A story of personal triumph, unconditional love and the lengths one will go to experience motherhood
At the age of thirty-nine, Sarah Kowalski began to realize time was running out of time to have a baby. After grappling with what it meant to have a baby alone, she eventually realized that she’d always wanted a baby more than anything and decided to use a sperm donor―only to find out she was infertile. Thus began a year of hope and despair in which she fought the diagnosis, refusing to accept her doctor’s suggestion that she move on to donor eggs. In the months that followed, Kowalski catapulted herself into a diligent regime of herbs, Qigong, meditation, acupuncture, and more in a futile attempt to improve her egg quality. It was only after facing the dormant self-doubt and self-hatred fueled by her body’s inability to conceive that she was able to surrender her previous notions of what it meant to be a mother and embrace a path to motherhood that involved both egg and sperm donation.
A story of personal triumph and unconditional love, Motherhood Reimagined reveals what’s possible when we are willing to put down the version of motherhood we expected and embrace the unconventional.
FOR FANS OF
Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine and Motherhood by Belle Boggs and Avalanche: A Love Story by Julia Leigh
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Paperback ISBN: 978-16211522727
Paperback Price: $16.95
MEET SARAH KOWALSKI
Sarah Kowalski, Esq., is a fertility doula, family building coach, postpartum doula, and author, as well as the founder of Motherhood Reimagined. She is a regular contributor to ESME.com, YourTango.com, and ChoiceMoms.org. As a single mother by choice who conceived her son via sperm and egg donors, she is a go-to guide for women who are contemplating single motherhood, having fertility issues, raising donor-conceived children, or navigating life as single mothers. Kowalski has a BA from UC Berkeley, and she graduated magna cum laude from Santa Clara University Law School in 1998. She left the practice of law to pursue her interests in alternative healing and the mind/body connection by becoming a Guild-Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, Qigong instructor, and Certified Integral Coach.
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Publicity contact: Crystal Patriarche, BookSparks • email@example.com, 480.650.1688
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Enjoy my monthly musings, resources and updates all about navigating and celebrating all paths to motherhood. I'm so excited to be in touch!
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,