Like everyone else, from a young age I knew, just knew, how my life was going to pan out. Go to University, get the Job of Dreams, meet a funny guy in a bar, go on romantic city breaks, introduce him to my parents, buy a flat together, accept the perfect proposal, have my father walk me down the aisle, go on a safari honeymoon and then, at 27, have my first bouncy blonde baby. That’s how it works isn’t it? Not quite. Not this time.
I am on the verge of turning 38, I lost both my parents when I was a teenager, have never been in a proper meaningful relationship and have never been lucky enough to have a child. I am writing this, on Mother’s Day, sat alone knowing that 95% of the people I know will be sat round a big table enjoying a boozy lunch with their family. It can be really isolating knowing you are always the odd one out. You cook for one everyday. You go to the cinema alone a lot (once all your friends have had children, they can’t stay awake long enough to go to the cinema with you, even if they had time!) You don’t have to tell anyone that you are working late. You don’t fight over the remote. You don’t get invited to a lot of things, because they are ‘kiddy.’ You miss out on relationships made in parks whilst watching children scoot. No-one else can decide if you can afford to have building work done. Holidays are tricky, they are invariably with friends and their families and you will always feel like a spare part. No matter how close you all are, the rhythm of your daily lives is just different. You sometimes spend Christmas alone (which can be pretty cathartic.) You don’t long for weekends any more, they are the worst. Everyone you know has a kids rugby match / princess party / needs family time / has to see the in-laws. The rhythm, the rhythm is out again.
Whilst all this possibly makes me sounds like a total loner, that isn’t true! Whilst we have no parents, grandparents or Aunties/Uncles to speak of, I have 3 siblings and 10 nieces & nephews. Yep, ten! I am also seriously lucky in that I have a huge group of friends producing 7 godchildren. That’s the irony, I love children. Totally go gooey eyed at them. I have been an Auntie since I was 13 and babies have been appearing in my life ever since. I know all the characters from In the Night Garden for crying out loud. Being surrounded by children had never bothered me, I revelled in it, as I knew I was going to have my own one day.
That was, until about 8 years ago. Time was ticking on. There was still no whiff of a man. Once you have been single for a long time, you get very good at being single, so the looking becomes less sincere even if the longing doesn’t. Then suddenly, it became like an open wound. Every time someone told me they were pregnant, whilst I was genuinely thrilled for them, it felt like acid was being poured onto a fresh cut. Even now, every single time someone tells me they are pregnant, it’s like THWACK, a cartoon slap around my face, that truly stings. I put a plaster over the pain by getting a dog, just before my 30th. Thankfully I don’t like cats so I hadn’t quite become the full cliche! He’s great but however much I love him he will never be able to talk or tell me about his day at school or look after me when I am old!
So last Summer, I decided that I had to sort it out. Alone. Even if I met a great guy in a bar tonight (seems unlikely, I will be eating a home cooked roast for one then watching some Scandi drama, but you get the idea) I would have to tell him that I would love a double gin and a baby before my eggs start scrambling. Creepy! So, down the turkey basting route I go. It was something I always joked about when I was in my twenties. ‘Ha ha ha ha if I don’t find a husband soon, I will just go full turkey baster ha ha ha ha ha. As if. ‘ Ooops.
So I gave up alcohol last summer, coffee in November, am slowly losing weight, taking roughly 4691734169 vitamin tablets a day, reading hideously designed books on single motherhood, weekly acupuncture, cervical massages (I am literally trying ANYTHING!) and most importantly trying to find the pots of money for the procedures & maternity leave. I am going ahead with IUI (official turkey basting name.) It is very different from IVF, IVF is invasive and accompanied by drugs. I am trying to do natural IUI without drugs for now. So I find a donor online, I get the swimmers, I go to a clinic who deposit swimmers where they need to be in the vague hope they will find my eggs, have a party and make a baby. You know, just how you dreamt of getting pregnant!
So the donor, what happens there? Well, as you can imagine it is all very romantic. It is a hybrid of Tinder & Amazon. You filter down your list (height, weight, eye colour, Grandmother’s hair colour, occupation, psychometrics, the list is endless) and find one that is right for you. How do you know? God only knows, you are just taking chances, like you do in real life. If you are lucky they provide a photo of themselves as a child and a piece of audio explaining why they are a donor. Then, and I kid you not, you press ‘add to basket’ and your swimmers get shipped to the clinic of your choice once you have parted with some serious cash. Just how you imagined meeting the potential father of your children, right? Choosing a donor was by far the hardest part of this process. No-one wants to help, as it feels intrusive, yet where do you start / end? What are you looking for? Is there a wrong answer? I have never felt lonelier than that weekend, when I holed myself up with a box of Magnums for company to choose the genetics of my future offspring. I couldn’t even turn to the booze! Pitiful.
Anyway I made my choice and I have now had three IUI treatments. None have been successful. I knew it would be hard, but it is seriously excruciating. So I am taking a couple of months off until my next procedure, to give my head a break. The constant thinking is honestly exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I am all too aware how hard parenting is. However there is a purpose to your day / month / life. I currently have no purpose. I am going to get my purpose though, however long that takes. Or until the money runs out! I seriously might start a GoFundMe page, a sort of sperm bank. I will also be in the market for some Grandparents if anyone knows of any going?
A Guest Blog from Liv Thorne
Liv lives in Oxford with her grumpy but handsome dog Elvis. She works full time as an Account Manager at a design agency and is starting the journey into single motherhood, both excited and terrified of what the next year will bring. She promises to update her blog soon! You can visit her blog here and also follow Liv on Instagram.