Going it alone, a story of social infertility

Are you one of thousands of women who are considering having a child on your own? At 37, Mel Johnson decided to do just that. In her own words, she explains her experience

When I decided to go through fertility treatment on my own, the predominant emotion I experienced was loneliness. I wasn’t actually alone as I have a great network of friends and family around me. However, I did feel like I was the only person in the world who needed to go through IVF because I didn’t have a partner to try naturally with.

I’ve recently seen this situation in the media named social infertility. The term used to describe women who are struggling to conceive naturally thanks to their single status coupled with their age, as opposed to those who have difficulty conceiving thanks to health or biological issues. It seems to be a scenario getting ever more common.

During my treatment, I wasn’t sure where I fitted into the fertility community, a place others were finding great support.

I was going through IVF due to lack of access to sperm as a result of having no partner, rather than any specific identified fertility issue. I worried that other women battling with fertility issues felt like my situation was different or less important and wondered whether I was welcome in this community. I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. It’s important to point out that this was to do with my own anxieties, as opposed to anything anyone else had said or done. I’m sure I was totally welcome, I just sometimes felt like an outsider.

Following my treatment and the birth of my daughter, I decided to set up The Stork and I, to provide support to women in the same situation

I’ve realised that there are many women all around the world who are in the same position I was. It’s incredibly common for them to feel quite alone and they find real comfort from joining a community of women in very similar circumstances.

The Stork and I offers a sense of community for solo mums around the globe, supporting people to feel less alone in their situation. We have fortnightly Facebook Live sessions on The Stork and I Mum Tribe, Facebook Group. We’ve had Fertility Nutrition, Dating as a Solo Mum and Adopting as a Solo Mum. We have a schedule of sessions for the New Year covering a broad range of topics.

The Stork and I website has a section called solo mum stories. This space is designed to encourage women to share their stories of their journey to solo motherhood. I find it’s so comforting reading about others who have gone through similar experiences.

A podcast for solo mums is now live. The first episode covers feelings about Unknown Fertility

This is the anxiety that many women feel when they are approaching their mid 30s or 40s and are not in a position to start trying for a baby as they are single. The issue is that they are unaware whether they will face challenges to conceive if and when they meet someone to start trying with. This unknown fertility can cause huge anxiety which in turn can make it harder to meet someone. Watch out for the second episode which explores the role of grandparents.

If you or someone you know is currently considering embarking on fertility treatment as a single woman, for fear of missing out on motherhood altogether if they wait any longer to meet a partner, then point them in the direction of The Stork and I Preparing to Thrive Webinar. This is a totally free webinar for solo mum thinkers and try. It’s an unique opportunity to work through all aspects of your decision and put yourself in the best possible position to thrive.

The key for me, is a real sense of community and the support that comes from that. It’s so comforting to know there are others who really understand what you are going through and are there to offer advice and reassurance. If you are in this situation, or you know someone who is considering this route, the great news is that there is a really positive, supportive community who are there to lend an ear, share their experiences, or offer a shoulder to cry on and words of encouragement. Head over to The Stork and I for more information.


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