I’m 42, almost 43 years old.
I’m going to be a mother for the first time.
This is my longest held dream.
And here I am.
This is the beginning of my story on becoming an SMBC (solo mother by choice)….
I clearly remember when I was a child, maybe around 7 or 8 years old, telling my mum ‘When I grow up I’m going to have seven children’. I think my mum’s response was something like ‘Oh right!’ in a ‘WTF?!’ kind of tone.
I did all sorts of unchild-like things when I was just a child myself, keeping a notebook with pages and pages of favourite boys and girls names, for when I one day became a mother. I think it’s still in a box back at my parents in NZ! I even spent my pocket money on a very well known (in Australia/NZ) eighties birthday cake baking book, that only mum’s bought, but here I was, the proud owner of the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake book, at around 8 years old.
I’d spend hours with anyone who had an actual baby, just besotted by them. I sewed my first toddler outfit at 13 years old, and modelled in the school fashion show with my family friends daughter wearing the romper I made for her. Which by the way was bloody cute and impressive for a 13 year old ;o)
There are so many other memories similar to above, from babysitting because I loved it so much, my childhood career plan of owning a kindergarten, and somewhere back in one of those storage boxes at my parents there’s a poem I wrote to my future child, when I was around 18 years old. I also started buying children’s books and storing them from around the same age. A bit cray cray, yes, but I always wanted to be a mother.
When I was 22 I moved from New Zealand to London, and that took some adjusting, as I was used to suburban life in NZ, where most people met their partner at high school and were already buying houses and getting engaged. I felt like that was the path that equalled success, and my life was far from that in the UK.
As time went on and I settled into UK life, making friends and living in house shares, I no longer felt sad for myself. To be perfectly honest I actually felt sad for my friends that had settled down so young. Here I was in London, having the time of my life, multiple vacations each year, some that would last six weeks. My only concerns in life were having enough money for those travel adventures, and new outfits to go to nightclubs. My friends and I would have amazing house parties, always be out and about around the city having all sorts of fun adventures, and I was 100% content. People would ask me what my future plans were, and I would tell them I didn’t have any, because I was having fun living in the moment. That’s the beauty of London, it’s Peter Pan land, you don’t really ever have to grow up if you don’t want to. You can continue to have fun without responsibility your entire life if you choose, and no one bats an eyelid. I truly love London for that.
As I entered my early thirties, I remember questioning myself as to what I wanted from life. One of those questions was whether I still wanted to have children. When you’re having fun and living life to the full, it’s hard to consider giving up that time for a child. I thought about it a lot, trying to work out what I truly wanted. Eventually I knew 100% I still wanted to be a mother someday.
I was single, and I remember thinking ‘Right, I’ll wait until I’m 38, and if I don’t meet anyone and have a child by then, I’ll adopt’. I’ve always dreamed of adopting, but what I didn’t realise back then is just how complicated a journey like adoption can be, especially as a single person. It all seemed so easy in my thoughts, but in reality it’s not. I also remember reading an article around this time on women who were using donor sperm from the largest sperm bank in Europe, a clinic called Cryos situated in Denmark, to create their dream of having a family. My thinking back then was that I would find it too hard to do that, to only know one half of my child and wonder who the other half of them was created by. I also remember having a peek at the website, to see what it was all about.
Fast forward to my late thirties. Yes I met someone in my mid thirties, but life is complicated, and I will not going into any details about our journey out of pure love and respect for them, but to carry on my story, the pull to move to the next stage in my life and create a family became bigger and bigger, so by the time I hit 40, it was affecting my mental health in a very damaging way.
I had been working as a nanny and/or Private PA for 20 years, giving my all to other people’s children, which I absolutely loved, but at the end of the day I would go home and knew there was a piece missing in my own life.
Anxiety, OCD and panic have been a part of me my entire life, but this desire to be a mother, and the fear I might miss out, leaving it too late, was making me crumble. Unless people knew this about me, no one would have guessed the mental and emotional struggle I was going through, and by 2019 it reached a breaking point. I had to do something, to give it my best shot at becoming a mother, one way or another….
To Be Continued.