I met the lovely Kaitlyn Abdou in a FaceBook group for writers. She was a a ball of nervous about to attend her very first writer’s critique group in her area. She sent me a sample of her writing and that moment I knew! Kaitlyn has the writing chops and the teachable attitude to make it far in this industry (lets just say her writing is NOT GLOOPY).
As June winds down, I am still heavy under a pile of work. Without people like Kaitlyn, Katrena, Liberty, and Shirley I would be lost.
Here it is folks! Thank you, again, Kaitlyn for helping me dig out!
Love and Support: My Journey toward Motherhood
By: Kaitlyn Abdou
Dacia’s wonderful blog is about writing and mommy life. When she asked for a few guest articles, I leapt up gladly to help. I am a writer, but I am not a mommy.
Today, I got up at 5:00 AM, fed my three wee beasties (meow!), ate something myself, and got dressed and ready to drive the two hours into Boston (ugh, that rush hour traffic!) to make it for an 8:30 appointment in the fertility clinic at Mass General Hospital to meet with a mental health counselor and to have five vials (five!) of blood drawn. I’m woozy, sipping away at my delicious cookie-flavored ice coffee, and feeling like I could cry from happiness.
Why did I have to meet with the counselor? It’s required for all women or couples seeking fertility treatments like IUI (artificial insemination) or IVF (in vitro fertilization) to ensure they understand what they are undertaking, and that they have a support system. For couples, it is mostly to ensure they have a support system, since couples seeking fertility treatments this drastic are doing it because they cannot do it on their own and are likely suffering emotionally from it. For single women like myself, it’s to make sure we are given all the tools we need to handle the process on our own.
I am going to be a single mother by choice, or “Choice Mom.”
Why am I doing this? My entire life, I have pretty much known I wanted to be a mother. I love children, I love nurturing people. I love educating and guiding. My entire life, I have also known that I did not want to get married, or even date. I love being single. Thanks to science today, I can have both. I am also extremely fortunate to have the unconditional support of my friends and family—something I know most women in my position do not enjoy.
There is a stigma associated with single motherhood—be it by choice or chance. I am not going to write about that today. There are countless articles online about the struggles of single motherhood. This article is going to be something to make you smile, because I can’t stop smiling myself. This article is going to be full of me bragging. This article is going to be filled with happiness.
Before I get into my bragging, though—I think it’s prudent to touch on a few subjects that people can often be sensitive about. Firstly: Am I robbing my child of a loving father? The answer to that is simply: No, I don’t think I am. I’m not taking anything away from my future child. That is not to say that children don’t need fathers—my father is my rock, and one of my best friends. I love him dearly and can’t imagine my life without him.
Why don’t I feel like I’m taking anything away from my child, then? Well, simply because my child will have my father. She or he will have my brothers-in-law, who I love dearly as well. My child will have the guidance of my dearest friends, both male and female. Yes, our family will be different than the traditional two parent household, but my child will not lack for love or nurturing or support. Leah Campbell at Babble.com wrote a short article mentioning the statistics of children of single mothers by choice and children who grew up in a traditional household which you can read here. I don’t want you to go away from this article thinking I am a man-hating, bra-burning witch—I promise that isn’t why I’m choosing to go down this road alone. I’m choosing this because it happens to be what works best for my situation, and I am a true believer that happy, healthy families come in all different varieties.
The second subject is my choice to have a child via IUI instead of adopting or fostering. Truth be told, when I originally decided to become an SMBC (single mother by choice—yes! We even have an acronym!) I originally had planned to adopt, or foster. Adopting, I figured out quickly, was not an option for me. I hated to admit it, but the costs involved in adopting are not ones that I can afford. The costs to adopt a child are astronomical. I remember watching my mother’s best friend try for years—YEARS—to adopt a child with her husband. They spent tens of thousands of dollars trying, and finally had to give up on their dream.
Fostering, of course, is government funded. I spent a long time researching fostering to adopt, asking questions, joining forums. I even made phone calls and started filling out forms to start the initial interviews—but after learning more about the process, seeing that the courts could give or take children on a whim, or suddenly stop the adoption process if the birth parents changed their mind, I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle the emotional toll that would take on me by myself. In the end, IUI was the best option for me—the one I knew I could afford both financially and emotionally.
Now, back on the topic of happiness and my appointment this morning, there is something truly heart-warming about being told that you are a “breath of fresh air.” That is what the counselor said to me today in our meeting. She was surprised by how very well prepared I was, how much research I had already done. I have already built myself a support system, a safety net. I have already provided plans for emergencies when I become a mom. I have already provided myself with the ‘village’ it will take to raise my child. I haven’t even chosen a donor yet, and I am already planning and preparing the nursery! I am a planner, and I have a bit of an obsessive personality, so when I decide to do something, you better believe I am going to do it as thoroughly as it can possibly be done!
I went into that appointment this morning sleepy and nervous. When I left, I felt more alive and confident about my decision than I ever have. It was not what I expected to feel, but I am so grateful for it. Answering questions about what kind of support system I will have to fall back on in case I need it made me realize all over again how very lucky I am to have such open-minded parents and sisters who have my back no matter what.
Yes, I am an adult—but I think it holds true that most adults still look to their parents for guidance, support, and, if not permission, their approval. I am someone who has never been much for asking permission, but I have always sought approval. So, when I told my parents two years ago that I wanted to become a single mother by choice, I was both shocked and incredibly grateful when the first question my father asked was, “do you want the crib upstairs in your sister’s old bedroom?”
My mother, however, was not impressed with that question. She insisted that she would need that crib and that they would have to buy me a new one instead.
Now here I am, two years later, finally about to make my dream happen. The meeting with the counselor today marked the last required appointment before starting the actual process of trying to get pregnant! Now, all I have left to do is choose my donor. It’s a task that has proven to be far more daunting than I could have ever imagined.
You don’t realize how strange it will be to scroll through thousands of donors on a website database until you have had to sit down and actually do it. I click on baby pictures and think, “is this what my baby will look like? Will they look more like me, or more like him? Should I choose someone who looks like me?”
Then there are the interviews, the medical records, the family history. It’s a lot to take in and process on your own, so after a family dinner last Sunday, I asked my parents for their help and support in this as well. They readily agreed to help me choose the donor almost as soon as I asked them (after the initial shock wore off, I suppose!).
Soon, I will be sitting down with my mom and dad to look through donors and pick the perfect one to help me start my own little family, and I can’t help but think of it as symbolic. Not only will I be making my first huge decision as a mother, but I will be making it with them at my side, supporting and encouraging me unconditionally as I hope to do for my own child someday.
Kaitlyn Abdou is a business owner, homeowner, cat mom, and hopeful soon-to-be-human mom as well! She writes queer romance and fantasy and has a new blog for her writing and ramblings at KaitlynAbdou.com. She has a weekly serial on her blog titled “Pride & Prejudice: A Queer Love Story that has Nothing to do with Jane Austen” that updates every Friday afternoon! You can also find Kaitlyn on FaceBook and follow the progress of her first full length novel, The Daffodil Witch, on ChapterBuzz.com .
Dacia M Arnold