Testing The Waters

 My mother and I just finished a phone conversation about my plans for the upcoming weekend. We discussed how the guy I’m currently casually dating is not coming to visit (he lives 2.5 hours away) because he has to work tomorrow. In the past month, he and I have backed off a bit, mainly because I’m busy, he’s busy, and yeah, it’s long distance. I really like him and could see myself marrying/having kids with him, but he’s older and already has two teenagers (ages 15 and 13). He has a lot of drama in his life unrelated to me, and while he says he wants to eventually get married and have more kids, part of me doesn’t believe him. The two he has are close to 18, and he’ll then be done paying formal child support. Part of me thinks he’s just telling me he wants more kids because that’s what I’ve said I wanted. If I already had a child, who knows how that would change things?

So during our phone call, my mother makes the statement that “You should stay single for as long as you can. Being married and living with a man is hard work. Don’t  jump into it just to have a baby.” Great advice. All true. I’m happily single. Yes, I would love to have a companion to share things with and go out to dinner every now and then, but I’m GOOD by myself. What I’m not happy about is having my fertility melt away while on this elusive search for “The Holy Grail of Men.”

After she said that, I thought I’d test the waters and float the idea of trying to conceive (ttc) on my own so I said, “Well mom, I’ve thought about having a baby on my own as I get closer to 35. I think I would be okay doing it without a husband.”

Her response? “Oooo you don’t want to do that. It’s hard being a single mother.”

Back story: My mom was a single mom for awhile. I have a half-brother and for the first 4 years of his life, she took care of him without child support and without his dad being around. She really only had the support of my great-grandmother until my parents got married. And a few other relatives also have gotten pregnant “accidentally” by now-ex-boyfriends, and they’ve struggled. So she has a point. But they’re not me.

So to counter, I said, “But mom, I’m stable and if I choose to do this, I could do it on my own.”

She responded, “Well, keep thinking on it, and when you get the urge to have a baby, go borrow Friend X’s child and see how you like it.”

So that was me testing the waters. Probably not the best conversation. And I probably could have handled the last statement better. I just let the topic drop and didn’t reply. I think in the future, I’m going to have to get my thoughts/viewpoints outlined and have a more formal This Is What I’m Doing conversation. I definitely have to explain that “doing it on my own” doesn’t mean getting pregnant through some one-night stand, but that it would be a purposeful choice assisted by my doctor and an anonymous donor. But she knows I want kids, and at least now she knows I’m not depending on a relationship (particularly the current, not-that-satisfying one I’m in) to make it happen. It was a good start.



9 thoughts on “Testing The Waters”

  1. I’m in a similar situation. I’ll be 40 in Nov and my boyfriend is 42. He’s divorced and has 2 kids. When we first stared dating I asked if he wanted to have 1 more kid and if he’d get married again he said yes. After being together for 2.5 years he has changed his mind totally. I’m at upset and can’t believe I’m faced with the decision of walking away from this now 3 year relationship and becoming a single mom. I’ve accepted the reality and I’m ready to move on with my life. I have a huge support system in place and I know I’ll be just fine with the help of my village.

    Thanks for sharing your story as it is good to know I’m not alone in thinking about becoming a single mom by choice.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I am seriously considering my options. I am 40 going on 41 by the end of this year, and am thinking it’s time I start seriously considering my option of being a single mother by choice. I feel this was a clear sign for me, being that we have the same name… Michelle. Best wishes with you decisions.

  3. When I turned 35 my ob/gyn had that nows-the-time conversation with me. I thought about it and discussed with my Mom and brothers. They were all very supportive. I tried for a year to get pregant on my own, and finally decieded after a miscarriage that adoption was a better choice. I am 41, and my son is 2. I counldn’t be happier and he is just the best thing I have thought about doing. As for my family-they are thrilled! I say look at it from all angles and if you can, your willing, then go for it. Its the best thing I ever did. Its hard, sometimes exhausting but worth every single minute!

  4. My folks were initially negative too, worried about the stress on me, worried about the child not having a father, worried about a potentially failed adoption, worried about how s/he would feel being in a transracial family, worried about how s/he would feel having been adopted, worried about birth parents, and etc. You get the picture. Fast forward 10.5 years, and my daughter is the light of their lives, we see them 5-6 days a week, and E is happy, well adjusted and confident. And I don’t regret a single minute. Neither do they, and neither does E.

  5. I just revisited this conversation with my parents. I have been “thinking” about it for over 7 years. I’m finally in a place job wise/financially (aka: I’ve finally gotten out of school loan debt!) that I can give it serious consideration. My Mom, bless her, gave her typical “I’m concerned, but we’ll always support you” backing. Dear old Dad was a bit more blunt. He flat out doesn’t agree with this, firmly believes it takes a team effort (ie: Mom and Dad) to raise kids. And in away, I agree with him. I’d love to have done this the traditional way: husband, kids, the works. But Prince Charming has yet to show up on the radar, and at 42, I am seriously running out of time to do this.
    I have to admit, I’m scared to do this without his blessing. I’m not worried about him turning his back on me, neither of them would ever do that. It’s more of not wanting to disappoint him…or either of them!!

  6. I made that decision 30 years ago this month and looking back it was one on the hardest and most rewarding decisions of my life. i have no regrets, and i am proud of that young woman now. She is a 3rd grade special ed. teacher and is leading a full life in New York City.

  7. My mom couldn’t have been happier when I told her. Now, two kids later, it seems silly to have even cared about my mom’s reaction. It’s my life after all.

  8. When I first told my parents I was looking into having a baby on my own, my mom’s comment was that it was a selfish choice, that I was doing it only for my happiness. Ugh. My dad said I was having a midlife crisis and suggested I go buy a sports car instead. Really? But once I moved ahead and got pregnant, they were 100% on board; going to ultrasound appointments, buying the best car seat. And when my daughter was born, there was no talk about selfishness or sports cars! Only love, love, love for my girl.

  9. While I’ve thrown out the idea of me adopting in the past, I am dreading the fast approaching day when I have to tell both my parents that it is real and is happening in the next year. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who will or has been met with negative responses.

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