Motherhood Loves Company; The Magic of Mothers Groups

Originally posted on April 12, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

Shortly after announcing my intention to become a single mother, a friend of mine lent me a DVD of The Backup Plan, a far-fetched romantic comedy about a woman who made the same decision to go it alone, only to meet Mr. Right an hour after getting knocked up. Some of the best scenes in the movie take place at a single mothers support group. To maximize the comedic aspect, the film depicts its members as an eclectic, tight-knit group of hippies and man-haters. It was stereotypical but hysterical. It was also the night before my first Single Mothers By Choice (SMC) group meeting, so it was a tad terrifying.

Coming from a family where emotions and serious topics are preferably left unspoken or at least only used as fodder for jokes, the idea of a support group was new and uncomfortable. So walking into the church where the SMC meeting was held and taking in the circle of more than forty women required a little more nerve than expected, even for someone as loquacious as I am. I was tempted to join the half-dozen toddlers corralled in the center in their attempts to flee, but something drove me to an empty chair.

That something was the need to belong. The need to know I wasn’t alone in my desire to do something a little unconventional, a little crazy. Those toddlers and pre-schoolers were more than just loud and adorable. They were proof that what I want is possible. Their moms were not only surviving the early years of single motherhood, they were finding time to go to group meetings to support and encourage other single mothers on a Sunday afternoon.

We claim to be a society that admires individuality and self-reliance. But to attempt to do something challenging, which thousands of people have already done, without reaching out for advice, support, and encouragement isn’t self-sufficient, it’s needlessly stressful and arguably stupid. Living alone for so long I’ve become independent to a fault, but I’m not foolish. I know I can’t parent alone. I also know things will go wrong, probably quite often. I’m going to need support of all kinds, including the kind of emotional support that can only come from women who’ve walked this path a few steps ahead of me.

And those women, those moms? Well, they certainly weren’t the man-hating hippies Hollywood created. They were funny, educated, diverse women who just happened to find themselves single yet still wanting to be a mom. In other words, they were just like me. I looked around and realized I wasn’t sailing into the Bermuda triangle of parenting minus a first mate and a life-vest. I was on a well-stocked, able-crewed cruiser to motherhood. Suddenly the large number of attendees wasn’t daunting; it was empowering.

My mother never understood my interest in team sports. Or perhaps she just couldn’t see past the risk of her only daughter sustaining a life-long neck injury to see the benefits. I did—sustain the injury and reap the benefits. There’s something about doing something physically and mentally challenging with a group of like-minded women that allows you to appreciate the beauty and power of yourself, your body, and your gender. That might seem awfully deep coming from a hooker. (It’s a rugby position. Honestly.) But it’s an absolute truth and a feeling I wasn’t sure I’d ever truly experience again. Walking out of that meeting of other single mothers or single mothers-to-be, I felt a flicker of that feeling resurface.

Just like with my teammates on the rugby field, getting filthy and being unabashedly aggressive, those single moms and I are doing something a little edgy, and a little risky, and a little wonderful. We are pushing boundaries set by society and ourselves. And as scary as that can be, we push on, mostly because we know the rewards will be worth it. But also because we realize we are in good company.

Photo credit: DSC_4807 via photopin (license)

Two-Week Torture: Surviving the Waiting Period (No Pun Intended)

Originally posted on March 22, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

As with any new adventure in life, this journey toward single motherhood is teaching me a lot about myself. And I’m not talking about my biology, though I’ve certainly spent more time examining signs of fertility than I ever cared to. Nope, I’m talking about the stuff you can’t measure quantitatively. In this case, patience.

Recently I had my first IUI. The procedure itself was swift and easy; I was in and out of the office in a matter of minutes. Then came the next phase, the two-week wait (TWW). Two weeks. Two busy, work and fun-filled weeks. How hard could it be? I thought. My post-TWW self knows the answer: excruciatingly hard. But my naïve, pre-TWW self hadn’t a clue.

First mistake: I thought two weeks would go by fast. In reality it dragged on like a snag in my nylons on parent conference night, slowly growing worse and worse, becoming more and more impossible to ignore. Second mistake: I thought I could easily manage my anxiety. Then my car needed expensive repairs, my students turned in a mountain of work I needed to correct, and I had a 13-hour day smack dab in the middle of the TWW because of parent conferences (minus the runny nylons, at least). And my final mistake: I thought I wouldn’t get my hopes up. I logically knew it was only about a ten percent chance that it would work. But the optimist in me got the better of logic and began to turn every gas pain into a hopeful sign of implantation.

