Writing My Own Story - The Journey to being a Single Mother by Choice
Written by Rochelle E (New Zealand)
I always had goals of being a Mum growing up.
I was the in-house babysitter for my extended family, and my first paid job was looking after twin boys for a solo Mum. I remember finding her to be empowering, how she could maintain her career, be an active member within her hobby groups, and guide her little people as they grew and explored the world.
Although she was my muse during my teenage years, as a writer, I always imagined I would be like everyone else and have an amazing connection to a man, and we would marry, have children, and live life together. I went into my twenties believing that my time would come, especially at University since I had now escaped those who had bullied me during high school for being overweight. My tertiary education didn’t stray far from my high school experience however - I wasn’t bullied, but I still spent more time with my nose in an ancient text, than being invited to the campus bar on a Friday night. I came to realise being somewhat introverted suited me, and I liked doing things that didn’t require me to go out of my comfort zone. I had purposely made my worldview smaller than it needed to be.
There was a huge reason to this - I had become partially disabled through my right leg. Falling whenever my knee felt like it created this notion inside of me that I would be a burden to many, and tried to be someone who only relied on myself or my immediate family/close friends. My knee didn’t hold back my thirst for knowledge or good grades, but it did exclude me from many social gatherings either because of pain, or more commonly, the what if I fall over? This mindset along with being quite comfortable with where I was in life limited my interest in dating. And this remained the tone for most of my twenties as well, I became adjusted and content to my way of life.
I was also already a mother in a sense. We had become foster parents to my cousin’s eldest daughter and my Mum and I became her co-parents who advocated for all her special needs.
Although I was thrilled to be in my “sister’s” world, I still wanted to be a mother, and this became even stronger after the sudden loss of my Dad at 26. I had all but given up on the dating scene by now, my way of life to me didn’t have room for it, as I was now a successful reborn doll artist and my career and family life were my main interests. However, my dreams of carrying a child persisted as each year ticked by. Whenever someone would bring up “just find a man and get pregnant, you won’t be younger forever”, I would become deeply frustrated. I tried to advocate for myself and say it wasn’t for me, but deep down I wanted the pregnancy part. Morals stopped me from just going out there and attempting to find a way to get pregnant on my own, and I had so many excuses from dating for all those who wanted to hear: too busy, my leg would make me a burden to someone, who’s to say I would even get pregnant with my PCOS?
The reality was, I had no interest in finding a man. Coming to accept that this was the true answer led me to the start of my fertility journey. This clarity came in the last year at age 31, and with the help of a client who told me about her daughter who was a Single Mother by Choice. During this pivotal moment in time, I was also on a journey of self-care and recovering from the loss of Dad and anxiety fuelled behaviours. I began to regard dreams and goals I had given up on with more importance again, and had healed from the troubles of my twenties. After thorough research if this was right for me, I sought advice from the SMC community here in New Zealand and joined a fertility clinic.
It’s been a whirlwind since. My worries over my PCOS holding me back were squished when it was confirmed my symptoms were in remission and I had good fertility health from tests. Currently my main focus has been on continuing my change for good physical health, and mental well-being as I wait to begin my TTC journey. In New Zealand we have to join donor sperm wait lists as it’s not commercially sold here and has no public access. I’m currently waiting between 9-12 months before I reach the top of the list for donors and can start treatment. I feel lucky to have found a second clinic with this wait time, as my first was 28 months for IUI and I felt defeated before I began - I was ready to become a Mum, but had no control over how I would reach that goal within that clinic. Now I can break goals down into three monthly plans, and my timeline ahead feels full and exciting.
Becoming a SMC is something that I had never heard of until last year. But the more I walk down this road, the more I realise this is what I wanted to be all along. I have a supportive family and close friends around me, I have the wisdom and strength of my journey in life so far, and I have my dream in my sights. I cannot wait to reach the end goal and have my child in my arms.
It won’t be easy, life never is. But the learning from the challenges, and the rewards of motherhood along the way make it all worth the wait.