I gave birth to my son on April 3rd, 2014. He is simply perfect! I can’t imagine mothering any other baby. There is no way to explain how much he truly feels like 100% my child. But he doesn’t actually share any genetic material with me. I had to use an egg donor to conceive. Because I am a single mom by choice, that means he’s what’s being called a 100% Donor baby. Yet, I never question the fact that he doesn’t actually share my genes. He’s just simply MY perfect son!
It took me a long time to decide whether to pursue single motherhood. By the time I decided to make the move, the doctors were already telling me I should go straight to egg donation. Initially, I questioned whether I would even want a child if it did not share my genetics. I refused to listen, needing to see if I could be the one that would beat the odds. I tried for over a year to get pregnant. I have been devoted to mind/body practices and alternative health for over a decade so I turned to that first. But I took numerous supplements, gave up alcohol, wheat, and sugar to boost my fertility. But I wasn’t even ovulating with any regularity. Then I turned to fertility drugs with equally disappointing results and the addition of ovarian cysts.
However, during my many devastating unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant, I got very clear about wanting to carry a child in my own body. At one point, the RE called into question whether there was a problem with my uterus that might prevent a pregnancy of any kind. In that moment, I got very clear that the important thing for me was being able to carry a child, no matter whose genetics the child carried. I’d previously stumbled upon the idea of epigenetics that made me realize I’d have more influence over the traits and personality of my child than might have otherwise been thought, just by carrying the baby in utero. The basic concept of epigenetics is that the genome is covered in protein tags that make up the epigenome. These tags cause genes to express or remain silent. For example, differences in the epigenome can cause a mouse that is genetically coded for brown hair, to give birth to a yellow haired mouse. Studies like these suggest that the in utero environment such as diet and stress levels play a critical role in the overall genetic expression of the child. I thought about how the baby would bathe in my juices for 9.5 months, experiencing my emotions and thoughts on a biochemical level, hearing my voice, feeling my rhythm and smelling me. The link felt significant enough to make me comfortable with egg donation.
After researching options for egg donation in the US, I realized that I was facing and incredibly expensive project. I had been very unhappy with my experience with the high-end fertility clinic and reluctant to fork out $40K to them, so I started researching other options such as egg banks, egg sharing, embryo adoption and egg donation abroad. I eventually landed on using an egg donor in Cancun, Mexico, mainly because I could see adult pictures of egg donors and because I have a friend who owns a hotel close to Cancun that I could go with. I got pregnant on the first try and gave birth on his due date to a very healthy 9 lbs. 4 oz. baby. I’ve never been so happy in my life.
After years as an executive and somatic life coach, I’m excited to share my insight and support to women embarking on this journey. I want to reach out to every woman who’s been told that she can’t have a baby using her own eggs and tell her don’t worry, you can still have the baby you are meant to have!
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Why Plan C? Well, motherhood rarely comes the way we hoped or expected. Sometimes we have to move well beyond our original vision. In my case, Plan B was to become a single mother by choice, using an anonymous sperm donor. I ended up at what I affectionately call Plan C because I needed to use an egg donor as well.
Even if your plans didn't work out as we expected (psst, it never really does), don't let it stop you from embracing your unique path.
So that we can get to know each other better , I want to share my story with you and why it put me on a mission to help women all over the world do whatever it takes to become a mother--if they decide that’s what they want.
As a child, I was obsessed with babies. If anyone asked me if I wanted kids when I grew up, I would exuberantly respond that I wanted eleven babies (I know, right? Eleven??) I distinctly remember stalking a pregnant mother in my neighborhood, asking if I could care for her child once it was born. She obliged and I spent every day after school at her house. You could basically say that loving babies and kids was my hobby.
But somewhere along the way, I lost my conviction and clarity. I went to college and law school, graduated at the top of my class, and got a job at a prestigious law firm during the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley. I was focused on my career and worked insane hours. Dating, however, was not my best skill, and I wasn’t taking any intentional steps to find "the one." When people asked me if I wanted kids, I would always say, "I don’t know. It’s a decision I want to make together with my partner once I find him."
