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.