My disciplined plan to stay off the internet and refrain from peeing on a stick until day 12 flew out the window by day 9. Instead of unburying myself from some of that correcting, I spent hours researching everything from early pregnancy signs to daycare costs (one of many inducers of the midnight mini-panic attacks that plagued me during the sleepless stretch near the end). By the morning of day 10 I was down the rabbit hole. I’d cracked open the first home pregnancy test and wasted hours online. And I was pretty disappointed—not by the negative test result, but in myself.

I’m not that girl! my inner monologue screamed. I’m not impatient, undisciplined, or obsessive. Or am I? Had I forgotten that my parents taught me to read a digital clock well before most kids could tell time, just so I wouldn’t wake them up, all eager to start my day, at some ungodly hour of the early morning? Or that I can’t keep ice cream in the house for fear of finishing the container before noon? Or that I decorated my entire condo to look like Hogwarts for the release of the final Harry Potter book? Because those things sound a lot like the actions of someone who’s a wee bit impatient, undisciplined, and obsessive.

I guess I should have seen the crazy coming. But I didn’t, not this time. As disappointed as I was to have Aunt Flow arrive days ahead of schedule, it was probably a pretty good thing she did. I might have been carrying around pregnancy tests in my pocket for each and every pee by day 14. And I’m pretty sure that would have caused a stir at the middle school where I teach.

Good intentions and learning from experience aside, when something so potentially life-changing and wonderful is in my future, there’s no way I’m going to “Keep Calm and Carry On.” But letting it rule my life for two-week stretches at a time isn’t healthy either. So what’s my plan for next time? How can I embrace my proclivity to pee early and often and still stay sane? By allowing a little crazy each day.

As an obsessive to-do list maker (another sign I missed, apparently), I love planning out my week. I schedule in everything: household chores, school work, time to write, time to exercise, time to correct—and next IUI, time to obsess. This was advice shared by one of the many wonderful women on the Single Mothers by Choice forums, and it makes perfect sense. By admitting that I need a little time in these two weeks to get excited (and nervous), to get support, and to get answers, even unscientific Dr. Google answers, I won’t need to beat myself up when I give in. But by limiting it to a reasonable amount each day, leaving plenty of time to focus on the more important aspects of life, I won’t reach the end feeling I’d wasted two weeks with nothing to show for it but more stress. (Though hopefully I’ll have something to show for it, sooner rather than later!)

Waiting will never be easy. In fact, the more times I need to wait, the more torturous it will likely be. And not being the patient, disciplined, reasonable woman I thought I was adds some challenges. But challenges help us grow and change…or maybe they just help us see and accept ourselves as we are, as we’ve always been.

Acceptance aside, other suggestions on how to remain sane (or as sane as I ever am) are always welcome!

The Tips, Tricks, and Superstitions of Conceiving

Originally posted on March 8, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

Lucky Socks. Special diet. Visualizing. And foot warmers? Nope, these aren’t the tools used by competitive skiers. These are the tips, tricks, and superstitious routines of women trying to conceive (TTC).

I admit, even before making my first doctor’s visit, I trolled the web for any and all advice to help my chances. From supporting many friends, I’ve seen that TTC can be emotionally exhausting. As a single woman needing to rely on doctors and donors, it’s also expensive. The fewer cycles I need to conceive, the better.

Unfortunately, there’s no fertility potion, super sperm, or voodoo magic that can guarantee a BFP, or big fat positive. But there are plenty of old wives’ tales, some scientific research, and a few just-for-fun practices that I am totally willing to try.

Warm and funny: Apparently sperm and eggs are particular about the temperature at which they like to meet and multiply. While I understand the science behind not frying these puppies in a sauna or hot tub during the two week wait, some sites seemed to have some wonky ideas that take it a step further. More than one mentioned avoiding cold beverages. I like herbal tea and can live with room temperature water for a couple weeks, so why not? But my favorite was the blog that insisted on keeping one’s feet warm because “warm feet=warm uterus.” Really? For me, having cold feet at any time of the month is a torture worse than water boarding. I wear socks to bed in the dog days of August. So throwing some feet warmers in my slippers on cold nights is a bonus regardless of whether it works.

And since I’m wearing socks anyway . . . why not have a little fun? The best thread I’ve read by far on the Single Mother’s by Choice boards is the one titled Insemisocks. Yup, that’s short for insemination socks, and that’s not even the funniest part. Women not only don their adorable lucky socks on the day of their IUIs and IVFs, but a number of them go right ahead and snap a picture of them still in the stirrups. While I’m more comfortable snapping my sock-selfie in the privacy of my home while fully clothed, I’m still willing to partake. Anything that brings laughter to me and others (like the smirking nurse who gets to see them) is okay by me.

Sticking Power: After showing off my fab socks each cycle, there are supposedly a few foods that will assist in implantation of the embryo. In less clinical terms, I’m eating pineapple and nuts in hopes of turning my uterus into a tiny Velcro vessel. The pineapple ‘trick’ calls for taking a ripe pineapple and cutting it into five sections, keeping the core. Eat one section a day starting on the day of your procedure (or the day you get down to it, if you’re doing this the natural way) and bam, Velcro. The thought is the bromelain in the core increases your sticking power, but there’s no evidence this is anything more than a delicious old wives’ tale.

Another nutrient that reportedly has similar benefits (with a little more science behind it) is selenium, which is found in many nuts, particularly Brazil nuts, but also in cashews, walnuts, and Macadamia nuts. So once the socks come off, I’ll be snacking on some mixed nuts and pineapple chunks. I suppose a virgin piña colada would break the “no cold drinks” rule, though, huh?

Head games: One TTC tip mentioned in nearly everything I read, from the scientific sites to the mom blogs, was to try to relax. Whether it is through visualizing the cells in your body beginning to grow into a baby, doing yoga or meditation, or having acupuncture or Reiki treatments, you need to try to chill. This is much easier said than done, I’m learning, but managing stress is important for everyone, TTC or not.

If you can afford to get some trained help in this area, studies have proven acupuncture can increase one’s chances of conceiving. Having never had it before myself, I think it might actually increase my anxiety on the day of an IUI unless I get the chance to try a session or two ahead of time, so I’m passing on this one for now. Luckily, though, I have a close friend who’s trained to perform Reiki, another form of alternative healing and relaxation. The few sessions she’s done have been wonderfully calming and comforting, something that’s good for the soul, baby on board or not.

Since Skyping the Stork and telling him to make it quick apparently isn’t possible, I’m left with these other options: eat well, stay warm, laugh often, and stress less. It’s no magic bean, but until the time is right and the real magic begins, it’ll have to do.

Who’s Your Daddy? The Daunting Task of Choosing a Donor

Originally posted on February 22, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

Let’s face it, by the time I reached the decision to become a single mother by choice, I had become an expert at online dating—or at least an expert on reading and decoding guys’ online profiles. “I’m a bit of a geek” sounds cute but equates to “I have limited social skills outside of my ability to speak Klingon,” while “I’m working towards a degree in . . .” means “I’m still living in my mom’s basement.” So I thought wading through the waters of donor profiles would be a familiar and simple task. You know, just like finding a husband. *Bangs head on computer desk*

Healthy and handsome, and a little height wouldn’t hurt. That’s all I thought I needed to worry about when I started my search. After all, genes are tricky, unreliable buggers; I know this as the five-one daughter of a five-eight mother. So why get too hung up on all the details of baby-to-be’s donor daddy? I could choose a donor with features like mine and those of my family, but there’s no guarantee which traits B2B will get, and, really, will it matter? I’m going to love this child like crazy no matter what he or she looks like or how tall he or she grows to be.

But after twelve years of living alone, I need to get used to the idea that very soon I’m not going to be the only one that matters in my house. If all goes as planned, sometime in the not-so-distant future I will have a child that will some day likely grow curious about his donor. (Funny expressions aside, the word daddy doesn’t apply.) When I realized I would some day have to answer the question, “How’d you choose?” to someone to whom the answer would matter very much, the jokes about getting tipsy and playing Russian roulette with the search feature on the cryobank’s website all seemed a little less funny.

To me, the donor will simply be a very generous guy who helped me achieve a miracle. But to B2B, he will have a much greater significance—not just a medical history, but a whole half of his or her being. From what I’ve read and from my conversation with the social worker who meets with families using donor sperm or eggs, some children place very little importance on their donors. But others do. I can’t promise my child he or she will ever get to meet the donor, but I certainly can promise him or her that I picked him for a better reason than his height and eye color.

