Families come in all forms! Sarah and I have received a number of requests to please feature podcast guests who can talk about solo parenting. So this week we welcomed Mel Johnson to Best of Both Worlds to talk about becoming a single mom (or “mum” — Johnson lives in the UK) by choice.
Johnson had reached her late 30s and realized that she definitely wanted to experience motherhood, even though she hadn’t found a life partner. So she embarked on the process of becoming a mother on her own. She is now the mother of a baby named Daisy. In addition to her day job, she also started a coaching company called The Stork and I to help other women considering the single-mom-by-choice option. In this episode she talks about the details and logistics. Some highlights:
A support network is key. Frankly, it is for people who have babies the “normal” way too! But if you don’t have a partner, you have to explicitly solve the problem of who can, say, watch your toddler while you get a haircut on the weekend. Johnson’s parents help out a lot; her mother stays over one night a week so she can go out to socialize, and also have a “lie in” (sleep in).
Dating is more relaxed post-parenthood. Johnson noted that before she had Daisy, dating was far more fraught: with a ticking biological clock, she was always wondering whether any given man would be Mr. Right, and whether she might find that out quickly. Now she can just enjoy dating, since the baby piece is in place.
Honesty is the best policy. As Johnson noted, new genetic testing companies are making it very difficult to keep your heritage a secret. In the UK, when children are 18, they can make contact with their sperm donor fathers if they’d like. Johnson plans to explain to her daughter, in age-appropriate language, why she decided to build her family this way.
Community helps. One reason Johnson started The Stork and I is that she felt incredibly alone while making the single-mom-by-choice decision. Even something like “which sperm donor should I choose?” can be a hard conversation to have with people who have not experienced something like this. She helps to build a community, and she also talked about apps for single parents to connect. She offers free webinars for anyone who’d like to explore options.
Today’s listener question may be relevant for people approaching extended family get-togethers. Our listener is an introvert who likes to plan ahead. Her extended family is more extroverted and spontaneous. She wants to know the plan, so she can manage her energy, but people often feel hurt by this. We discuss some ways that people can compromise but still stay sane.
Thanks for tuning in!