The most common reaction I get when I tell someone my plans…”I sure hope you know what you’re getting yourself into.”
And to that, I answer: “I don’t really think any parent has an idea what they’re getting themselves into.”
The frustrating thing about this comment is that the immediate assumption by most is that, somehow, without a partner, I’m suddenly an incompetent or incomplete parent. As if the millions of single parents out in the world are automatically more prepared than me because they DIDN’T plan on being a single parent from the beginning.
Certainly, there will be things that are harder because there’s just one of me, but at the same time, there’s an opportunity for my friends, family and supportive strangers to answer my Bat Signal for help when I need it. After all, I’m not too proud. I’ve been a foster parent and a host mom. I know that just because I’m the only “parent” doesn’t mean I’m the only person allowed to participate.
I’ve been reading a ton of parenting articles lately about forgiving new parents for “disappearing,” that it’s perfectly normal for a family with a new baby to circle the wagons and close up social shop for a bit while things stabilize. And that makes perfect sense to me. I’ve watched four couples in my friend group to just that.
And I won’t be able to. I’ll simply have to stay engaged and call people when I need help. When I’m out of ideas, I won’t have a partner to bounce them off of, I won’t have someone to tag-team with. I’ll simply have to be okay with reaching outside my front door and seeing who answers.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not really looking forward to that. I like being in control. I prefer to be the expert in a situation, especially one where I’m invested in the outcome. But my baby is too important for me to hide behind my ego. Humility is going to be the name of the game.
Humility without apology. That’s my goal.
There will be plenty: “Excuse me, could you help me for a sec?”
But there will be no: “I’m sorry to bother you but, could you help me for a sec?”
Despite how tempting it’s going to be to beg forgiveness for not doing things the traditional way, I’m setting a goal for myself to not cultivate a guilt-driven communication style. To not apologize for the path I’m taking. To not wish for something different, but to celebrate, embrace and stand strong in the decision I have made, and the wonderful, and unusual way it’s going to shape and guide both me and my baby.
Bringing my dad and my grandmother into the loop was maybe the second most stressful conversation to-date. They, collectively, represented the last two people who’s opinions could really rock my boat. My father’s approval has been a constant drive in my life, whether I chose to pursue that drive or not. and the possibility that I’d be pursuing yet another path that he’d rather I didn’t, was daunting.
It happened all in the span of 5 minutes. I went outside, asked for a moment of his time and energy, and dropped a huge bomb on him, out of the blue. He had no warning, no hints, nothing. And, to his credit, he handled the shock with unusual grace.
“It’s an interesting world we live in. But I’m happy for you doing something that makes you happy.”
And that was all I needed. Just enough space for him to be able to participate, in the future. My dad is the kind of person, much like me, that’s at his best when he’s needed. And goodness knows he’ll be much needed as a grandfather. And, for his willingness to leave space for me to do something he doesn’t understand, he also leaves space to be needed.
And that will benefit all of us.
Needless to say, I was seriously relieved. One more obstacle down!
Friday, I put in the reservation for my first vial on Friday. We’ll be finalizing the purchase today as soon as I hear back from customer service. It’s official. I’m due to ovulate on October 2nd. Probably traveling to the clinic on October 3rd. As long as my body continues to be easily predictable by the app I’m using.