I don’t remember the exact moment of my decision. I don’t remember thinking “Wait, I forgot to have a baby!” I just have always wanted to be a mom. And at 40, I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to happen. It was something that kept me up some nights and made me sad. I always, since I was a child, imagined myself holding a baby, watching her grow, leaving work early to see a bad school play on the four food groups, getting called “the meanest mommy ever” when I turned off the video game. Good times I was going to miss.
I still date, but I date men my own age, most of whom are divorced and already have had their kids. They don’t want more. Because I have “I want kids” on my online dating profile, they are always quick to make that clear. NO KIDS. Several have had vasectomies. (Yes, they tell me this on a first date) They say it would be different if I already had them, of course, but they didn’t want to become a new father again.
One day I googled sperm banks. I don’t remember what made me do it. I think I heard a sperm bank joke on TV. But suddenly I was happy. I was relaxed. I knew that to make my motherhood dreams come true, I didn’t need to settle for just any guy. I just needed $500 or so for a cryotank.
It turns out it’s WAY more complicated than that, which is one of the topics this blog will cover.
I asked my family and friends what they thought.
People told me I was too single. Well, duh. That’s why it’s called “SINGLE mom by choice”
People told me I was too old. Nonsense. I have always looked and felt younger than I am. Too old is not in my vocabulary.
People told me not to give up on finding Mr. Right. I haven’t. I just am putting him on hold. I would rather wait and have true love than settle for anyone just to have a baby and probably end up divorced in a couple of years anyway. After all, two of my female relatives married quite happily in their late 40’s and their only complaint was never having kids.
People told me I was too broke.
Well, there they had a point. I joined the local chapter of a national group called Single Mothers by Choice and I looked around at the women who were in my SMC (as we call ourselves) group. A couple doctors, a few lawyers, a corporate banker. Basically, none of these women had any problems paying rent and one even had a live in nanny. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. Just because I don’t make six figures doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to be a mom. Lots of people who are married don’t own a 4 bedroom house and no one looks down on them. After all, I have a job, with full (some say fantastic) health benefits. If women could do this without benefits and on minimum wage, surely I would have no problem.
Ok, that turned out to be a pipe dream, and my child isn’t even conceived yet. But I refuse to give up.
Because I have skills. Skills which my friends are forever envious of and have enabled me to buy a car with cash, live in a luxury apartment on a very non luxury salary, and now pay for infertility treatments.
This skill is couponing. It’s the ability to stack multiple coupons against a deal until the stores owe me money. It’s the uncanny ability to have deal after deal fall into my lap. I seem to magically find perfectly fitting clothes at the thrift store with the tags still on, and use a birthday club coupon to get a free breakfast and then winning another from a scratch off with my receipt. My coupon binder “Big Daddy” is always at my side. If I haven’t saved at least 50% off my grocery bill, I don’t consider that a great shopping trip
For several days I wondered if I could afford to have a baby. I was actually calculating possible future child care costs in my head while in a grocery store line. It was my usual grocery store and many of the employees know me. A couple of the cashiers and a stock person stood behind me.
“Nothing, we like watching you work. It’s awesome”
After I was rung up and I had handed over my coupons and my $10. The cashier gave me a round of applause and I turned to my overflowing cart that would last me a week. Then I realized that my normal way of shopping was the key to holding my future child.
“You forgot your cigarettes”
“Nope, I didn’t. I’m going to have a baby!”
More and more women are waiting for Mr. Right into their forties. More and more women are going ahead and having babies on their own. And not all are corporate bankers. Many are just average women like me who want to have a family before it’s too late. Maybe they can use this blog to give them ideas to help save some money to help them realize their dreams like I am realizing mine.
Babies are expensive, especially using medical help to make them in the first place. The combination of baby making (and later, raising) and saving money to help pay for it is what this blog will be about.
I invite women, especially moms, choice or not, to share experiences both on babies and on deals. On the heartbreak of a period after an IVF treatment, and where you found a coupon for a free box of Pampers.
If you’re considering becoming a SMC, I hope you find some advice and help with your decision here. If you’re already an SMC, whether trying like me, or already raising your baby, I hope we can share experiences and great deal finds.
I invite you all to come with me on the roller coaster of infertility treatments, mood swings and hormone shots. And hopefully soon, the morning sickness of pregnancy and screaming of childbirth. And then, everything beyond. The safety bar of my coupon binder and my “magical deal finding abilities” is coming down.
Ladies, keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times. Here we go.