What Is Really Going On?

There have been so many times where I’ve had questions during the process of being a single mom by choice and I’ve reached out to friends, family, and the Instagram community.  Everyone has been there for me and I decided this week I’d give back.

Below are a series of questions that people messaged me on Facebook or Instagram this week.  In fact, I received so many questions (30 thus far) that this is going to be Part One of questions and next week I will answer Part Two. Some questions deal with topics related to becoming a single mother by choice. Other questions are just things that people are wondering about regarding my pregnancy or pregnancy in general.  Please know that I am such a huge fan of learning and of being open. Feel free to ask me anything and if you would like your question featured on the blog next week, just send me an email.

Now for the fun part….

  • You said you love your donor. Is it someone you personally know? Just curious.

It is not someone I personally know yet somehow I feel like I know him. I felt that using sperm from a friend might really complicate everything and was worried that the donor might change his mind once the baby was born and want to become part of the child’s life. Yes there are court documents to ensure that you are the sole parent but my social worker suggested that these documents don’t always hold up in court.

As a result, I decided to find a donor from a sperm bank. It was so hard choosing a donor and I even had a little breakdown while finding one (am I really that horrible that nobody wants to have kids with me?) After my little pity party (which I think everyone is allowed), I was very limited in my selection. I always thought I’d get a book and could select a donor from the book. Instead, I got a few matches online that I got to select from. After seeing a baby picture of the donor, reading the essay he wrote, hearing him in an interview, reading his genetic health history of his entire family, and seeing a current day silhouette of him, I knew he was the one. 

When I saw his baby picture I actually cried (only donor I cried about) because he looked so much like my sisters and I when we were kids. His voice and calm demeanor just drew me to him but it was hard to get him as a donor. In fact, I only used him as my donor on the second IUI (sperm inside the uterus) because I was on a waiting list and the timing didn’t work out the first time.

  • How and when did you commit to being a single mom by choice?

There was not a specific moment where this happened.  There were a bunch of key events that made me realize that this was something that I wanted to do.  Some of these events include: my grandma saying she was sad I was never going to have kids, a boyfriend who (during our relationship) told me he didn’t want kids, a motherly instinct that I have always had since I was a little girl, two friends that decided to become Choice Moms that inspired me to begin the process, my 37th birthday and realizing that time was not on my side anymore, spending time with kids and realizing how much joy they brought me and how my life would not seem fulfilled without children in some way.

I always wanted children and I’d say that if I had to pick an age where I started to think about it, it would maybe have been at the age of 34 (and it took me three years to talk about it with my doc).

  • Baby names?  Have you picked them?

I am terrified of coming up with a name this early in the process. I am so afraid of having a miscarriage because it is so common.  After 20 weeks, I feel as though I will really think about this.

In the meantime, I will tell you some names I feel a connection to right now.  As a child, I loved to write stories and every protagonist in my stories was named Abigail Jenkins. Have always loved the named Abigail but who knows.

As for a boy, I keep being drawn to the name Finn. The only issue is that it is a lot like my sister’s married last name so it may not work in the long run.

  • What will you tell your child?

After seeing both a social worker (because it is mandatory as a patient of Mount Sinai) and my counsellor (because I love keeping my mental health in check), I have made a decision to be open and honest as much as possible.

I will be creating a book for my little one with all of the info from his/her Dad. It will contain pictures at the fertility clinic and will include his/her dad’s essay, etc. I’ll follow what my counsellor suggests (when looking at appropriate age/language to use). I also plan to invest in many books about kids with single parents/kids with donors.

There is also a sibling registry where my child will be able to decide if he/she wants to get the names of his/her siblings and meet them. My child will also be given information about his/her Dad at the age of 18 and the Dad has agreed to have contact with him/her.

  • Did your doctor tell you to lose weight before you were pregnant?

According to the BMI, I am considered “obese.”  Through tears I asked my fertility doctor if I should try to lose a bunch of weight before getting pregnant. I asked if I should put everything on hold.

She informed me that studied show that when a patient puts a hold on the process and tries to lose weight, this almost never happens.  She indicated that we were against timing already (with my age being 37 at the time) so she determined that we needed to start right away.

I did try and lose weight but I have such a complicated relationship with food.  When I start restricting food I binge. I also eat when I am stressed, and have been stressed and challenged more through this process than with anything in my life.

I am also reminded that women all over the world with a lot of different sizes get pregnant every day. They even have healthy pregnancies.  I have no idea if weight will become a major issue during my pregnancy but I will keep you posted.

  • How do you handle the judgement? Has everyone been kind to you online and in real life?

I would say that I am VERY surprised that most people (about 99%) are positive.  I worried about hater/ people responding negatively to my blog.

There have been a couple times where I have been hurt by the things that people have said but I think over time I am building a tougher skin (which is crazy to say because anyone who knows me knows that I am an overly sensitive person).

