Wow. Okay, so this is a biggie. (That’s what SHE said! Sorry, I had to)
Alright. Deep breath, Shanz.
I’m going to have a baby. WAIT! NO! Not, like, right now or anything. Or even 9 months from now. But I’m going to try to have a baby. Solo.
Well, not entirely solo? I mean, I do need a significant contribution from an appropriately screened male with no history of genetic defects and decent bone structure but aside from that… Alone.
I had absolutely no intention of sharing any of this with the public at large but after careful consideration, I’m hoping that my journey might be able to help someone else – wherever it takes me.
My greatest fear about saying this out loud was (is) the negative feedback I’m going to get. There are a number of reasons that, on paper, are half decent arguments against my decision. In fact, I heard a few of them from someone I least expected to when I started to get serious about going forward with the process. It’s selfish of me to want to do this without a father figure, it’s selfish of me to want to do this with my financial situation, why should I expect other people’s tax dollars to help raise my child…. I got all of that from the same person and it was a huge slap in the face.
I have an acute depressive disorder that has messed with me to the point that I’m unable to work a full time job and have been assessed by every doctor under the sun who have all agreed that I am disabled due to my illness. This doesn’t mean that I spend every day in bed (just most, lately) or that I spend hours rocking myself in a corner and staring at the sun. It means that there are triggers in certain environments that make it especially hard for me to cope on a daily basis. Primarily, I have a need to continually prove myself and OVERachieve to the point of burning out. But that’s a different discussion.
The truth is, the only thing I have EVER wanted to be was a mother. That’s it. More than acting or writing or photography or dance or sports or whatever else I’ve explored along the way, the One True Thing that has been missing? Motherhood.
Now, because I’m disabled am I not allowed to persue that dream?
Am I to be denied the right to have a child because I have depression? Because I have anxiety am I to be punished?
According to some people, yes. It’s not fair to them that I use the avenues available to me so that I can have a child.
This is a HUGE issue in my head. And hearing it from one of the people I trusted and respected the most was one hell of a blow. Luckily, I have an incredible medical team behind me that blew all of that negativity right out of the water. My specialists, GP, and psychologists were shocked that anyone’s first reaction would be to shame me instead of supporting me and then went to great lengths to show me that the system is designed to help people exactly like me. And, others, of course – but ME!
And when that still didn’t really erase the echo of negativity I was hearing, I very, very carefully selected a couple of other people to open up to.
Best. Move. Ever!
I not only learned that there are a lot of people who have been looking forward to being extended family to “Shannon’s Offspring” for ages but also that I have more people who truly care about me than I ever imagined.
I had one friend who was so exited that her first instinct was to start planning the baby shower. I got all misty eyed. And then we had a pint.
I had discussions that made me cry with one friend who was simply excited to have a chance to ‘return the favour’ of my support. Yup. Tears.
Ness was one of the people screaming loudest at my side, in my favor and Boots took me shopping for baby goods. No really, my face always leaks like that…My girls…
I’ve had volunteers to hold my hands through the tests, even more volunteers to help me pick a donor if I decide to go the outside route, daily check-ins to see how I’m doing and to keep my spirits up when I start to slide, offers to get me to appointments and keep me entertained through the waiting periods…
It became glaringly apparent that no matter what the naysayers and the haters threw my way, I am genuinely blessed with an incredible group of friends who have and will do whatever they can to keep my head above the tide.
I love you guys. More than you could possibly know, more than I could ever possibly express.
This is not going to be easy. But if it puts any doubts to rest, I’ve been assessed by an independent counsellor selected by the fertility clinic I’m working with and her report was that I might be better prepared for this than some of the married couples she has met with.
I know what I’m doing. I’m ready for whatever direction this journey takes me. This has been a year and a half in the making and I’m going forward.
I’m doing this now and without a husband for more than a few reasons. First of all, I don’t think there should be any restrictions on what makes a “real” family. We’ve moved beyond the 1950’s. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a single parent. In fact, I think it’s healthier to raise a child in a single parent environment than in a home where a couple is simply staying together “for the children”. I’d rather be a different example to my child.
Also, I am selfish. I have thoughts and ideas on how to raise a little and I don’t necessarily want to compromise on those. And that is something I would have to do with a husband. I also don’t want HIS family’s input either. I have depression to continually remind me that I’m doing everything wrong in life, I don’t need to hear it from someone I married because I was running out of time to have a baby.
There are those who will snicker and likely launch into the “she couldn’t get a man and had to pay for a baby” attack. (Actually that voice sounds the most like my own, lol) But really, having a child now doesn’t mean that one day I won’t find someone I want to get alimony from later. (Did that sound bitter? Heh. My views on marriage and relationships will show up in another post, I’m sure)
I considered the bar baby route but really, I’m not as cute as I once was and I didn’t have enough cash on hand to get some poor innocent dude drunk enough to tap this. So doing this on MY terms is a lot smarter and more responsible than heading down to the Roxy and getting freaky (and an STD), it’s just more expensive. And there is a lot, A LOT, involved.
So I’ve decided to share some of it. Regardless of the Debbie Downers or the Negative Nancys (why are they always female names?) I’m putting this out there because I know damned well that I’m not the only person contemplating this. And if I can help by giving a voice to my experience then I’m happy to do so.
And the rest of you who don’t like it can eat cake. (Just not the chocolate, the chocolate cake is all mine)
Whitney, sing it girl!
I’m wiser now
I’m not the foolish girl you used to know
So long ago
I’m stronger now
I’ve learned from my mistakes which way to go
And I should know
I put myself aside to do it your way
But now I need to do it all alone
And I am not afraid to try it on my own
I don’t care if I’m right or wrong
I’ll live my life the way I feel
No matter what I’ll keep it real, you know
Time for me to do it on my own
It’s over now
I can’t go back to living through your eyes
Too many lines
And if you don’t know by now
I can’t go back to being someone else
I never had a chance to do things my way
So now it’s time for me to take control ~
I start again go back to one
I’m running things in my way
Can’t stop me now, I’ve just begun
Don’t even think about it
There ain’t no way about it
I’m taking names, the ones of mine
Yes I’m gonna take my turn
It’s time for me to finally stand alone, stand alone
I am not afraid to try it on my own
And I’ll live my life the way I feel
No matter what I’m gonna keep it real, you know
It’s time for me to do it on my own,
on my own….