This One Next Step

Smiling womanI’m 35 (and a half) and single. I am established in my career, financially and emotionally stable, have a great support system of family and friends, and I am mostly content and fulfilled with my life. I was diagnosed with PCOS several years ago, and every year, at my annual appointment, I asked my doctor, “When do I need to be thinking about my options?” And every year he would answer “when you’re 35 we’ll talk about your options.” Well…here I am…35…and still single!

Three days before my 35th birthday I had my first appointment at a fertility clinic to get information about freezing my eggs. I wasn’t certain about freezing my eggs at the time, but thought to myself, “I’m committed enough to take this ONE next step” just to get more information. On a whim, when I was at the consultation I asked what other options there were. That was when the possibility of using donor sperm and having a child on my own was first introduced to me (amazingly, I had not even considered it before). I left that appointment knowing that freezing my eggs was not the direction for me. It felt like freezing my eggs would be another step in the direction of waiting for “the one”. I knew right then and there that I could not continue to put my hopes and dreams in the hands of a person who might, or might not, ever arrive.

At that point, with new visions of a life as a single mother swirling around my head, I was struck with the reality of it all. Could I even have children? Can I afford it? Could I actually DO it? Where do I even start? I knew I couldn’t do it all alone, or without even talking to anyone. So in order to really consider this idea I needed to talk to my closest friends and family. I wasn’t sure how they would respond, but I knew I was “committed enough to take this ONE next step.”

I celebrated my 35th birthday on a weekend trip with my sisters and close friends. With high hopes (and a little hesitation), I opened up and shared this possible new direction for my future. I was overwhelmed and relieved by the support with which my thoughts were received. I was shocked to hear that my sister-in-law even knew someone who went this route and had a 2 year old son. She offered to reach out and see if she would be willing to speak with me and share a little about her experience. One week later I sat at home and called her friend. Although I was terrified to even talk to her, I said to myself again, I am “committed enough to take this ONE next step.”

We talked for almost an hour. She shared her story of thinking, planning, and trying. And she shared of the joy she has experienced since her son was born, as well as the challenges. I think what I remember most was her saying she wished she had done it sooner, along with her reassurance she would do it all over if she had to choose again. She is the one who directed me to the Single Mother by Choice (SMC) organization and the book by Jane Mattes. While I wasn’t sure I was at the point of beginning more research, I thought to myself, I am “committed enough to take this ONE next step.”

I immediately read the book, joined SMC, and started reading blog, after blog, after blog. Suddenly, reading the stories by other women who have gone down this road made me feel empowered and hopeful that I, too, could take control of the direction of my life…rather than continue down the path of waiting for “the one” who may, or may not, ever arrive.

Once the research started, I knew I had two things I had to do…tell my parents, and see a doctor. In an effort to live an open, authentic life I knew that I wanted to talk to my parents about this before taking the next step of actually seeing a doctor and being evaluated. I was terrified of what their reaction would be to this decision that does not follow the norm in terms of societal expectations. I had not yet even decided whether this was something that I would actually do, but I was “committed enough to take this ONE next step.”

I talked to my parents. I answered their many questions and listened to their considerations, and appreciated their invitation for me to come live with them for as long as I’d like. I left that conversation with the feeling of a weight being lifted off my shoulders. Maybe I would actually do this. Knowing that I would have the full support of both of them was information that made everything that much easier. With my mother and father in my corner, I was ready to call my doctor. I felt it would be good to know where I stood physically, either way. So I made an appointment for a consultation. I wasn’t sure what I would with the information I would receive, but I was “committed enough to take this ONE next step.”

A month and a half later, the results were in! I was relieved to hear that it is entirely possible for me to get pregnant. The realization that this is physically possible elicited excitement about the new life I have started to envision and build for myself.

And, that brings me to the current day. I’m not quite sure how I even got here, but somehow I have taken “ONE next step” right through the stages of thinking and planning, and I am potentially only a few weeks away from trying to conceive. Even now, the thoughts of the distant future seem too overwhelming to try and figure out all at once. But the one thing I do know that has gotten me this far, is that I am “committed enough to take this ONE next step.”

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