I always knew my family was different. Happy and whole, but different. In the late 1980s, my mother decided she wanted a baby. More specifically, she wanted to have a baby by herself, as a single parent. So, her journey of becoming a single mother by choice began – and I was born in late 1991. I’m proud to have grown up in a single-parent household and credit my brave mum for the principled, loud, quick-witted woman I am today. Being a sperm-donor baby was never hidden or lied about in our home growing up. It was embraced, explored and made normal. It wasn’t until I grew up and saw the nuclear families growing around me that I realized how truly inspiring it is to actively decide to have a child on your own. My mother’s experience, challenges and triumphs are an early and exciting example of proactive single parenthood. I hope her story will empower and inspire those who are curious or considering single parenthood.
Did you always want children?
No. I used to complain that kids and cats were drawn to me and I disliked both of them. Sticky, scratchy, noisy, hairy.
When did you decide you wanted a baby?
When I was in my early 20’s a friend casually stated that relationship or no relationship, when she turned 30 she was going to start having her kids. I realized that finding a lifetime relationship wasn’t a prerequisite to having a child. It became more of an option for me. Also, her wording, she’d have HER kids. Not just some kids or a kid. Her kids. It was very empowering.
Was there a specific moment when you thought, ok, I’m just going to do it myself then?
In 1983, I was returning from a solo month-long vacation, my plane circled Toronto waiting to land and I looked down at the city and was disappointed to be coming back to the same life I left. I decided to change it all. I might want a baby, and if I do, I could start preparing now. Within 6 months I’d changed to a higher paying job, moved to a cheaper apartment so I could save for a house and bought my first car. Three years later I was in my house, had changed jobs three more times, increasing my income each time, and I’d turned 30. My mother had died and I missed her terribly. I realized that if I was ever going to be part of a mother-child relationship again I would need to switch positions.
My mom, Nancy, pregnant with me, 1991