So, how did I choose? Well, I suppose my online dating profile expertise did actually play a roll. Just like with those profiles, donor profiles have a number of sections. After reading far too many, I decided which were important (aside from health histories and, yes, a little height). For me, the personal responses, staff impressions, and the expression section meant the most.

From the handful of answers the donors provided and the section where donors could choose to share a little more about themselves or their passions, I could get a little glimpse of their voices and a little insight into what was important to them. I looked for someone who cared about his family, was driven but also somewhat laid-back, and who cherished creativity and learning. In other words, I looked for someone who shared my values.

That said, having spent enough time online to know it’s relatively easy to paint yourself a wee bit rosier than perhaps you really are, I then compared my impressions to those of the staff. Granted, in all the profiles I read, none of the staff ever said, “This guy’s a real jerk.” But by reading between the lines a little, I could tell when they were digging for something nice to say versus when they genuinely seemed to mean it. It seems odd to rely on the opinion of a stranger, but I believe good people leave good impressions, and that’s important to me.

Though the childhood pictures were helpful to narrow down the final few, in the end I went with a judge of character. My child may never know his donor, but he or she will know that I did the best I could to pick a donor who spoke to me as someone who shared those traits I value most in myself and others: intelligence, kindness, and creativity.

Oh, and he is tall. So if B2B is pint-sized, he or she can blame genetics, not me!

Photo credit: via photopin (license)

Refusing to Wallow in My Single Status

Originally posted on February 8, 2015  on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

With Valentine’s Day looming, one might think this single woman is sitting around reminiscing about dates of Valentines’ past. And I have had some delightful ones: the dark and sweet Mr. Russell Stover, the rich, Vermont hippies Ben & Jerry. Sure, the memories linger on my lips…or is that hips? Regardless, my days of loathing Valentine’s Day ended back in high school, with only the occasional relapse since, and those were really just an excuse to gorge on chocolate. As I start my journey to become a single mother, I don’t want to waste my energy cursing Cupid—or mourning Mr. Right.

As any good English teacher and writer would, when I got to the stage of acting on my decision to have a child, I turned to books, lots of books. One that was touted as a classic for women in my situation, likely because it was one of the first to be written, was Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood by Jane Mattes.

I loved the Single Mothers By Choice website and had already joined the forums and found the information and support there to be super. But the book was published in 1994. A lot has changed since then. The definition of family has expanded a great deal, and non-traditional (divorced, blended, single parent, and gay couple) families actually outnumber traditional families. (A super cool statistic for a liberal chick looking to join these ranks!) It was still a good place to start, though. Knowing what women who paved the way for me encountered is sobering and important. And when it came down to it, most of the book still applies today, even the part that irked me most.

The book spends a considerable amount of time reminding single mothers/single mothers to-be that it’s okay—healthy, in fact—to mourn the loss of the husband they never found, to pay emotional respects to the Prince Charming who never showed up. Okay, I might have dramatized the wording here a bit, but the message was in there—frequently.

The first mention or two I rolled my eyes. I thought perhaps the author wanted to recognize the few readers who wallowed in their single status. The next few mentions, I shook my head. Does the author want me to wallow? By mention six or seven, I was just miffed. I want to have a baby, for god’s sake, not hold a freakin’ funeral! If I was so damn desperate to change my Facebook status from single to anything but, I would have settled by now—and that, my friends, would be something worth mourning!

Yup, I was riding my high horse all around Single-ville singing “All the ladies, independent…” at full volume. It was almost loud enough to drown out the quiet little voice in the back of my head, the one telling me, “but she’s kind of right.”

Because the author is right in some respects. I don’t like the word “mourning,” which I feel is better suited for something I lost. I never had Mr. Right. Certainly I had the dream of finding him, but mourning a dream would be the equivalent of acknowledging it is utterly dead. I’m not there yet. I can still dream of finding a great man, one who’ll accept me and the child I hope to have, and we’ll both be better for it, because I’ll be certain I’m loving him for the right reasons, not because he’s the best thing to show up before my clock runs down.

At some point in being single, though, you do need accept that Cupid hasn’t come. Mr. Right hasn’t shown up and may never show up, and you need to learn to be okay with that. I may not have mourned Mr. Right and his absence, but I threw some fantastically tearful pity parties along the way—after awful first dates that made me wonder if dating was even worth it, after good first dates that never made it to second dates, and especially after fifth or six dates with nice guys who just weren’t my Mr. Right. I won’t even talk about the people who sent wedding invites without a hopeful “plus guest.” (I implore you, don’t do it!)

