There came a time in my late-20s where I felt like my life was at a crossroad. I was stuck in a job I wasn’t crazy about with a non-existent social life and no change on the horizon. Something had to give, I just wasn’t sure what.
My first attempt at change landed me in the world of internet dating. Prior to this, I’d had a few almost-relationships, but nothing that every really got off the ground. I had several friends who had great luck on the internet, so I thought surely my Prince Charming was also only a few mouse clicks away. Boy, was I wrong! I was only attracting creeps, weirdos or men who didn’t want kids, didn’t want any more kids, or didn’t want kids anytime soon. I realized I wasn’t dating, I was interviewing potential fathers.
Forget dating – lets fix the job situation. I had a good job that provided well for me. I was good at it and had growth potential – I was just sick of doing it. I lingered in bed each morning trying to come up with reasons why I couldn’t go in. Something needed to change – so why not go to nursing school? It would be a huge change from what I was doing, but change it what I needed, right?
I started taking the prerequisite classes and began searching for nursing programs. Do you know how hard it is to find a nursing program that you can do nights and weekends while still working a job to pay the mortgage? In my city there is one – that takes 30 students – every 2 years. Needless to say, that plan didn’t work out.
A couple of years passed and not much changed. I was still doing some internet dating, but was becoming more and more jaded. I started joking with friends that I should just head to a bar, find a one-night-stand and get pregnant (I may have watched “Knocked Up” a few too many times).
Then my sister came in for a visit. She flew into town and we drove down to my parent’s house together. We spent the first part of the 2.5 hour drive talking about how unhappy I was. I needed to make a change, but what? Do I change jobs? Do I look for the same type of job or find something completely different? Then, suddenly, our conversation took a turn:
Me: “I wish I could just have a baby.”
Julie: “Well, why don’t you?”
Me: “There is no way I can afford it. IVF costs, like, tens of thousands of dollars”
Julie: “I’ve heard you can go to a sperm bank and do it all at home. I think there are sperm banks all over.”
It seems so simple – why don’t I just have a baby? Could I really do it at home? Where do you find a sperm bank? How much does sperm cost? Could I support a child on my own?
I had so many questions, but this was the first thing in years that made sense. Before we even arrived, I KNEW this was the change I needed. We got to my other sister’s house and I pulled out my computer and started searching the internet for answer my questions. I stayed up most of the night researching one thing after another. Here are a few things I learned that night:
- No, there are not sperm banks in every city, but they can ship sperm, still frozen, almost anywhere.
- Yes, some banks will ship it to your home and let you do it yourself (think – turkey baster.)
- Yes, IVF can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but it’s not the only fertility treatment out there. It’s actually one of the final options.
- Some insurance plans cover the cost of fertility treatments and mine was one of them!
- I wouldn’t be the first women to do it. There’s even a name for such women – Single Mothers by Choice.
- Could I afford it? Yes…maybe…with a lot of cutting back and a huge leap of faith.
Thoughts of a baby dominated my mind for the rest of the visit. The initial euphoria was wearing off and I started considering what it would mean to be a single mom. Single motherhood is hard, who would choose it? I needed to do some more research and talk it through with Laura. Since my mom passed away, she had become my go to person. I contemplated not telling her until I was pregnant, scared she would think I was crazy and try to talk me out of it, but decided I needed her input and support (I was still naive enough to think it would just take a round of well timed sperm to produce a baby).
Laura was surprisingly supportive of the idea – enthusiastic even. We talked through my fears and concerns. We talked through worse case scenarios and came up with potential solutions. During these talks, I came to a very important realization: I would regret not having kids more than I would regret not having a husband. It was in that moment that I became a Single Mother by Choice. I guess you could say, the rest is history!