By Mel Johnson
When I was 29 my relationship of seven years broke down unexpectedly and my world was turned upside down
Not to worry I thought to myself, there’s still plenty of time to meet someone else, settle down, get married and start a family. Except that’s not what happened.
After putting in a lot of effort dating, a few short term romances and many unsuccessful dates, I was still single as I approached 37. I wasn’t someone who hoped I’d meet a man while sitting at home on my sofa, I was out there, in amongst it, mingling. It just didn’t happen for me.
Around about this time a few of my friends were having some problems conceiving and starting the process of IVF
I was worried as I couldn’t even make it to this stage to identify if I had an issues as I had no-one to try with. It made me feel concerned that I didn’t know whether my fertility was an issue or not. With every year that ticked by, I began to feel more anxious about it.
In my friendship group of school friends, I was in the minority that didn’t have children. One by one all my single friends were meeting their partners, yet I remained single. As the years passed, I wasn’t feeling my best self on dates as the the pressure to meet someone started increasing when I felt my chances of starting a family slipping away. Under that much pressure it is hard to have great dates.
I felt very alone in this situation. It seemed like I was the only one who was struggling to find a partner
All around me people were coupling up. It felt like everyone I knew had managed to meet someone and started to add to their family, if that’s the path they desired. I couldn’t understand where I was going wrong and why I was the only one struggling with this.
I felt really successful in life. I had amazing friends and family, a great career, had lived in four different countries in some amazing places and travelled the world, I felt like I’d made the most of life. However in terms of relationships I felt like a failure. I just couldn’t seem to meet the right person. On the rare occasion I did meet someone I was excited about, the attraction was not mutual or we had very different expectations on a relationship.
My desire for motherhood was no less than anyone else who was in a couple, but I was so far behind in being able to make that a reality
I felt like I was running out of time. As each year passed my worry about my fertility increased. Maybe everything was OK and I’d still be able to get pregnant when I finally met someone, but maybe it wasn’t. I just didn’t know. I didn’t know if there was a way to find out. It was weighing me down like a heavy weight.
I made sure that during all this time I didn’t put my life on hold. I made the most of it and had amazing adventures, but all the while I was contemplating whether I should start the journey to motherhood alone. I kept on thinking that I should give it one more year to meet someone, but when I reached 37, I decided that if I didn’t go it alone, I might miss out on the opportunity altogether. I discussed it with close friends and family and everyone was extremely supportive.
Having gone through the IVF process with donor sperm at Manchester Fertility Clinic, I came away with three embryos.
I had a negative pregnancy test with my first embryo transfer and it took me a year to feel ready to try again. A year later, feeling stronger mentally and physically I tried again and now I have a six-month-old daughter Daisy from the second embryo transfer.
She fills my heart with joy every day. Although this is not how I dreamed of starting a family I wouldn’t change things for the world.
During my decision making process and throughout my pregnancy I found a lack of a community to engage with and knew no women in the same situation as me, which is why I created The Stork and I
It’s a space for single women in their 30s and 40s or younger women who have known fertility issues and are considering becoming solo mums, are on the journey, or have already had a baby and are trying to thrive. It includes a closed Facebook Group for discussion and advice as well as 1:2:1 coaching (I’m a qualified life coach)
It is my passion to support other women in similar circumstances and ensure they are empowered to understand their options and that they don’t feel on their own. Now I have created this community and connected with all these wonderful ladies around the world facing the same decisions and options, I feel so supported and hope they do to.
You can follow Mel’s journey of solo motherhood on her Instagram, Facebook, visit her blog or send her an email at email@example.com. For anyone embarking on the journey of solo motherhood, you can join The Stork and I Mum Tribe, a closed Facebook group for single mums and mums to be.
Would you like to share your story? We would love to hear from you. Just email us on firstname.lastname@example.org