Since telling people I am hoping to be a Mom, and since writing this blog, I usually get asked the same question, “how did everyone react when you told them?”
To me, the question is really asking “how were you able to move past the stereotypes and the boxes that were created for you by society?” AND “How were you able to tell the people you love most that you were going to rebel against the stereotype of the perfect heterosexual couple complete with 1.6 children?”
Growing up, I was always the “good kid.” People often remarked at my politeness and kindness. Part of me looks back at that person and thinks “girl, did you even have a personality?” All I wanted to do was to please everyone around me.
Now, at the age of 38, I have a personality but often find myself wanting to please everyone in my existence and to put everyone’s needs ahead of my own. For one of the first times in my life, I am saying “screw what society tells me I need to do” and “I have this feeling within me that is so strong that I am willing to run the risk of people not accepting me or respecting my decision.” So what happens when the people pleaser who lives off praise, jumps out of the box and forces the people I love to live outside the box?
A lot of growth.
A lot of tears.
A lot of pain.
So here’s what happened when I told my family and friends that I was going to be a Solo Mom.
While I was considering being a Choice Mom, I wanted to see if my family would support me. I guess deep down, I was trying to gauge some sort of vibe from my family members about having a baby on my own.
A lot of conversations went like this:
- “My friend is going to be a Choice Mom. What do you think?”
- “This dating scene is hideous. Sometimes I just wonder if I should just use a man for sperm so that I could have a baby”
- “Do you think a woman could be a single Mom and live in Toronto?”
My family is pretty smart but nobody really called me on what I was doing – testing the waters to see if they would disown me if I became a Choice Mom. To be honest, not all conversations were pretty. Some left me pretending I wasn’t crying or cleaning up dinner plates when the family was together so that I could leave the room.
Overall, I bet I asked about fifty awkward questions that were really me just asking them “would you still love and accept me as part of the family if I did something so outside my comfort zone and your comfort zone?”
Phone Call 1: Sister One
This is where I started. I told my sister over the phone about wanting to begin the process of being a Choice Mom and she said she supported me and then moved to a different topic.
About a month ago I asked her why she responded that way and she said something like “I knew it was coming. You talked about it and dropped hints all the time.”
I also encouraged sister one to get sister two on board. I remember telling sister one that she could tell sister two.
Phone Call 2: Sister Two
Sister two has two beautiful kids, a wonderful husband, and a beautiful home. She is also known as the logical one so I was really worried about getting her approval.
Her first reaction was to support me which felt amazing. Then it turned to a bunch of questions that I was not able to answer.
This resulted in me feeling overwhelmed, sobbing, and barely able to make a coherent sentence.
Since then, she has been so supportive and the questions have stopped because I just don’t know the answers to the questions. I have planned as much as I can but I have no idea what my possible baby will be like.
Phone Call 3: Mom
I know that I called my Mom before she went on a big trip with my Dad and I remember crying through a lot of the phone call. She was super kind and I remember suggesting that she tell Dad on their trip. That way, she could put the feelers out and possibly get my Dad used to the idea so that when they came back from the trip, he could possibly be on board.
Once my parents got back from their trip, we met at my sister’s house and my parents told us about their trip. My Mom had a couple glasses of wine and just stated “Sarah, I asked your dad about you having a kid on your own. He said that if it makes you feel as happy as you three girls have made him feel, he supports your decision.”
I just sat there and cried and everyone was there – including my Dad. My Dad’s approval was the one I was most scared to get. My Mom then said something like “I think I am going to cry” and then someone changed the conversation.
Since then, there have been A LOT of conversations and I mean A LOT. We have discussed a lot of really tough subjects – moving back home for a bit, paying for daycare, picking out a sperm donor, genetic testing, making my story so public, etc.
My poor family worries for me about the potential backlash of me being so candid.
After I told my family, I started telling some extended family members. From there, I told my friends, my co-workers, etc. Before I started the blog, I bet about 20-30 people knew what was happening. Their reactions really ranged – some people didn’t say anything when I told them, others screamed in excitement, a few got emotional. Overall, nobody in my close group of family/friends said anything negative.
The blog is the topic that really divides people. I’d say about 25% of my friends/family have said things that haven’t been 100% supportive because they are worried about me being so open at such a vulnerable time.
Now, every time I tell my story, I feel more comfortable and secure with my decision. Looking back, I don’t know what I would have done if my family said that they didn’t support me if I were to have a baby on my own. If I didn’t have a sister who was my appointment partner – there with me every time I got a result for something. If I didn’t have another sister who was always checking in and saving every baby item and clothing item for me. If I didn’t have parents who said “move in with us and stay here as long as you need us.”
The other main person is this process who has helped me maintain my strength is my therapist. She helps me conquer my fears and the inner voices that leave me up at night questioning this decision. She forces me to examine stereotypes and teaches me how to deal with non-enthusiastic people.
So could I have done this on my own without a supportive family and an incredible therapist? I have absolutely no idea and feel blessed that I don’t have to deal with that right now.
Update: Thank you for letting me vent last week about the reaction I was having in finding a sperm donor. You allowed me to write down some of my most personal thoughts and the whole experience was very cathartic. Perhaps that was all I needed – a place to just grieve that I would not experience the life I had pictured. For whatever reason, I no longer feel stuck in finding a sperm donor and my goal is to find one this week!
Thank you: Please know that writing this blog is helping me so much through this process but I want it to help you as well. Perhaps you are thinking about becoming a Mom, worried about the fertility process, wanting to best support friends/family through the process, etc. If you have any questions at all, please just message me. If there is anything you have wondered about and want me to write a blog about, please let me know.