Since my youth, I hoped that one day I would have a baby. And when I turned thirty, I began to feel pregnancy urges that spurred myriad daydreams about my future reproductive possibilities. But as a single, queer-identified woman, I seriously wondered how that might actually occur.
Would I eventually marry a woman with whom I’d raise a family — perhaps via contributions of a donor-relative on her side? Maybe we’d ask a close friend to share in a lifetime of parenting? Perhaps we’d meet a gay male couple delighted to co-create a kid — a kind of gender-fluid gestation.
Fast-forward five years. There was no wife in sight, no suitable cisgender man-friend nearby, and no available gay male couple in my inner circle. And as my desire to grow my family soared, it became clear that my path to parenthood would unfold quite differently then expected.
In rolling out Plan B — intentional solo parenting via anonymous donor — I felt prepared, because I had already imagined pregnancy through self-fertilization. After selecting a local sperm bank, I picked my heirloom seed. I then turned my physical form into a fecund field. It was an empowering process of planting and propagating my very own progeny.
All of which is to say, the path to intentional solo pregnancy does not typically lead one along the straight and narrow. Having a more open-minded approach can sometimes yield a surprising surplus. In my family’s case, it was a surplus of donor-sibling sisters (siblings from other mothers who used the same donor) — one of whom happens to be the daughter of a lesbian couple I already knew. These unanticipated offshoots of our uniquely formed family tree were a true gift.
But intentional solo pregnancy requires steadfast self-determination, because you’re undertaking such a marked departure from the dominant, heteronormative, married-parent paradigm. You need conviction and fierce courage.
For strength along the way, surround yourself with people who respect your choices and value inclusivity regarding family formation. Fortunately, such supportive connections can be cultivated through online groups such as ChoiceMoms (ChoiceMoms.org) and Single Mothers by Choice (SingleMothersbyChoice.org). Flocking with folks of a feather, especially during the thinking and trying stage, helps fight feelings of isolation In that regard, classes at Oakland’s Then Comes Baby, (Then-Comes-Baby.com), might be just the ticket.
When you need restorative grounding, connecting with the wider ecosystem (our sustaining source) can lead to an exceptional self-care practice. Lazing about in nature uniquely feeds the expecting body and soul. If you can take a solo babymoon (a vacation just before giving birth), then make it a priority. Alone time, before baby, is important. Milk it if you can.
As a solo-parent-to-be, it’s also essential to call upon your compassionate community and the revitalizing energy of the Earth. It not only will help keep you fortified, but also ultimately help in harvesting a happy, healthy, and fruitful family.
If you have a question for Meghan Lewis or one of our other parenting columnists, email Express editor Robert Gammon at [email protected]