In contrast, most of my friends who wanted babies were deliberate and intentional about their dating efforts. They spent time on dating sites, went out specifically to meet men, even hired matchmakers. Soon, they moved on to marriage and began having kids.
But I just never found him.
However, I was fast approaching 40 and there was still no partner in sight.
As I faced the closing of my fertility window, I realized I needed to think about whether or not I truly wanted children ... with or without someone to co-parent with. I wasn't panicked though. Friends all around me were having babies in their late 30s and 40s. My own mother had me when she was 39. I thought that, if anything, my generation had proven that having a baby later in life is possible and, in some ways, more desirable.
It took me over a year of contemplation to decide to take the leap into solo motherhood. As much as I loved children, I wasn’t certain that I was ready to give up my freedom and life of spontaneity.
Who would I be if I couldn’t travel the world, go see various spiritual teachers on a whim, stay out late dancing, and sample all the best restaurants and music festivals?
The flip side started to seep in too though: Would life get boring for me if I only had to focus on myself? At some point would I get bored of travel, retreats and dancing?
Already, the last few times I had traveled somewhere exotic, it didn't have the same allure. The intense drive of my spontaneous life was fading. Something else was calling me. I was looking for something ... more.
And then one day, my teacher said to me, "Have you noticed that you cry every time you talk about not having a baby?"
It was true! And that was a startling realization. But, as I considered the idea of solo mothering, I just kept thinking: This isn't the way I thought my life would unfold! I had to mourn the life I thought I was meant to have and re-imagine the remainder of my life unfolding an entirely new way.
My greatest fear was — Would I be alone forever if I have a baby by myself? Who would want to date a single mom?
I was also deeply concerned about financial stability.
How would I manage alone — financially, emotionally, logistically? What if I lost my job? Or couldn’t work again due to physical pain?
My teacher reminded me that nothing in life is ever certain.
People who find the love of their life end up divorced, cheated on, and even widowed. Happy couples remain childless due to infertility. No one's "dream life" is promised to them. And, everyone's job safety is impossible to predict.
I could freak out about having a baby alone and miss my chance at becoming a mother, or I could lean into the uncertainty and let the rest of my life unfold as it was meant to. Having a child alone did not necessarily mean I’d never meet a life partner. It might mean delaying the partner for several years, or it might mean that being pregnant would make me feel amazing and sexy and call in the partner I’d always dreamed about. It was truly impossible to predict.
Then, one day in meditation, I had a vision of a little girl in a frilly, pink dress riding on a swing on a glorious spring day. In that moment, I knew — I wanted to become a mother more than anything. All of my indecision vanished in an instant! I was ready.
I wanted to be of service in some way, and I realized I wanted to be of service to a child. (Of course, at the time, I had NO idea just how much surrender and sacrifice motherhood would entail!)
I researched the logistics and started trying to conceive a child alone with the use of an Identity-Release donor (which is an amazing process, by the way, but that's a story for another day).
But then, my OB/GYN informed me that if I wanted to have a baby, I’d likely have to use an egg donor. WHAT? This was definitely not part of the plan!
I refused to listen and instead spent a year trying to get pregnant with my own eggs (I won’t even start trying to explain the lengths I went to on that front) I finally accepted that I'd need to use both a sperm and an egg donor.
I finally came to terms with having a baby via egg donation and I have no regrets.
On April 3, 2014 my son was born. Happily. Gloriously. A beautiful, healthy, amazing son. And, I can’t imagine a more perfect union. I have no doubt I got the child I was meant to have.
Motherhood is about love, plain and simple ... no matter how complicated the journey is getting there.
You can read my whole story in my new book: Motherhood Reimagined: When Becoming A Mother Doesn’t Go As Planned: A Memoir. It’s due out Oct. 17th but you can pre-order your copy now.
All My Best,