Does a child really need a father?
I’m occasionally asked about Alexander’s dad and I always give the same answer. I’m single mum by choice. That doesn’t mean I had a relationship that didn’t work, it doesn’t mean I got pregnant by accident. I chose to become a mum and raise my child without a partner. I’m not alone in it as I have a wonderful family – my parents and my brother all supported my choice and knew for years I was going to do it.
I get told I’m brave for doing it, I’m an inspiration. No I’m not, I’m just set in my ways and didn’t want the trappings of a relationship. I tried them, I didn’t like it. I spent the last five years before I became a mum in relationships with two completely different men who if anything assured me that I was doing the right thing doing it alone.
I researched – I spent years looking at clinics, spend banks, IVF, success rates, parent stories, legal battles. I had options of course and the original plan was to travel to Denmark. The Danish are not only the happiest nation but they sport the world’s largest sperm bank- coincidence? I had planned to start my journey in 2020 and had planned for 6-12 months of trying. It turns out some things in life, are meant to be.
I met someone who gave me the chance to become a mum… and crazy as it sounds I went for it. It seemed the right thing. Crazy, but the right thing. He was Greek… I speak Greek! In fact, better than he does! He was from a tiny island I’d not long since visited. We had similar interests and, did I mention he was Greek? We talked it over of course. What did he want from it? Nothing. What was the worst that could happen? It wouldn’t work and I’d go back to the back up plan. And so we tried.
I expected (and I believe he did too) that it would take several months of trying so I was flabbergasted when nine days later I saw the words I’d only dreamed of for years
I was petrified that in the early weeks something would go wrong. It felt too good to be true after years of waiting and being told that being peri-menopausal and overweight to boot that I might needs to give Mother Nature a helping hand.
I counted off every milestone, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, a gender scan at 17 weeks revealed I was having a boy, 24 weeks, 30 weeks and so on. The pregnancy went smoothly although I became hypoglycaemic.
I was constantly asked about the father. Would we be a couple? Would he be involved? Would he support me financially? A lot of these came from relatives who seemed to think that I had been joking. “I’m single mum by choice” became a tag line that slipped off my lips as easily as my name. Someone once told me I did the same with my hair and that it was probably because I was subconsciously anxious about it. If anyone comments on my hair I always say “thanks, it’s a wig”. I’ve never thought that this was an anxiety on my part but why hide the truth? By talking about it and sharing my experience I’ve helped dozens of women through their own hair loss journey. Single motherhood isn’t something to be ashamed of any more than alopecia is. By talking about it, being upfront about it I hope to help other women achieve the same.
People often react to my statement of choice with a “oh, I’m sorry”. Sorry for what exactly I’ve never understood? Sorry I didn’t choose one of my exes to start a family? Sorry I didn’t stay in a relationship destined for failure? Sorry I didn’t do the social norm and stick it out in misery? I’m not saying women with partners are miserable – I’m saying it wasn’t for me.
“Hasn’t he met his dad yet?” is a great question. No, he hasn’t. Will he? Maybe, one day. But that’s not up to me and had I used a sperm bank it wouldn’t be an option so it’s not one I get hung up on.
“You might meet someone” is another pearl of wisdom. Of course! I meet people every day. Heaven forbid I’d be outcast from society as a fallen woman and destined for a spinster life. Of course I might meet someone. I still date. I’m still a woman, but I’m a mother first which is what I always wanted.
“What will you tell Alexander when he’s older?” – another favourite. I wonder what people think I’ll say? Perhaps they think I’ll tell him some richly woven tale of star crossed lovers but just like Juliet and her Romeo, it didn’t work out. Of course I’ll tell him the truth. That I wanted to have him more than anything in the world and I was lucky enough to meet someone who helped make that happen. He will know who, he will know his roots but beyond that he has no need for a father. He has a mummy, two amazing grandparents, his Uncle and Auntie who tie the knot later this year as they are socially more normal than I am. He has love. What else does he need?