How Did You Know?

I was one of those women who was 30 and wondering when/if I would ever find Mr. Right, and would just tell myself “Well, if I’m not married by 35, I can always have a baby on my own” — because I always wanted children!  But I was sure that was just an exercise to soothe myself, not my fate…. I dated a lot, so I was sure I’d be married by then.  Around 35 I was involved with someone I considered my soul mate, and we both thought we’d be married with kids, etc., but that fell apart (we were too toxic together for words).  I gave it some more thought, but wasn’t ready to give up on love/marriage, etc.  So I met another wonderful man and was happy and thought he might be the one…until we discussed marriage and kids in a very casual way and I learned he wasn’t sure he ever wanted either of those things with anyone.

After more discussion and six more months of trying to give him some time to figure out his mindset, I called him on it and he realized he just didn’t want those things.  So I made the hardest decision – – to walk away, even though we were happy together.  (We are still very good friends, and he is still single.) 

I did try to date a little bit after that, but by then I was 37 and really started to think about my life and what I wanted it to be. I realized I was looking to other people to make my dreams come true.  As independent as I am, I still wasn’t sure I wanted to be the “poster child” for this unconventional path, and really didn’t know if I wanted to deal with society’s disapproval (because some people DO disapprove of our choices). But I worked through my thoughts and realized I was stronger than that, and that I wasn’t going to let my dream of motherhood slip away simply because I was afraid – – and yes, I had to work through the fears of being solely financially responsible for another human being and wondering what it would be like to be exhausted or sick and have to put someone else’s needs before my own, given that I’d lived alone for the past 15 years.

I think the tipping point was finding out about Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) and reading the members’ stories and realizing I truly would NOT be the only person going down this path, and that made me feel much better.  Seeing that other women were doing it — and more important, doing it WELL and HAPPILY — made it concrete to me.

Even as you go down the trying to conceive (ttc) path, you still may wonder at times if you have what it takes to be an SMC.  I think that’s ok and natural.  When I was pregnant and extra tired and felt sick to my stomach, I would wonder how on earth I was ever going to be able to take care of a baby when I felt like I could barely take care of myself and my household.  A friend kept telling me that the exhaustion from pregnancy was different than the exhaustion that comes from caring for a newborn.  I actually tend to agree…. and you will not mind putting your baby’s needs before your own because that feeling of love is incredible and unlike anything you’ll ever feel for anyone else.

Jennifer W

One thought on “How Did You Know?”

  1. Thanks for this article Jennifer. You’re right – it’s reassuring to know you’re not alone.

    I’m 30 and a thinker. From 19 onwards, I had several relationships, all of which ended because I couldn’t see myself sharing a life long-term with any of the men I dated. Don’t get me wrong: they were all very nice men, but in each relationship, I knew at a soul level that it wouldn’t work out.

    Some might call me picky, but I’ve never been one for checklists. Must be… 6 feet tall, dark hair, blue eyes, handsome, good teeth, etc., etc. Ha-ha, no way! It’s more the personality and spiritual “click” that I haven’t been lucky enough to find. Some people do find that connection young and go on to have children… but what about us women who don’t?

    I was straight up with the last guy I dated and told him that I want to become pregnant very soon. He is in his early 40s, divorced, and already has two pre-teen boys. He took my comment very well, but then started to say things like, “I need to build the foundations of the house before I put on the roof” (points given for creative metaphor) and “I’ll know in a couple of years if I want children with you.” I decided life is too short to waste on trying to persuade someone who doesn’t want to be persuaded. So, we stopped dating.

    I’m now on the cusp of the TTC process. I’ve joined a donor website and met with two possible donors. One was very dodgy – lied about his age and was not the person in the photo he emailed me (he unconvincingly tried to claim he accidentally uploaded a photo of his brother). The other is wonderful and so far feels intuitively right. I am meeting another man in early February. I hope to start AI in late February.

    It is a very scary, exciting decision, but I believe it’s the right one. Unlike the stereotypes of single women and single women with children suggest, I’m not man-hating, selfish, career driven, etc. I’ve loved and cared for many people in my life, both men and women, I work in the social services sector with people who have health, disability and mental health issues, and although I love my job, it’s not all-consuming. I want to be a mother, not to have it all and tick off a goal on a bucket list, but because my soul tells me it’s right.

    So, to all SMC and SMC to-be: Listen to your soul.

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