A 32-Year-old Single Woman’s Decision to be a Choice Mom

single_minded_book_cover21.JPGWhile Writing my February feature, Choice Moms, Who are these Brave and Exceptional Women Making the Decision to be a Single Mom? Like most I just assumed that the majority of these women would be pushing 40 with their biological clocks ticking overtime! And then I met Vanessa, a 32-year-old well-educated and extremely self-possessed woman who blew the lid off my preconceived stereotypical views. Here’s a little bit of our conversation…

Vanessa: I decided to become an SMC seriously at the age of 27, but I’d been thinking about the path since I was 17. At 27, my life circumstances were good. I’d just gotten hired on at a firm I very much liked. Started coming into my own as a person. I tell everyone this is when I started to embrace my Samantha-from Sex in the City-persona. Not that I was getting down like Samantha…it’s just when I started to say you know what, this or that works for me and I really don’t care if it doesn’t work for anyone else. That meant my choices in where I lived and what I wanted to do with my life like; finishing my Masters or taking off and moving half way across the world, were mine to make.

I got to the point where I felt like I had let too many things from my family dictate to me how my life should be. Along with ending a three year relationship the year before, I promised myself that when the time came and it felt right, that I would know it was time for me to add to my family. Also another thing that influenced my decision was getting acquainted, and being very personally inspired, by the experiences one of my co-workers. I could completely relate to this woman, Kathleen, who was in her mid 40’s, never had kids, and was the always doting aunt-a role I could certainly identify with. We both have 3 nieces and nephews and similar personalities. But when she told me how she didn’t regret having kids, and yet when I’d see her with other peoples kids and how she’d become this totally animated person, I felt that she was just kidding herself.

I have always known I wanted kids and a family. Just the same, I have always known I’m not really the marrying type. So one weekend while working late with Kathleen, and listening to her tell me again how horrible her marriage was, I began pulling information about sperm banks on my computer screen. It was in that very moment that I vocalized what I’d felt for a really long time– that I was going to get a sperm donor. I wasn’t going to leave my destiny to be a mom up to the whims of a guy who might not share my same mind set at the right time. Simple as that. And that’s where it all began.

And although I originally planned to use an unknown donor, last year a friend of mine offered to be my donor. So things changed, as they have a habit of doing in my life. And now I’m on the road to conception with a Known Donor.

SMW: Why did you choose insemination over adoption?

Vanessa: Well I can’t say I choose one over the other. In my perfect vision of my life, I’d love to have 2 biological children and then adopt two. When I was a little girl I always wanted to have 4 and adopt 4. Of course those dreams included my being a world famous author, and having the funds to support a large family. Now being at the more realistic age of 32– I think okay long run scenario, can I afford to raise 4 kids. I love the idea of both.

Of course there are people who ask me why I don’t just adopt and I tell them what I will tell you. Is it not my biological right to reproduce? I don’t particularly care for those people out there telling women they have no right to want their own child if a husband isn’t attached to the other end of the sperm. I suppose there is a part of me that looks at all the two parent homes out there with allegedly perfect parents who raised perfect kids, and I know it’s all a crock! Just today I was helping out a family attorney friend, and as I read through some of the depositions for his trial coming up. I sat and thought; yep I’m doing this the right way. There is no perfect situation!

SMW: What has your experience been like so far; how have you adjusted to life as a single Mom? Where do you get your support from?

Vanessa: Well I haven’t had my child yet… nor am I pregnant at the moment. I’m still trying at this point but I hope I can answer this. I know it will be a big adjustment. But I have my family for support. They are all aware of my decision and can’t wait really. I also have a lot of friends – who owe me a lot of babysitting hours. I will actually have one of these little tykes over the weekend for a week. So I get a lot of practice in, and I have for years. At this point I am the only one of my friends who doesn’t have a child.

I was raised by a single mother and I’m making the conscious choice to be a single Mom. In my heart I believe that the support we all need to parent comes from various places. Married women who are mothers as well as the single ones need support. And I believe that we as women generally give it to each other in one form or another. I have married friends who can call me up and say, ” Hey I need a hand with the baby can you come over.” I have single friends who can do the same thing. Having a father doesn’t guarantee that they are there for you like your girlfriends, sisters, or mothers. And I hate to say it like that because I will get bashed for devaluing the role of fathers. But it’s just the truth, plain and simple. You can probably ask any woman out there, who they called when it got really bad the first few weeks with their newborns. I can tell you 98 percent would say my sister, or my mother, my best friend is the person who really pulled me through the newborn weeks.

But I realize fathers are important- don’t get me wrong. I just have grown up with a different perspective that allows me to see that life doesn’t have to mean- you’re going to grow up to be a drug addict prostitute as some of the right wings suggest just because you grow up without a father.

Were there times when I wondered as a kid what my life would have been like if I’d had a father? Sure.

Did I ever let that stop me in becoming who I’ve become? Hell NO!

Do I think it’s possible for me to raise my own child the right way and to achieve all that he or she desires in this life? Hell Yes.

Why? Because I know what my line of female ancestors had to face and where they came from, and I feel like if it was instilled in me to overcome and be more than what people expect of me because of what statistics say I should be! In fact, I’m already doing a damn good job at setting the example with the same support of the people who love and care for me and who I know will love and care for my offspring. Isn’t that what a family is all about?

For more honest reflections about the choice to be a Single Mom-check out my feature article…Sunday February 17th-I’d love to hear your comments…do you agree with Vanessa?

Melissa Chapman, Family Channel Editor for Single Minded Women