In March, we posted an article that discussed social infertility, a term that is used for those who want to conceive, but may have not found a partner they would like to conceive with.
This is our first interview about someone’s personal experience with social infertility. We want to thank Lana for being our first interviewee and for being so open about her experience.
We hope to share more of these kinds of stories in the future as well. If you know anyone who would like to share their story of infertility/pregnancy loss/social infertility with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) What is your personal experience with social infertility and what do you think about the term social infertility?
The term is new to me. I like that there is an identified title for people in my situation. I feel that it validates my experience.
I've constantly ended up in the wrong relationship. First, I was with a guy who told me that he wanted kids, and that he was ready, and when I thought we succeeded (but ended up being a false alarm) I cried, but he sighed with relief. Our relationship ended soon after that.
My next partner was a divorcee with two kids that he had equal custody of. I spent lots of time with them and then one day he decided that he was done having kids. It was the most heartbreaking breakup because it was that one factor that led me to have to leave. I knew I wouldn't feel complete without attempting to have children of my own.
Then I was in two more relationships where whenever we were in a tough spot, the phrase, "but I want you to be the mother of my children" was used to manipulate me. One relationship was nearly 6 years and in the next, I had a moment after about a year where he had made no steps toward parenthood other than that phrase.
Then I just decided all I need was one part of a man in order to have a baby. And I sought out a donor option.
A very special friend of mine and I sat down when I moved back to the area he lived in and we went over what our expectations for this was. Then it went into writing and with a witness, we signed off on an agreement. Half-way through the pregnancy, we went over it again and re-initialed everything. I added one more line and we were set. I was grateful for this option as it saved me a lot of time, anxiety, and medical intervention.
2) How has it made your life worse? How has it made your life better?
I feel I wasted time in my life seeking out the 'fairy-tale' and that I should have sought a donor option sooner. It also made me stronger in so many ways and I am not sure I would have been ready for this without going through what I went through. I also didn't have the friendship with my donor that I now have. I probably would have expended much more time and money finding a donor.
3) When & how did you realize that you were going to be able to carry on regardless of what happened next?
About a year ago. I hit a point and said, “That's it, I'm doing this however I can on my own if I have to!” A few nights later, I was on the phone with my donor friend who said that he would be willing to help me if I wanted him to. And I finally felt hope again. I had my hormones checked as I had been through some recent weight changes in both directions. Everything looked good so we decided to proceed with the plan.
4) What have you learned through this experience?
The biggest thing I learned was finding out who my true supporters were. I also learned how strong I could be for myself. I often felt alone at the end of the day after seeing friends and family with their 'normal' families. It would get to me. But then I would also see on some FB groups and app chats, women commenting how unhelpful and disappointing their partners were. I at least knew I'd not have that kind of disappointment. I'd had enough of that and felt better about my choice.
5) What do you hold on to for hope/courage/strength on your bad days?
The fact I accomplished what I aimed to to do. I believe that no matter what life throws at me, I can handle it. With ups come downs, and now that I have my met my biggest life goal, I feel that I can tackle anything else!
6) How do you feel about your experience with social infertility on your good days?
I feel very empowered. I love chatting with other SMBC (Single Moms by Choice). Or talking to women who are considering it. I love being hope for someone else, or someone who they can identify with.
7) In what ways has your experience with social infertility changed you as a person?
It’s made me stronger for sure. More sure of myself and making big choices. I think it helped me with my career as that also took off in an amazing direction this past year. I like to feel control in my life and this gave me a big opportunity to take control of it in the most productive way (for me).
I hope my story helps someone who feels a loss of hope or discouragement. I have no regrets. With my baby girl in my arms I feel so complete. I have many moments of, “Is this really real? Is she actually here and mine?”
8) How have others responded to your infertility situations? Has it impacted your relationships? What are some things you’ve been told that have been helpful/harmful?
Most were really supportive. Anyone who knows me even a bit knows that I love kids and I've always wanted children of my own. And most also witnessed the last ten years of disappointments in my life. Many told me that they were proud of me for doing it solo, how strong that is, and that I would be an amazing mom. That helped me get through the first few months with negative pregnancy tests. And the days when I was feeling 'alone', I'd be reminded by my support system that I'm strong enough, old enough, and so ready for this, even alone.
Connecting to other SMBC was also very helpful. Being able to be very honest with them, whether it was about loneliness, body image, personal feelings of… I don't want to say regret… but worry and fear and 'what if' feelings.
9) Tell us about you. What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
Motherhood was my main passion and pursuit. I also recently got into pet nutrition (main focus is on cats and dogs) and species-appropriate diets. I teamed up with a friend who owns a small pet store who wanted to focus on healthy animal feeding. We've grown the business so much since September. I'm very proud of that. I love animals as much as I love kids. I love helping people keep their pets healthy at the base level.
10) What is your favourite quote?
"Growing OLD is Mandatory, Growing UP is Optional".