I am writing this blog to document my experiences as I embark on an adventure both exhilarating and a little frightening. This blog will hopefully connect me to people who either share similarities with their own experiences, or who are interested in sharing in my unique journey to motherhood. If you are reading this right now then I want you to know I am honored to have you here. Please feel free to comment with observations or questions; nothing is too weird or personal for me. I want this to be a safe space for all of us to share openly without fear of judgment or ridicule. That is one of my purposes in writing this blog; to journal my unique adventure as I begin the process of starting a family on my own.
Here are some facts about me that hopefully give you a better idea of who I am. I’m a 37-year-old woman living in West Hartford, Connecticut for the past 8 years. I’ve been a nanny for the past 7 years and I absolutely love spending time with children and having the opportunity to have a positive impact on a child’s life. I’m currently in the process of writing a book to help people who struggle with depression or mental illness, as I am a survivor of severe PTSD, depression, anxiety and a suicide attempt in 2011. I adore dogs and currently own 3 little fur babies, so technically I already have begun growing my family. I am a photographer and enjoy getting out in nature to photograph all the beauty I see around me. Feel free to follow me on instagram, my IG URL is www.instagram.com/christina.lee.photography . I’m also using a new instagram account to document my adventure towards becoming a mom through photos. If you are interested in keeping up with that photo journal, feel free to follow me at www.instagram.com/my_love_flourishing. I could share lots more about me now but I invite you to follow along as I blog to learn more about me and share in my journey. I welcome you to witness my love flourishing!
Ok let’s get to it. Undoubtedly the first question on everyone’s mind is going to be, how could I have been on this planet for 37+ years and not met the man or woman I would choose to love and start a family with. I’m quite sure many of you reading right now are actually not at all surprised by this, because you may not have met the person you want to share your life with either. But that curiosity is still there, I’m sure. The answer to this question is VERY complicated, and there is not just one reason to explain my current single status. Truthfully, I have dated and walked away from many people in my life. Just today I allowed myself to cry as I remembered several great guys who I really didn’t give a decent chance. And why not? I’m honestly asking myself as you probably are too. I have often felt men were too eager to lay out blueprints of us as a married couple having kids. I felt then, and still do feel, that these men really didn’t know me well enough to be planning our soon-to-be, non-existent future. Look, I’m a deep person who spends countless hours contemplating the direction all these crazy twists and turns in life has taken me. I have been through many traumatic experiences throughout my life, beginning with an unstable childhood and ending with an assault I survived in March 2015. My point is this; I usually have felt the people I’m dating want to rush forwards towards a shared future without first getting to know me, and this inevitably always scares me away. I have a lot of scars I’m good at hiding and I know those scars won’t stay hidden forever. I often feel people just want to fill some PARTNER slot by shoving me in. But I DON’T FIT YOUR SLOT. Here’s some advice to men and women out there who are used to rushing into relationships: that might work with people who also love rushing into committed relationships, and believe me I know there are plenty of people like that out there, but with those of us that don’t, we will RUN away. So have I run away from some people that could have been well suited to me? It is probable but not definite. Do you feel people may have run away from you in a similar fashion? Here’s the simple advice, TAKE YOUR TIME. I know I don’t feel particularly special when someone hasn’t taken the time to get to know me and yet already wants to be in a committed relationship. That makes me feel misunderstood and invisible. How long does it take to really begin to get to know someone? For every relationship it’s different but probably about 3-6 months. That’s not too long, is it??? I have run away from many men who thought they knew me after just a few weeks or a few dates. Do I maybe think I could have explained this to some of them to help them see how I work? Yes. Do I forgive myself for writing people off too quickly sometimes? Yes.
