Giving in to Grief

I was 34 when I first heard about a woman choosing to have a baby on her own. It was over margaritas with my friends one night. One friend told us about a co-worker who was 40, single and had decided to try to have a baby on her own. I remember the moment vividly, my eyes wide and terrified that was where I was headed if I didn’t buckle down and find a man. I thought, “I can’t let that be my life.”

Four years later, as I am in the thick of trying to conceive (TTC), I’ve gone through a lot of emotional processing and grieving that comes with choosing single motherhood.

My first part of grief came when I was 35 and froze my eggs. I did it as a way to buy myself time and hopefully relax in my dating process. But I remember feeling depressed that I had to go to such lengths to preserve my own fertility. It was a very real reminder that I was not where I thought I would be in my life. And while it did take some of the pressure off of dating for a few years, I always knew in the back of my mind my frozen eggs were not a guarantee.

When I had my fertility tested at age 34 and found out my levels weren’t that of a typical 34 year old, I had to look at a realistic timeline for myself. I journaled that if I wasn’t in a relationship by the fall of 2021 when I was turning 38, I would start the steps to having a baby on my own.

So, being the punctual woman I am, in September of 2021, two months before my 38th birthday, I started my research. I called my RE and made an appointment for a consultation and bought books. I spent hours googling SMC and trying to gather as much information as I could. I felt shame and embarrassment around the path and an intense grief over accepting that my life had not turned out the way I had always imagined. I spent nights crying and tossing and turning, knowing that if I went down this path, the fairytale happy ending of having a baby with a man I loved would be gone. It felt like I was making the biggest decision in life, one where there was no turning back.

I started figuring out if I could afford it and putting together a pro and con list. After seeing how much longer my pro column was, I knew it was time to share the idea with my mom and sister. I cried as I told my mom what I was considering and asked for her help. She told me she would support me in any way I needed and thus, the to-do list started.

I didn’t know there would be so many steps before you even try to get pregnant. I thought I would schedule a couple IUI’s and boom, be pregnant. But the road ahead was bumpy, with lots of emotions and tests I had never even heard of before. Unexpected expenses and results. For two months, I couldn’t sleep through the night, my mind constantly racing. Could I really do this? I had a really hard time when it came to what people would think of me. “What’s wrong with Nicole that she has to resort to using a sperm donor to have a baby? Why can’t she find a man?”

I had to push other people’s views out of my head and focus on what I wanted in my heart. I knew I was ready when the thought of what I’d be losing was worse than the thought of what I’d be giving up.

From here, I went full steam ahead. I booked all of my appointments, did the procedures, and bought the sperm within a matter of 2 months. I started my first round of IVF four days after my 38th birthday.

And the weird thing was, once I had my first IVF cycle in motion, I felt a calmness around my decision. The anxiety and sleepless nights vanished, and I was able to see clearly. I was excited.

As I write this today, I am awaiting the PGS results from my 2 embryos. I know I still have a long journey ahead of me, and no guarantee that this first IVF cycle will work. But the internal grief has risen, and I am happy and excited for what lies ahead as a single mother by choice.

Nicole from Once Upon a Bebe

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4 thoughts on “Giving in to Grief”

  1. Really great story. Thank you for sharing. I can see that there are a lot women who look like me who are taking this process on as well. I don’t feel alone and isolated…well not as much anymore. I froze my eggs years ago and I’m planning to have implantation sometime at the end of this year. There is a part of me that regrets sharing this with friends. The criticism is not easy. They would really prefer that I allow a bum to get me pregnant than go through this. I did not expect this to be an emotional roller coaster.

  2. I’m an SMC to an almost 11-year-old son. I can definitely relate to this article: the struggles, the questions, the fears, and the adjustment periods that are still ahead of you. These are all things that those of us who have gone ahead need to share with the women coming up behind us and help them decide if it’s the right path for them as well.

  3. This is a very inspiring story. It has similarities with my situation. I am now a SMC to twin boy and girl who are now 20 months. It’s definitely a journey but a fulfilling one. Just take it one day at a time. I’m excited for you! Sending you wonderful and happy vibes!

    1. Thank you so much for this article. I am currently sitting at a fertility clinic oversees as I begin the process you described to a T.

      Even the timing, as I turn 38 this fall.

      I too struggle with giving up the life I envisioned and I’m find myself holding on dearly to every opportunity of that life (dating). In spite of this, I know that my decision on motherhood and it’s timeline are independent of my romantic ones. Some days it’s better than others, but I will try to do that pro and con list you did to have a reminder for those days where it’s hard.

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