Whether you are an old mom or a new mom, you quickly learn and are constantly reminded that life comes at you hard and fast (no, I’m not talking about how your child was conceived). I am both an “old” mom and a new mom. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s different.” But that’s me…different. I do things differently. I live life differently. I even became a mom differently…on my own and in my own way.
See, I’m an “old” mom because I’ve been a gymnastics coach and teacher for twenty years. TWENTY! As a gymnastics team coach and director, I was a mother figure to a lot of kids. In my last few years as a director, when I would send out Happy Mother’s Day messages to my gymnasts’ parents, I would often get the same reply back. It was super sweet at first, but then it start to become a dagger to the heart because I didn’t have children of my own. I wasn’t a mom, and I wanted to be so badly. I was trying the old fashioned way, but it wasn’t working. After I suffered my first miscarriage and then, subsequently, ended my relationship, I decided to figure this out another way.
At this point, I had been coaching for about 15 years, and I wasn’t getting any younger. Although I loved my students, I needed a little gymnast of my own, so I weighed my options: waiting on the next relationship, adoption, sperm donor, or no child at all. After some research, I decided to use a sperm donor and have a child on my own. Choosing a donor was easier than swiping left on a dating app. The company I used had a website with very specific details on each donor. I already knew I wanted a tall black man with a healthy family lineage, so after narrowing my search, I only really had to decide between two. Then the Libra in me kicked in, and I went back and forth for weeks about which one. I’d like to say I chose well because my kid is super cute and very sweet, but we’ll really never know as I’ve chosen to never see a picture of the donor, and he’s chosen to remain anonymous.
I’m just trusting in God 100% on this.
I’ve always believed that God was in control, but at times when I wasn’t conceiving and it seemed like everyone around me was, I did get angry with God. I began to question His process quite often especially after I had my first miscarriage. I truly believed I was meant to be a mother. I truly believed God had spoken that over my life, but I was really struggling with why it wasn’t happening. I prayed. I cried. I prayed and cried some more, but once I felt that I’d made the right decision about using a donor, I had a peace come over me that could have only been God telling me to trust him because he knew what was in store for my life.
Everything happened quite quickly after that! Once I decided to consult with a fertility specialist, within about 6 months, I was pregnant! The process wasn’t as costly as you might think as I didn’t need to do in vitro. I don’t think I spent more than $1,000 because I had really great insurance at the time, and it paid for a lot of it.
My son is 3.5 years old now, and being a new single mom has been a lot of fun and a lot of stress especially since we live halfway across the country from our entire family. I have learned a lot over the years going through this process this way.
As someone very close to me used to tell me, “If you want a baby, go get you a baby.” It’s not necessarily that easy, but she’s right. It’s 2018! You don’t really need a husband, boyfriend, partner, or to be in a relationship to have a baby. You just need sperm and an egg. That is really hard to reconcile with as a Christian black woman especially if you are from the south. We are taught to believe that to have a Christian family, it must happen in a traditional way. Meet a Christian black man; get married in a church; have children who go to Sunday school and recite Easter speeches. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional way, but if that’s not working for you, there are plenty of other options to consider or even non-traditional ways. There’s egg donations, sperm donations, surrogacy, and adoption. If you spend all of your best birthing years waiting for that perfect relationship, perfect amount of money, or perfect job, you might find yourself 50 years old and childless. Unless you’re Janet Jackson, having a baby at fifty will almost certainly not happen.
Stop asking women about having children. You have absolutely no idea their child-bearing journey. Telling a woman, “it’ll happen,” “you’re not trying hard enough,” or “don’t worry”. You’re NOT helping. Don’t ask women about how many kids they have or why they don’t have children yet unless you REALLY know them. I tried to get pregnant for years with no success, and once I did get pregnant, I had a miscarriage. I became very depressed. Conceiving without some help is almost impossible for me, and it may be the same for that married or single woman sitting next to you. So stick to less personal topics, and think of other ways to make conversation.
If your struggle was like mine, you are not alone. There are so many women dealing with issues like miscarriages, trouble conceiving, and being childless. Seek them out using social media or support groups. If they are anything like me, they are not embarrassed to discuss their journey with you. I recently spoke to two women from two different walks a life wanting to know about my experience. The eye-opener for me is that there are so many single woman of a certain age hoping, wishing, and praying for a baby. While I have never used a support group, I am open to one as my son ages. For now, I have God’s and my family’s undying love and support and the willingness to talk to anyone about my situation.
I live by the belief that what is for me is for me. I knew that being a mom was for me, so I just couldn’t give up. I couldn’t worry about others’ opinions, what people would say or think. The only opinion that mattered to me was (and still is) that of God. You have to know that God is in control, and what is meant for you is for you. I can’t tell you that you will become a mom or even that your journey to motherhood will be easy, but if you have had a little talk with Jesus and told him about your troubles, then trust and believe that He will work it out. God’s got you.
I’m elated that I have my little guy who began Pre-K 3 this week, but we are just getting started. There is still more to learn as we navigate his newly diagnosed language and speech delays along with showing signs of ADD, but we will handle this the best way possible for our tiny little family. We do hope to grow it soon through adoption as God put adopting on my heart decades ago, but whatever happens going forward, I will continue navigating this ride called mommying differently…my way.
The author of this post is my sister, Chon Smith. As you may know, she is the editor of this blog, but I am proud to say that she wanted to share her story. I think every mom has a story to tell! While the journey to motherhood can be beautiful, it can also be long, complicated, challenging and stressful. And there is a woman out there who can identify or empathize with these experiences. I am honored that my sister chose to share her story here.