It’s an intimidating decision, choosing a fertility clinic, especially on your own. I’ve been researching various clinics for a few weeks. Last night I visited the first one on my short-list. No one knew I was going there. As I got nearer the excitement started to turn to nerves. As I walked inside I steeled myself ready for the emotions as I saw the happy couples going through this together.
I arrived half an hour before the information evening even started, so paranoid was I of getting lost and arriving late. As I walked down the corridor to the waiting room I passed the wall of miracles. Photos upon photos of smiling little babies that this clinic had helped bring into being. The wall showed some of the most wanted children in Britain. The emotions softly swept over me; happiness for those couples who waited so long for their babies to arrive safely, excitement that I may have a face to put on that wall one day, and sadness that I wasn’t doing this in the way I’d ever imagined.
I waited in the room alone. Tapping away on my phone trying to keep busy. A large group of us were taken on a tour of the place. It all looked very much as you would expect, medical and hospital like – official and sterile, yet with lots of very friendly faces. It wasn’t too dissimilar to the tours you get of the maternity wings when you’re pregnant, even the atmosphere was similar. Hope and expectation, with a sprinkling of nerves. We’d all arrived there for different reasons, most of them challenging, yet despite that the positivity in the room somehow unified us all, that and the group snigger at the ‘sperm production’ room.
After the tour we were ushered into a room for questions. There were couples there, happy and nervous. There were also a few like me – single women. I checked to see who was wearing a ring, wondering if any of the woman sat there were going it alone. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. I wasn’t emotional looking at those couples, I was practical. All the preparation and research I’d been doing stood me in good stead, I flipped open my notebook and reeled off my questions, I wasn’t wasting any opportunity to find out how this whole thing worked.
As I was sitting there though a thought hit me. What if I couldn’t have another child? I’d been so focused on IF I should try for a baby I hadn’t let myself think that this could be the start of a long and difficult journey; one I’m undertaking alone. While I’ve thought about the implications of lone parenting; I’ve never considered failing to become one. Am I strong enough to handle that? Whether ‘that’ be losses or months of negative results. Under normal circumstances I’d probably have cried at this thought. But this is where the Prozac comes into its own, gently sucking up the tears into its empty void before they can be shed.
As I cycled home from the clinic I wondered – is this all too easy? I’d only just decided to do this. Now here I am, possibly just a month or two away from giving it a go. That seems too easy. Like a no fault divorce. But it’s not. I know it’s not, others might not know the truth, but what does that matter? I’ve contemplated this baby behind the scenes for two years. It’s unlikely to be a quick journey; now is the time to start trying.
A few days later I phoned the clinic to make my initial consultation. I didn’t need to check out those other clinics I’d shortlisted. I’d made my choice and I wanted to get this started. I felt my heart lurch a little as I told the receptionist I was coming in as a single person. She explained what forms I needed to complete. I hung up feeling agitated, anxious almost, yet excited. This marked the beginning of something so very, very amazing for me and my son it was wonderful. The only feeling of sadness was that I felt I couldn’t share it with anyone.
Things weren’t quite as simple as I’d expected though. The forms I sent weren’t right, after a lot of back and forth I finally arranged my initial appointment. They couldn’t fit me in for a while, it was frustrating – now I’ve started going down this path I wanted to get going. I’ve spent enough time umming and arrhhing about the whole thing. If you’d have asked me before how I would have felt making these appointments, phoning strangers and talking about being a solo mum and wanting donor sperm I would have imagined it would be awkward, upsetting even. But it’s not been like that at all. There has been no judgement from any of the people I’ve interacted with. I would love to hope that everyone I meet on this journey will treat me with the same respect, but I’ve a feeling that’s unlikely.
Tomorrow I will be going to the clinic for my first appointment. It’s just to discuss options and do initial tests but it costs a fair whack so I’ve already done a tonne of research and am going armed with 73 questions (approximately). I hope they are ready for it. I feel like I should be nervous. But I’m not. Well, OK, maybe a little. I have to drop my son at nursery bang on 8 am to be able to make it to the appointment on time and I have to hope that it isn’t chucking it down with rain as it’s a pretty long cycle. Perhaps that’s good though. I imagine I’ll arrive in a whirlwind and have no time to feel nervous. There is just that little voice in the back of my mind that worries they will question my ability to be a good parent, after all I’ve not had the smoothest of rides over the last few years. Wish me luck!
If you are interested in this story of contemplating becoming a single mum by choice then you can follow my blog on facebook. Just go to my page here and give me a like to stay up to date with my latest blogs. And follow me on twitter @EllamentalMama I’ll be writing more about this in the coming months
This is part of my single mum by choice series. You can read all about it here: