Once you make that big decision to become a Single Mother by Choice (SMC), your thinking changes. Even though I’m not a mom yet, and I’m convinced that everything will change again once I have my child in my arms, I know I’ve already started to think more like a mother, to identify more with the stories of other women, other mothers.
The private online SMC members’ Forum, blogs like this one, and even Facebook give you the opportunity to peek into other women’s motherhood experiences. It’s inspiring to see women conquer infertility. It’s inspiring to see women make single parenting of multiples look not only doable, but joyful. (Parenting isn’t easy, but it should be joyful, IMHO.)
In addition to the inspiration there is support. The value of a kind word from someone who has “been there, done that” in this journey is immeasurable. And at a certain point, even those of us who haven’t conceived or been matched for an adoption still have advice and encouragement for the newcomers. It feels good to be able to offer that. To support those who are where I used to be – – even if I know they’re hoping to never be where I am.
But, as you can imagine it’s not all roses. Along with the inspiration and the encouragement come the downs, the trials and the outright misery.
It’s a lot like any other friendship – there are ups and there are downs, only in some ways it’s amplified through identity and volume. At times I identify with other SMC “tryers” more than I do with my best friends.
It’s also easier to see into the lives of mothers who post on the SMC Forum; whose posts are sometimes more intimate than conversations you have with real life friends.
Also, there are so many of us. When I went through IVF, (if I recall correctly) I had about 20 “cycle buddies” on the SMC Forum who were going though IVF at the same time. Some are more open than others, some I connect with more than others, but they were all my sisters in this journey; their joys and sorrows were mine and mine was theirs. Between the blogs I follow, the SMC Forum, my local SMC group and my friends on Facebook who are kind and open enough to share their lives with me, I would guess that at any given time I have in my heart and mind the joys and sorrows of at least 60 mothers (including would-be mothers).
Among them are beautiful stories of joy and healthy children, and scrapping together the resources to make it work … but also there is sadness. And along with watching that sadness, it’s impossible not to worry, “what if”. With that comes fear.
I know of an SMC who is facing her own mortality now. She has children old enough to understand but not nearly old enough to lose a parent, let alone their only parent. I pray for her and her children regularly. I also beg any god who will listen to NOT let that be in the future for my children.
There comes a point where in the face of such stories you worry whether it wouldn’t just be better to NOT become an SMC. There is so much potential for heartache. And that’s when you have to look at the joyful stories. And remind yourself that the joyful ones outnumber the sad ones, but even still the “sad ones” for the most part have their joyous moments.
While I hope that the future of my story has far more joy and very little heartache, I have to believe that even if my story will have heartache, it will have more joy as well.