When I started the process, I was totally embarrassed at the doctor’s when the receptionist told me that she couldn’t fax my form to the fertility office because I didn’t have a partner. After indicating infront of everyone in the waiting room that I was using a donor, she finally faxed the form.

About a month later when I called Mount Sinai to see what the hold-up was in becoming their patient, they explained that the didn’t process my form because under “partner info” it read “N/A.” Once again, I had to inform them that I was doing it on my own.

I also had a “friend” on my Facebook write something really negative about how I shouldn’t be writing any of this because my child wouldn’t want any of this to be published.  For the first couple hours, I didn’t even do anything. In fact, I didn’t even know she had posted that. My other friends started protecting me and came to my defense. They started writing things under her post and I realized that I really did have an army protecting me.

Eventually I gave her about six different reasons as to why I was sharing this info and reminded her that I thought long and hard about publishing this type of info. My child will know his/her story and I can remove everything if he/she wants me to. I just feel like this is such an important topic and one that should not be ignored. If I could help someone else out, I would try my best.

Have also had people that won’t talk to me about it or say that they aren’t interested in any of this which is TOTALLY fine.

  • Will you stay in Toronto? It is crazy expensive there. What is your plan?

Plans make me very nervous so I *think* I have a plan for the first year. As of right now, the first year of the baby’s life will be spent in Toronto.

After that, I will most likely be moving.  Everything really depends on my job and if I were to go somewhere new, I would lose all of my seniority as a teacher. It sounds a little crazy to leave a full teaching contract position of 15 years to start somewhere new.

That being said, I plan to give my child the best life he/she can have. If it means taking chances and moving to somewhere much more affordable, it is not out of the question.

  • How did you tell your parents?

This seems like so long ago! I feel like I started by making little jokes about it to see the reaction on their face.  That lasted for a couple of months. From there, I called my Mom up and explained that I was seriously thinking about it. I knew she was going on vacation and I wanted her to tell my Dad. I figured they could talk about it while they were away.

When they came back from their vacation my Mom told me (infront of the entire family) that she asked my Dad about it. She announced that Dad had said that “if your baby makes you as happy as the three of my girls have made me, it is worth it.”

It was very sweet and reminded me that you never know how people will take the news. I was so worried about what he would think of me and I didn’t need to worry at all.

  • No one is supporting me. What do I do?

I am so sorry that this is happening to you and know that it is totally normal. I’ve been VERY lucky to have this much support. I would suggest you invest in a good counsellor. A counsellor will be your biggest supporter and fan. When you start to doubt yourself, he/she will be there to help you.

A counsellor will work on all of your fears with you. He/she will help you process the feelings of others as well as any feelings you have yourself.  I have also heard of many people who didn’t support the single mother until she had the baby. Once the baby was born, she received a lot of support from people who were against the whole process.

  • How did you tell people you were pregnant?

Well everyone knew when I would find out if I was pregnant (I posted the date of my second IUI). They knew it would be a two week wait.

I told my family over Facebook messenger and recorded their responses. You may remember that a little while back, my Mac died and I haven’t been able to afford a new laptop. As a result, I was storing all pictures and videos on my phone but before long my iPhone storage had reached the limit. I emailed the videos to myself and just assumed they would always stay in iCloud. It turns out that videos are only stored for 30 days. I have now lost all of the videos I made with reactions I received when telling my closest fam and friends about my pregnancy.

I am sure there will be some sort of video made before the baby is born but I might just interview fam and friends about the arrival of the baby and have my bro in law (master of technology) put something together.

  • How are you feeling?

I am not feeling well at all. Morning sickness/all day sickness has been A LOT to handle. I am now in week 11 and can barely keep food down. I have one random day out of about seven where I feel okay and able to do something.

My days have been spent taking diclectin (now up to three a day), sipping ginger ale, avoiding most foods, having to cancel plans with friends/family, and watching a lot of Netflix.

It is totally worth it but in the meantime, people have given me A LOT of tips to help with the morning sickness. These include things such as taking meds at night, taking ginger gravol, eating ginger candies, eating jolly ranchers, carrying bags with me, acupuncture, eating a variety of small meals every day, talking to my OB, etc.

I also need to keep saying “no” to things and to not feel guilty about it. Right now, I feel like that flaky friend that always bails. I keep having to remind myself that I am doing the right thing for me and my little one.

  • Have you received your results for the Harmony test?

Yes! My baby has tested negative for Down’s and for a couple other genetic abnormalities. I found out on Friday.

I also want everyone to know that I have two friends who have children with Down’s and they inspire me every day. Their kids are the absolute best and bring them so much joy.

I just wanted the information to have the testing done. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I wanted to know.

Some of you also know that you can find out the gender by doing this test. Personally, I don’t want to know the gender until later. As someone who is constantly worried about pregnancy loss, I am just not ready to know yet.

Thanks for sending in your questions and please know that next week I’ll be answering more. If you sent me a question that hasn’t been answered yet, please know that I’ll answer it next week.

Wishing everyone an amazing and healthy week ahead!