It was a late summer afternoon, I was working with my sister in the studio when I looked up at her and said "you're pregnant". She denied that she was, but when questioning her about her period she realised she was probably about a week late. She didn't 'feel' pregnant, but I just knew. I'd always get a feeling when someone was pregnant way before they were showing or had said anything. Maybe a sixth sense or intuition, who knows!
I drove to Tesco and came back with pregnancy tests and sat with her while she tested. Pregnant, 3+ showed up. I was excited, she was shocked, she had barely been trying, this would be her second baby. Marley her firstborn was about to turn four. We went inside together to tell my mum and dad. Everyone was thrilled.
A few hours later Lucy said to me "when are you going to have a baby then". A stupid question. I'd been single for 5 years and had had a few recent disastrous dates. We had discussed this years before and I half-heartedly agreed that if I was still single when I reached 35 I'd 'go it alone'. Honestly, I was mostly putting it off, a discussion to be had in the future, but now that future was here. I was 35. I'd recently had a minor operation which had resulted in me nearly losing my life and had just a week before had a frank discussion with my mum about her thinking I was wasting my life, just working and never enjoying myself. Why had I been given another chance at life if I was just going to waste it? Everything that I considered fun, was fun because my nephew Marley was involved in some way. The innocence and spirit of a child who I had loved like he was my own, made everyday life worthwhile. Everything else just felt mundane. I had long since left the days of drinking and partying behind me and at this point thought I'd be settled with a family long before now.
"When are you going to have a baby then" she repeated. I caved and agreed I would do a pros and cons list of going it alone. By now I would usually have shut this conversation down. I'd been thinking about this for years, was I really brave enough?
Pros- I don't have to think of anyone else but me and my baby. I can bring my baby up the way I like without having to compromise on beliefs. I don't have to feel rushed to meet the right person. I don't have to worry about getting into a relationship and then it not working out and having a child caught up in the mix. I get to be a strong independent woman without relying on a man's day-to-day input. I have an incredibly supportive family around me. I'd be making my own family. I'm still young enough to do it. I've always wanted a baby and I would be going after my dream of becoming a mum. If I met someone in the future they would more than likely by this stage in their life have children anyway. Everyone who mattered to me was on board. I could still work and provide for my baby and mum would help with childcare, as she did with Lucy. I'd hopefully get to experience being pregnant alongside my sister, a dream we had both always had. They'd get to grow up alongside my nephew and his soon-to-be brother or sister.
Cons- It would be expensive. Would the baby feel like it was missing out because they didn't have a dad? Could I cope alone?
Wow. Apart from the main worry of would my baby be missing out, I didn't have any real cons, and a big list of pros. After lots of discussing, soul searching, and listening to the people around me who really mattered, I concluded that family's come in all shapes and sizes these days and I would make sure any potential baby was loved beyond measure by me and my family, they would not be missing out. They would not be entering a toxic environment, and I would always be open and honest with that baby from the get-go. This baby was going to know it was wanted and loved.
So just like that after years of deliberating I had made up my mind. I was going to start living again. The thing is with me, when I make a decision and want something, I don't like to waste time. I wanted a baby and I wanted one now! I just needed a loving nudge from my sister, who it turns out knew me better than I knew myself.
Unsurprisingly no more work was done that day. My thoughts were all consumed by the need to have a baby. Where did I need to start? Well most importantly although I would be going it alone (if you can call it that, with my family support) I would still need the help of a man. I'd looked before and I knew there were websites where you could access sperm donors in the UK. I already knew I wanted to do it all above board though, and although this may have been a cheaper option, I wanted my baby to be able to trace back its donor when they were 18, should they choose to do so. I'm interested in my family history and have previously joined websites such as ancestory.com, so it was important to me that my baby has the option of knowing its genetic links. The law now states that when a donor child reaches the age of 18 they can contact their donor, and if both parties agree then they can meet up, write, speak on the phone, and form as little or as much of a bond as they both like. I started by looking at sperm banks in England. The database was very low, probably because of the newer law, and the information available was very basic. Eye colour, hair colour, height, profession, education, nothing personal. It didn't sit right with me.
I looked further afield and found that Danish sperm banks have much more information available. A full biography, pictures of when they were a child, their likes, dislikes, and dreams, even their family's medical history and professions. There were lots of options, how would I choose? It's such a big decision to make, choosing the other genetic half of your baby without forming any bond with that person. I started on a shortlist, I got rid of anyone who I didn't get a good vibe from, whose views and morals were polar opposite to mine, or who looked completely different from me. I felt that as my baby wouldn't have a dad it would be more important that they had a family resemblance to me. My family is fair, and as a child, I was blond and am obviously still blue-eyed. My sister the same, and my nephew we joked often looked Scandinavian with his white-blonde hair and blue eyes. Luckily this fits the bill with a lot of the danish profiles.
I grabbed my phone, my pen and notepad, and a supply of drinks and snacks and went for a family meeting, on my mums' bed of all places with my sister and mum. For hours and hours, we sat there looking through each profile and narrowing it down. The section where they stated why they were donating was really important to me. Some were honest and said it was for the money, others had had family members with infertility problems and wanted to help. Some just wanted to do something good for someone else. I kept coming back to the same profile, a man who had quite a strong resemblance to me as a child. He seemed kind, had a family of his own, was into health and fitness and his family had supported his decision to donate. His voice recording to his potential donor-recipient was that life was a gift not to be taken for granted and to always treat others kindly and how you would wish to be treated. Most importantly he said that he would be more than happy to meet up with any potential baby when they reached 18, should they so wish. I knew he was the one, and luckily my family agreed. It feels like just yesterday we were sitting there, scrolling away, choosing one of the most important decisions of my life. I'd finally decided to go it alone, and I had chosen my donor, I was ready to go!