knew the people there well and how great they were. I should be hearing from them sometime over the next month to start off with a telephone consultation.
A tiny seed of excitement has now been planted.
I am 35 years old, Chinese/Canadian, and find myself to be in the unique, yet ever-growing, group of women attempting to become single mothers by choice.
To my family’s dismay, I have always been the black sheep out of the bunch. Rather than choosing a well-paid career path that is respected within our culture, I decided to pursue education and eventually followed my heart into social/humanitarian work.
At quite a young age, I also decided to move out into my own little place *gasp*…before getting married (to a nice and wealthy Chinese man of course).
I still have never been married. Nor have I ever had a desire to. After the demise of one long-term relationship, I decided that I just wanted to enjoy dating. I had the opportunity to meet a variety of interesting men…well some more than others. And while it seemed everyone around me was settling down with their fairy tale weddings and I was one of the last few standing, I still did not experience the yearning for marriage and the status quo. I was having a great time; my coupled friends living vicariously through me.
Several years ago, I met a wonderful man and I entered into my first adult, mature relationship. It was a passionate, tumultuous love affair; on par with the great love stories in film and literature. But of course, like in these stories, there were challenges that we were not always able to conquer. Add in depression. Sprinkle in a few separations. Mix in therapy. Throw in some cultural differences and crippling family dysfunction and blend.
Despite all that and the scars of the battles, we continued to love each other. We recently decided to take the leap into cohabitation. Unfortunately it was short-lived. Because of debilitating medical issues and my ticking biological clock, I was told by my OB-GYN that we could no longer keep waiting. It was time to try for pregnancy.
I was ready…he was not. It was a very difficult decision, choosing my desire for a baby over a relationship with the kindest, most loving and beautiful man I have ever met. But my longings of finally becoming a mother were undeniable.
Needless to say, my family is not exactly jumping for joy at my latest decision.
But here I am…the beginnings of my new adventure towards becoming a single mother by choice.