She embarked on her parenting journey by herself, but with family, friends and some very special neighbours, she’s far from alone
As I write this, I’m sitting on my front porch, drinking a coffee out of my favourite coffee cup. The house is decorated with ghosts and mummies and a pumpkin sits ready to be carved in a couple of weeks for Halloween. On my front lawn is a gaggle of boys, giggling, wrestling and trading Pokémon cards.
It’s the life I dreamt of in high school. I would have a handful of kids, a Labrador or two and an awesome husband. We’d live in a great house and spend our weekends taking the kids to hockey and tennis lessons.
But life never quite leads you on the road you pictured, thank god. There was an awesome guy, who I had planned to marry, but in the end, he wasn’t as awesome as I thought. There was a great house. But I lived in it alone, bought in part with the money that was going to be spent on a wedding. No dogs…yet. And there isn’t a handful of kids. But there is one. Will. He is an incredible, hilarious six-year old boy. We are a strong-willed, loving, evolving team.
Welcome to my new dream. It’s not of the white picket fence variety, but it’s pretty amazing regardless.
As I approached my late thirties, I had accepted that I would be single and childless. I accepted that I would be the cool aunt to my friend’s kids and I would work, travel and accumulate adventures that way. It was easier to say that was what I wanted when the dream seemed to have alluded me.
Then my dad and step-mom said, ‘When are you going to have a baby?’ And like that, it all changed.
I spent the next few months researching adoption—international, domestic and Children’s Aid. I quickly realized that if I wanted this to happen quickly, my best option was to try to get pregnant myself.
I spent a couple weeks scouring over potential sperm donors. I had a cocktail party with my friends to get their feedback on my top ten. Everyone was unanimous on the top two. My friends and family all agreed on one, while I was partial to the other. Since my taste in men had found me in the position I was in, I decided to go with their pick. He was sold-out. Yes. It’s possible.
So in the end, Will’s ‘father’ was my choice. And for the first time, I picked perfectly. I was inseminated and pregnant within six months of that conversation with my parents. Nine months later, I arrived home with my 5lb bundle of boy.
Six years later, I realize one very important fact. This was the life I was meant to live. That white-picket fence dream was someone else’s idea of perfect. Not mine. I know I’m a good mother. I’m not sure that I would be a great co-parent.
Are there challenges to being a single-mother-by-choice? Absolutely. But there are challenges in any type of family. The beauty comes in figuring them out, and you can do that just as well alone as with a partner. And if you surround yourself with the right people, you will never feel alone.
And we are surrounded by them. We are blessed to have found a neighbourhood full of friendship and support for both Will and me. I have friends who can not only hug me and offer a glass of wine when I’m about to lose my mind, but who can also show up to help me get a dead mouse out of my bathroom fan. They take Will to school when I’ve thrown out my back and leave care packages on the porch when they know I’m sick. And while I can’t offer up siblings to Will, we live in a semi-detached house where he and his “brothers from another mother” next door scream goodnight to each other through the walls.
I’d put a good deal of money on a bet that Will feels as loved and happy as a kid with two parents. And honestly, as a single woman, I’ve never felt less alone than I do right now.
This is #1000families post number 34. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.