On the other side of that spectrum is the one time I really gave a relationship my all and it still fell to pieces. I was with one of those partners for 11 years and we were engaged. I thought that if I waited for him to mature that he could definitely be the man I started a family with. However, time would prove him to be unwilling to take on any of the responsibility for working on our relationship. In a nutshell, every time we would argue he would fall back on his lifelong pattern of disappearing and waiting for me to come to him to work the problem out. In the beginning, I just thought he didn’t know how to because he was abandoned by both his father and mother. But then I saw that he was unwilling to do the work that I had been doing for 11 years to keep us together. So while he didn’t want me to leave him, he wasn’t willing to address his abandonment issues that ultimately I knew would weaken and destroy any healthy foundation for starting a family. Believe me when I tell you that leaving that relationship was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Here we were in the middle of planning our wedding and our future together, but deep inside the stress his lack of communication was putting on me was too much to bear. I’ve never loved anyone as much as I’ve loved him. Leaving him was almost unbearable. And trust me when I tell you I tried everything to help him, to help us. We went to several couple’s therapists and tried many things they suggested. Nothing worked and I began to realize that I had wasted 11 of my best years on a man that couldn’t be there for me in the way I needed. You might be wondering why I stayed so long, but I was only 22 when we met and I really didn’t understand all the things I do now about relationships. So at the age of 33, I walked away from him.
I heard through friends that he immediately found someone else to be with and married her. I had completely lost touch with him and we had zero contact for 4 years, no longer even connected on social media. Then the craziest thing happened. In April of this year I started having these very vivid nightmares involving him. This was happening several nights in a row. I spoke about these disturbing dreams with my parents and a couple friends. I told them that I was going to reach out to him because these dreams were just too upsetting and I thought something was terribly wrong. Then I was shocked one day that week he texted me for the first time in 4 years. I did not reach out to him first. His marriage had failed and he was abusing alcohol, which was exactly what I had seen in my dreams. He wanted my help. At first I was sure I didn’t want to be involved because he just seemed so self-destructive. But then after we saw each other a couple of times to hang out I realized I did want to help him. So from April until the end of August I continued encouraging him to avoid alcohol, helped him get outdoors and be active, helped him find a therapist and make an appointment with her. He thanked me numerous times letting me know that he was so grateful for my help and told me I was his “one man support system”. I honestly was starting to have feelings for him again and was thinking it was very possible we might get back together. We even went camping together and had a fun trip. It was smooth sailing from April through the end of August and we were growing closer and closer. But then it happened. We had our first tense situation in all the months we’d been hanging out. And the way he reacted was exactly the same way he always had in the past. Leaving it 100% up to me to solve things and walking away from the problem. Well guess what? I knew to walk away from him before wasting any more precious time. I want to be clear that I don’t for one second think him to be a bad person. But he is not equipped to handle conflict within his relationships. I saw this quote by the inspirational speaker, Jay Shetty, yesterday and it was reassuring to me that I am doing the right thing. He says, “Stop chasing after people and being the only one trying to fix everything. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. You have to find peace with whoever comes and goes from your life. Don’t be the only one putting in effort because you will lose yourself trying to save someone else.” This really resonates with me. I will not chase after someone who refuses to work on themselves and expects me to be the problem solver all the time. I deserve so much more than that.
After this experience of helping him deal with his alcohol abuse and divorce, I wondered why I had let him back in after all these years. Maybe for closure? I do feel confident that I made the right decision now that I have seen he is exactly who I remembered him to be. But I’m not going to lie, it still hurts.
And here I am 37 years old which means my fertility is declining with every passing menstrual cycle. I am not going to give up on my dream to have a family just because I haven’t been able to meet the right partner. I still believe I will find romantic love one day. But I have no doubt that I want to be a mother and that the time for me is now. I have been considering IUI for the past 4 years. I told myself that if I didn’t meet the right person by the time I reached 37 that I would start this family on my own.
Now, I don’t want to make it seem like this decision is borne out of the failures in my past romantic relationships. I honestly look at those as successes, because I’m proud of myself for being strong enough not to settle for someone just because it’s a little scary to have a family on my own. I want to show myself and the world, that it is possible to be a strong, independent woman who has a family on my own. I can plan this responsibly and just be a vessel of love for the child I hope to have. I will not let the difficulties of life keep me from achieving my lifelong dream.
I honestly think raising a child with someone who creates so much chaos and instability in my life would be way more difficult than raising this child alone. I see so many married couples out there who have to deal not only with the stress of being a parent, but also the stress of being with a toxic or unsupportive partner. Of course, I know there are some healthy married couples who have kids, and I agree that having a family within that healthy supportive framework would be ideal. However, while I think that is a beautiful thing, I know it’s rare. So I’m not going to keep reaching for that ideal only to let my chances of being a mom slip away. If I find a supportive and loving partner one day, that would be great. But I definitely don’t need a partner to be a mom. And I think many parts of this journey I am just setting off on will be more beautiful than they ever could be with a partner.