The tears never lasted too long, though, because I learned to be happy in my own skin. I learned to fill my life with people I love and respect and with fulfilling hobbies that allow me to grow and learn. This was after filling my face with pints of Ben & Jerry’s, of course, but I got there, eventually.

I think, or hope, at least, that this is what Ms. Mattes’ was really getting at. You need to go into this process already loving life and being fulfilled.

She might not have wanted to say it outright, but I can, since I’m here at the starting line: having a baby isn’t a Band-Aid to heal the ‘wound’ of being single. I want to have a child so I can share the joy I find in life already.

Which is the same reason I wanted, and still want, to someday find a husband. Not to complete me (sorry, Jerry Maguire, but I’m already complete), but to love, challenge, respect, and push me to be an even better form of the person I already love.

Until then, though, I will not blame the chubby cherub of love. And I will not mourn anybody or anything. I’m not beginning this journey because I’ve lost something. I’m beginning it to share all I have found: joy, love, hope, and wonder. And Ben & Jerry’s.

photo credit: Showers of Love (CC) via photopin (license)

Pre-Conception Plans and Decisions

Originally posted on January 25, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

As the country preps for Super Bowl Sunday by making tough decisions (full-body or just face paint? boneless or bone-in?), I’ve been making some pretty super-sized pre-game decisions myself.

When I played youth soccer, my pre-game routine involved meditating with my legs crossed, goalie gloves on, ball in hand, visualizing acrobatic saves of the sort I could only dream of making. But we did have a perfect record: we never won a game. Zen I was; Belichick I was not. By college, pre-gaming took on a whole new meaning. For some it still ended with scoring. For me, I never enjoyed the bar scene and never scored more than a killer headache, so I guess I botched that, too.

Now that I’m gearing up to become a single mother, I’m hoping a couple decades of experience and endless hours of research will lead to a more successful pre-game, or pre-conception plan. And though every mom-to-be’s path will vary, I’m also hoping that hearing my thought process might make some of the toughest decisions a little easier for the next woman.

How single women do it

Adoption or conception. Both are great options, and each appealed to me, for different reasons. Since I can’t have a baby without a little help myself, adoption seemed like a wonderful opportunity to in turn help a woman who needed a loving family for her child. Unfortunately, not all adoption agencies consider a family of one adequate, and even those that do were unaffordable to this single chick without taking out a serious loan, something I’d rather not do if I have another option. Luckily, I’ve always wanted to experience pregnancy. I’ve already got big feet and cankles, so I might as well have something miraculous accompany them, right?


It never even occurred to me that single women had options for this question. I just assumed if Mr. Right wasn’t doing the job that Dr. Somebody ought to be. Actually, though, there are other choices. Frankly, when I first heard the term “turkey-baster method,” I chuckled, and when I saw there were instructional YouTube videos, I ran. But for some women who want to save money and try conceiving at home, it’s a viable option. (And I was relieved to learn it usually involves a sterile syringe rather an actual turkey baster.) Others, who seek the comfort of home but the knowledge of a pro, hire a mid-wife to do the insemination. I suppose this might be the best of both worlds, but for me, if I can’t have an expert in the art of lovemaking, I want an expert in the field of reproduction. Enter the RE, or reproductive endocrinologist.

There are no shortages of fertility clinics these days, and at least in Massachusetts, where I live, all are welcoming to and experienced with the needs of single women. With so many choices, I picked a clinic with satellite offices close to my home and work, and one that a couple close to me recommended. With these choices made, only one big play was left to call.

Who’s Your Daddy?

With Prince Charming absent, an unknown donor was the only option I considered here. Some women have male friends whom they feel comfortable enough asking for a ‘free sample.’ I don’t. And even if I did, I’d think long and hard about this one. Unless you’re trying the at-home methods, you’re not actually saving money, as the sperm will still need to be tested and frozen for a time by the clinic to assure it’s safe and viable.

More importantly, you could be opening yourself up to future challenges that would not only destroy your friendship, but could also affect your future child. According to Single Mothers by Choice, no matter what legal documents are drawn up ahead of time, once the child is a reality, courts will almost always rule on the side of providing the child with access to both biological parents. So if your friend later decides he wants to be a dad, not just a donor, you could lose sole custody. Those are muddy waters I’d rather not ever have to wade through. I’m accepting the fact I don’t have a suitable dad for my future child (yet) and will need the help of an unknown, but much appreciated stranger. Choosing that perfect stranger is another challenge for another day.

