Meet Ashley G.
Hey Mamas! Meet Ashley. She has an incredible story to share about becoming a single mom BY CHOICE. Ashley’s perspective is heartfelt and unique and she opened my own eyes to the growing Single Moms By Choice Movement. I’m thrilled that Ashley was brave enough to share her story. I’m also REALLY EXCITED to let you know that her baby girl just made her debut a couple of weeks ago. Mama and baby are happy and healthy but Ashley is very tired.
“If I’m not married by the time I’m 30, I’ll just have a baby on my own!” I feel like most women say something to this affect at least once in their lives, but rarely does the threat materialize. As a former personal matchmaker and self-proclaimed lover of “love”, I eagerly awaited Mr. Right to show up at my door with a dozen roses… or at least a bag full of tacos or ice cream. Well, he never came. Instead, he sent in his stead; Mr. Player, Mr. I don’t know what I want right now, and my personal favorite, Mr. let’s just have fun for the night.
During my college years I threw myself into education and self-improvement. I love setting goals and working towards them. It became a competition as to how much I could get done, how much I could plan and how could I reach “a better me.” It was sometime in my mid-twenties where I said: “I want to visit all fifty states before I turn 30!” Once I got the idea, it was off to planning! It took me five years to complete, but I did it! It was during this time I found solace in my own company. I was “okay” with being alone and doing activities solo. I’m an introvert by nature, so really, this is no surprise. I found that I actually enjoyed the freedom of picking up and going here and there. I never understood why my friends and family would be so shocked and appalled that I could keep myself entertained on a weeklong cross-country trip.
Even with keeping busy, as time passed, I still longed for a child. Someone who I could nurture into a productive citizen and impart what I have learned throughout life. I remembered my loosely binding agreement with myself “I’m not married by the time I’m 30, I’ll just have a baby on my own!” Well, I was 29 years old and graduating from grad school when I decided I should at least research how feasible this idea was.
When I started my research, I stumbled across the term Single Mother By Choice. It was defined as a woman who made the decision from the beginning to have children on her own. This was usually with the help of a sperm donor and possibly an egg donor or by adopting as a single mom. This is EXACTLY what I could envision in my future.
I found that there were groups of these “Single Mothers By Choice” (often abbreviated to SMBC) all over the world. The more I researched, the more I knew this was something I wanted to do. I felt that I wasn’t quite ready at age 29 to take on this responsibility. I needed to plan. I joined several SMBC groups ranging from travel focused, budgeting, to local chapters. I found great advice on how to save money to fund this venture, advice on which route to take to get pregnant, and met other women who were already in the process of trying to conceive (often abbreviated to TTC).
It took me roughly 18 months to decide I was ready to move forward with this process. During that period, I paid off debt, saved money, and searched for the best sperm bank that fit my needs. I realized during this time that not only raising a child was expensive but also TTC. I used a combination of sperm from a nationally known donor bank and also a known donor. I tried a few months with the known donor before going to a fertility clinic to ensure I was healthy enough to carry my own baby. I was given the green light after running numerous tests – and spending thousands of dollars. I had no idea that most fertility services weren’t covered by medical insurance companies. This means I had to pay out of pocket each time I visited my fertility doctor. This process included genetic testing, meeting with a psychologist for a psychiatric evaluation and ultrasounds. Once I received the news that my eggs were fine and that I was healthy enough to have a child without the use of medical interventions, I decided to change my donor. I used Donor 10A02, from a sperm bank in Seattle, Washington. This bank does not provide adult pictures of the donors for privacy reasons however provides a detailed medical history, biograph and child pictures. I found 10A02 charming. I loved his bright blue eyes, his adventurous outdoor spirit and interest in history. I eventually used two vials of his sperm before testing positive in November 2020. I found out on Thanksgiving, actually. I had a lot to be thankful for that day!
I am due in early August 2021. I have spent the entirety of my pregnancy explaining to others what a SMBC is and how I intend to raise a baby alone. I’ve gotten many snarky remarks about choosing to raise a baby without a father and how it would affect my unborn child. These comments were a bit nerve racking at first, but then I realized most people have a negative opinion because it’s a life they wouldn’t be strong enough to handle! Being a single mother means I am doing the work of two parents day and night. There are no days off. There are no sharing financial responsibilities. There is no rolling over in bed and confiding in my partner. And I understand that. I embrace that. I am more than happy to take on this challenge. I have known children to whom grew up with both parents and had significant emotional trauma from seeing their parents argue and fight. I have known children who experienced one parent coming in and out of their lives due to jail, drugs, or sometimes simply a lack of interest in being a parent. There is no indication that having two parents in a household is any better than having one parent/caregiver. Its age-old theory of nature vs. nurture. As long as I, a single mother, show my child attention, care, and love, I believe the construction of our family has no negative bearing on her development.
For me, the most attractive feature of being single mother is not having to consult with someone else about parenting styles, education and discipline. These are solely up to me. I have been in control of every aspect of my pregnancy, planning for the baby’s arrival, and the “fourth trimester” and I cannot imagine it any other way. It takes a lot of courage, energy and strength to take on the role of single mother, but I am so excited and honored to take on this journey.
5 Ways Single Moms Can Recover from a Big Financial Mistake
Does this financial mistake sound familiar? Christmas is approaching, and you want to give your kiddos the best darn Christmas you can. So you head to the mall. You swipe your credit card 27 different