Starting out as an SMBC?
What do you do if you know you really want to have a family but you haven’t found the right partner? Well in this video I am going to take you through the top ten steps that I would do if I was just starting out as a Single Parent By Choice.
Now if I was in the situation where I wanted to have a baby but wasn’t with a partner then there are a few important steps that I would be focusing on which I would encourage anyone in this situation to also do.
Number 1 – Reach out to other women who are already doing it
The first step would be to reach out to other women who are already doing what I want to do – this would include both single parents who have gone through a separation, as well as people who have chosen to become parents without a partner – if you know of anyone. Both types of families are going to give you insight as to what their biggest challenges are and how they cope.
Number 2 – Investigate your fertility
To be able to make the best decisions you need to know where your fertility is at and if you have any underlying fertility issues. So Step 2 is about getting your medicals, doing some research on fertility specialists – you want recommendations, and start collating data about your cycle – do you have bad cramping? Is your cycle regular? Have you been using hormonal contraception and what was the driver for that?
Number 3 – Start answering the unknowns
Uncertainty creates anxiety and overwhelm. Which on any kind of fertility journey there is a lot of! So start answering some of the questions that are bouncing around inside your head? What if I meet someone? What if I need IVF? What if I can’t get pregnant easily? What if I do get pregnant easily? What will I tell my family, my friends, my child? To help you with this I have prepared a list of 21 topics for you to start considering. Now this is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but it IS a great place to start. If you're interested in this topic, please join the SoulParent community to access this pdf to support you on your journey.
Number 4 – Start focusing on your fertility health.
If you don’t have a regular cycle, now is the time to explore ways of making it more regular. You might want to try acupuncture and Chinese herbs to support this. I also encourage doing a preconception supplement program with a naturopath who specialises in fertility. It takes three to four months for a nutritional supplementation program to impact the health of your eggs, so getting started earlier is a good idea.
I also suggest you seriously consider quitting alcohol and coffee as they both have a negative impact on your fertility and are not recommended during pregnancy, so finding alternative ways to survive without coffee and alcohol is a really good strategy. You’ll be so healthy and you’ll save money – which you’re going to need!
Which brings me to…
Number 5 – Get your finances in order!
So if you work through the Answering the Unknowns PDF that I have prepared for you, you will start to get an idea of the financial investment and responsibility that is required to become a parent.
You want to use any time prior to having a child to focus on paying down any debts and maximise your savings. This is also the time for gathering information regarding your maternity leave, ivf costs, and modelling your financial situation once you have your child so that you can implement changes now if required.
Number 6 – Educate Yourself Around Donor Options and Prioritise what is Most Important to You.
If you are considering becoming a Single Parent By Choice, then you need to be able to answer the question of HOW.
This is not a straightforward question by any means and I strongly encourage you to research the experiences shared by Donor Conceived Children so that you inform yourself of their perspective.
There are two main options – using a known donor and using an anonymous donor. Each option has benefits and drawbacks, so this is really something that you want to spend some time to understand.
Number 7 – Be Discreet
Discretion is so important on this journey. You do not want your work place knowing that you are considering becoming a parent. For one thing it could take a long time before you are pregnant – it happens. You just never know how long it is going to take.
If your management knows that you are planning a pregnancy than they will automatically start discounting your contribution to the workplace and overlooking you for job opportunities. This is totally unfair and is illegal, however so many people experience not having their contract renewed, or getting sidelined into a role that later gets made redundant. So discretion is really important.
Also you don’t want to be announcing your decision to the world, as being on a fertility journey is a major experience of surrender. You might have a pregnancy on your first try or it might take years and many thousands of dollars. You might have a miscarriage or suffer some traumatic loss. You can’t prepare for these things – they are very upsetting and heart breaking and the fewer people who know the less people you’ll have to update.
Number 8 – Cut Yourself Some Slack!
Probably the thing that I found the hardest when going through my own journey was that I experienced a lot of grief just from being in this situation. I had spent over a decade with my previous partner building what I thought was going to be the foundation for our family. To find myself starting my family on my own was really heartbraking. I also didn’t know anyone else who was doing it so I felt very isolated and alone.
Now, I can see that I most definitely am NOT alone, there are so many people – both men and women – who desperately long for the right partner to start their family with and yet they are on their own. There are many women sharing their journey on social media, there are communities known as Single Mothers by Choice in most western countries. And even though, for most of us, this is not how we envisioned our families – those of us who have been able to embrace motherhood and birth our children know JUST HOW LUCKY AND BLESSED WE ARE and we would not have it any other way. So be kind to yourself. This is a consequence of the massive changes in our society, and it’s a valid way to creating your family.
Number 9 - Make Big Decisions Sooner Rather than Later
Answering the unknowns and getting through the other steps I have already shared takes a lot of courage and decisiveness. You might feel like these are hard decisions to make – you might feel like they are too difficult to make. The truth is, this is the best time for you to make many of the decisions because if you are successful and you do have a baby it can be really difficult to think clearly about the big issues. For one thing, you are massively sleep deprived, you are also responsible for this tiny little human who is completely dependent on you. Being able to focus clearly and think logically is not something you can take for granted when you are looking after a newborn child. The more decisions you can make now, even if it is defining your plan A, B and C for a particular life area means that you have already crunched the logistics and you have defined your strategy – how you will handle that particular challenge. And you might say, “well I don’t know how I’m going to feel” which is totally valid, so what you can do is create a couple of different strategies.
Number 10 – Is To Get Started.
This journey is simple but not easy. Time may or may not be on your side. Either way, just start taking small steps towards creating your family. If you meet someone, fantastic! At least you’ll know that you can have a family and you’re not being held back by somebody else’s time line, you’ll know what your options are. Everything takes longer than you think it will, except for when it doesn’t! So just start. Small steps and keep moving forward.
So there you have it – those are my top tips if I was to start on my Single Parent By Choice journey today. Let me know what stood out for you and what questions you have for me!