There are dozens more decisions to be made, some of which I’ll gladly write about at a later date, but I’ve learned from my past not to cling too tightly to pre-laid plans. Our choices change as life changes. That’s okay. Sometimes the best plays are the audibles called on the line of scrimmage.

Book referenced: Mattes, Jane. Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood. New York: Times, 1994.

Photo credit: Richard Berg via photopin cc

Skipping Steps to My Happily-Ever-After

Originally posted January 11, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

Most women’s journey to motherhood begins with a trip to the bedroom. Mine began with a trip to my parents’ basement. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as kinky as that sounds.

While visiting my parents, I spied a pile of nostalgia on a dusty shelf downstairs: old photos, yearbooks, and my senior year psychology project. I think the project was supposed to be a sketch of our lives from birth to death, but hand a bunch of adolescents an assignment like this, and you’re just asking for a suburban girl’s mash-up of Sex in the City meets Cinderella, complete with magazine cut-outs of wedding dresses and beaus-to-be. I didn’t think of myself as overly boy-crazy back then. I certainly didn’t keep bridal clippings in my nightstand like some of my friends, but I was raised on Disney princesses, too. I knew how life was supposed to work out.

  • Step 1: Go to a top-ranked college. Get a degree in some glamorous major that will inevitably lead you to step two.
  • Step 2: Get settled in a fab career. Look good doing it (learn to wear glass slippers, or at least heels and suits with short skirts). Make a small fortune so you can achieve step three.
  • Step 3: Settle down and flaunt your independence. Get your finances in order. Buy a condo. Buy a house. Buy a closet like Carrie Bradshaw (really, who needs the rest?). Knowing you’re capable of step three will assure that you won’t settle when it comes to the all-important step four.
  • Step 4: Find a husband. Better yet, have him find you. Make him work for it. (After all, this is the teenage dream/Disney romance version, and I don’t recall Snow White whoring herself out on forty-five dating sites.) Once you’re adequately wooed, get married and move on to making whoopee—the only way you ever thought of getting to step five.
  • Step 5: Start a family. 
Have a kid. Have six. Get a nanny. Get a dog. It’s all good, because you and Prince Charming are in it together.

 Throw in a picket fence, and call it a day (or 18-25 years). Then kick up your feet and wait for grandbabies. That’s all that’s left before step six: kicking the bucket. (Retirement and life after kids wasn’t exactly fathomable to my teenage self.)

Perusing the pages I’d so proudly assembled at eighteen, I laughed at how naïve I was. I did get into a good school, but did not become the next Diane Sawyer. I never learned to wear heels, nor would I ever want a job now that would require them. The closet like Carrie’s kind of came, but it’s stuffed with hoodies and jeans in all sizes from fit to fat. Those first three steps aren’t exactly what I had in mind in high school, but I’m okay with the changes I made as I went along.

What never changed was my desire to reach steps four and five. I gave up the dream of bumping into Mr. Right, or even Mr. Big, and falling instantly in love. I came to grips with the fact I’d have to work for it. I’d have to put myself out there…and here…oh, and over there, too. I might not have exhausted all avenues, but I eventually exhausted myself. And time. Lots of time.

You can joke all you want about biological clocks tick-tocking away. But when it’s slowly becoming your reality, it’s a little less funny. So what’s a woman perpetually stuck on step three to do? Throw herself into her career, her home, her passions? Check. One master’s degree, one townhouse, two trips abroad, and four novels later, and guess what? I never forgot about those last few steps. I’m still on the lookout for my prince, but I’m also ready to move on.

Recently I took the first official step to becoming a single mother by choice. But my journey really began years ago, maybe even before I wrote that psychology project, when I decided that being a mother and raising a child was something I was meant to do, wanted to do, no matter what else came and went in my life. Maybe Prince Charming will never come. Or maybe he’ll come when I least expect it. Or maybe he’s already come (pun only partially intended) in the form of a donor willing to help me with this next step. But to mangle the words of Langston Hughes, I ain’t got no crystal ball, “But I won’t set down on the steps/’Cause I finds it’s kinder hard…/For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbing’”

Even if it means skipping steps.

Photo credit: sugarsharrk via photopin cc