PARENTING AS A SOLO MUM

INSPIRING, MOTHERHOOD, SOCIAL MEDIA

We are sold this idea that: we grow up, meet a partner, have kids… but of course it doesn’t work like that.  For Mel as she reached the latter half of her 30’s she became aware that her desire to have a baby was actually clouding her judgement when dating. So she decided to follow a different root as solo parent.

  • I’ve just recently celebrated my 40th birthday.

  • I’m single and have been for the vast majority of the last 10 years, since the breakdown of a 7 year relationship in my 20s. (It turns out my fiance at the time had a girlfriend, as we were planning our wedding, not ideal!) 

  • Although I’ve dated a few people during that time, none of them have ever turned into anything serious.

  • I’ve really put maximum effort into finding a partner. I’ve been on internet dates, blind dates, every type of date you could think of, I’ve just not been lucky enough to meet a good match for me. Even though at times I’ve felt a bit sad about this, I’ve ploughed on with the search, ever-optimistic that the right man is out there for me. 

  • I’ve wanted to have kids for as long as I can remember and kept on thinking it would happen in the next few years. Every year that went past I didn’t seem to be getting any closer to realising this dream due to my single relationship status.

  • Some people have suggested that I put my career first, above finding a relationship, but I don’t agree. I have a good career and I’ve taken opportunities that came to me, but I didn’t put that above a relationship. I really tried to meet someone, it just didn’t happen for me. 

  • It’s also been suggested that living abroad (I lived in Mumbai, Johannesburg and Budapest) has made it more difficult for me to settle down with someone. Maybe, but the vast majority of my expat friends that I met during my time abroad are now married, so living abroad certainly didn’t seem to impact them finding a partner. 

  • When I turned 34 I started to worry about my fertility. I started doing a calculation of how old I might be, if I wanted to date someone for a year before trying for a baby. (this was already condensed from my original plan of dating someone for 2 – 3 years)

  • I read about the decline in fertility in women 35 and older and worried that I might miss out on motherhood if it took me much longer to get into a lasting relationship. 

  • The pressure of wanting children and the constant reminder of my ever declining fertility due to my age, probably didn’t make me the best version of me on the dates I went on. 

  • I started wondering whether I was looking for a partner or merley someone to donate their sperm to me. 

  • I compared myself to all my friends around me who were all getting married and having children. My life seemed to be so far removed from them. I questioned why I seemed to be the only person who couldn’t meet the right guy. 

  • At 35 I considered having a baby with a sperm donor, but kept thinking I’d meet someone and do it in the more conventional way, so put it off. It was at that time I started to swing the idea past friends and family to gauge their reaction. It was wholeheartedly positive.  

  • At 36, I decided I might miss out on being able to have kids altogether if I didn’t take action. I was making terrible dating decisions as my desire to meet someone to start a family was overriding common sense and sensible choices. 

  • It was at this point that I stopped thinking if I went ahead with this I’d be single forever, I figured I’d meet someone when the time pressure of having kids was lifted.  

  • At 37 I went through a cycle of IVF using donor sperm and produced 3 grade A embryos. 

  • Sadly my first frozen embryo transfer was not successful. It was a really tough time as so much hope had been invested in a positive outcome. For this reason, I waited a year before trying again, as I wanted to build myself up again mentally and physically. 

  • I took my first pregnancy test 6 days after my second embryo transfer (you are meant to wait two weeks, I’ve always been impatient!) and there was a very faint positive line, but so faint it was hard to know if it was real.

  • I think I took about 10 pregnancy tests altogether over the next 10 days and by this time I was thoroughly convinced they were all positive. I was having a baby! This was happening.

  • I’m now 40 I now have a 15 month old daughter Daisy, who I can’t imagine my world without. 

  • Having a baby on my own was without doubt the best decision I have ever made.

  • Sometimes it is tough doing it alone, but after discussing it with other mum friends there are also some advantages.

  • I only have one relationship to build, the one with my daughter. They also have to navigate a changing relationship with their partners, (and the mother in laws) which can be challenging. 

  • My main support is my mum, Granny Bev. She stays with me 1 night a week to give me some help, some adult company and to look after my daughter whilst I work. 

  • I still have no partner, but I ensure there are many male role models in my daughter’s life, so I don’t feel she is missing out. 

  • I make sure she sees her grandad and uncles as often as possible and also spend a lot of time with my girlfriends and their partners as well as my male friends. 

  • I still believe there is someone out there for me, I just need to find them. It feels a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, but I remain optimistic that it will happen.  

  • I went on my first date since falling pregnant when Daisy was 12 weeks old, some people think this is pretty early, but I felt ready, so thought why not. I had a lovely time although there was no romantic connection. It was amazing to be out talking to another adult about things other than baby poo and reflux!

  • I’ve been on a few dates since, but have not met anyone where there has been a mutual chemistry, but I remain ever hopeful that the right person will come along. 

  • Now I’m a mum, dating feels really different. My time is precious. I’ve not got time or energy to mess about. I’m approaching things differently. I would only go out with someone I was genuinely interested in. I’m not chasing people and I’m not pursuing unavailable or disinterested people. I’m merely keeping my eyes open for a good match to join my little family.  

  • I’m not desperate to meet a man, but l’d love to create a little family if I meet the right person and I’m not giving up on that dream.

  • My view of family is completely different to when I was younger. I believe you create your own family and this is made up with those important to you who you choose to have in your life. 

  • Step siblings, half siblings, adopted children, blood relatives and close friends, it doesn’t matter how your family is made up, just as long as you are surrounded by those you love and care for. 

  • Having a baby as a solo mum doesn’t mean you have to wave goodbye to ever meeting someone, it just means you are doing things in a less conventional order. 

  • Due to the nature of modern dating and how easy it is to date multiple people, I think that many women might find themselves in my situation in the future. 

  • Since I had my daughter, so many people have contacted me as they are in a similar position. They don’t want to miss out on being a parent, but they don’t want to settle for the wrong partner in order to make it happen.

  • The saddest messages I have received are from women who say they wish they’d known this was possible before it was too late for them as they now feel they are too old to try. Had they heard this story earlier, they too would have considered following this path.

  • As an experienced life coach, I’ve created The Stork and I to help others in my situation explore their options for starting a family, so that single women don’t have to miss out on the experience of becoming a mum. 

 

**’But How Do Babies Get in Mummy’s Tummy’s?’ is one of the many tricky questions I tackle in my debut book BUT WHY? which is available to preorder now. **

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