Choosing motherhood

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect, but this remarkable and courageous woman decided not to let anything stop her from being the mother she had always dreamt of being.

Told to Minna Burgess by Amanda Maree

“After many years of caring for other people’s little miracles, I made the massive decision to have a baby on my own. It wasn’t easy. I struggled medically, financially and emotionally for years to make my dreams come true. But that moment when ‘my’ new life was in my arms, gazing up at me, I felt utterly complete for the first time in my life. As he nuzzled against my breast the battles we both had overcome seemed so small.”

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“I always knew I was meant to be a mother, it just felt like the way my path would go, but as I got older I started to wonder if it was going to happen the way I had imagined? I left my previous relationship because my partner didn’t want kids and Ive been on my own ever since. My job is taxing and shift work isn’t always social life friendly. The one thing my job did show me though is that life is precious, time here is brief and it is so very important to make every moment count. Many of the families I care for in the NICU have had long harrowing journeys to become a parent and sometimes when that is almost in their grasp it is whisked away. I didn’t want to be that person. I didn’t want to wait, only to miss out because of age or health.”

“Once I hit 30 I decided that if I hadn’t met someone by the time I was 35, I would do it on my own. In my early 30s I went to a fertility clinic to discuss my options in regards to egg freezing, just in case. They asked me ‘what I was waiting for?’. When I said Prince Charming they laughed! It really got me thinking, just because I have a child doesn’t mean I am ruling myself out to the prospect of meeting someone down the track, and honestly, I would hope that a future partner would respect me for having taken this decision into my own hands. So, I jumped into the deep end!” 

“They say it takes a village to raise a child and in my case, I knew that would be true. I work full time, and I love my job, so while I knew I would take time off to have a baby, I would need and want to return to work at some stage. Shift work is not necessarily family friendly and I knew I would needs lots of support from my family and friends to make it all work. My mum is my best friend and my biggest support in life. When I first sat down with her, I knew she would be excited for me and support me 100% but I needed more than that. I needed to know if she would be willing to help me and look after my little one so that I could work when the time came. She works full time too so I knew it would be tricky but of course she cried happy tears and jumped at the chance to stand by my side through this journey. I guess that was the seal of approval I needed to share my decision with other family and friends, most of which were amazingly supportive.”

“My mum raised us on her own, so my brothers and I are all very close. My youngest brother was so excited but my older brother was a little more guarded. I know his sadness was because he wanted me to have it all, a loving partner and picket fence included to help me on the massive journey that is parenthood. Thankfully he came around and both of my brothers are amazing paternal roles in my little one’s life to this very day.”

“My grandparents are all very traditional and I wondered what they would think but they were all supportive too and knew this was what my heart yearned for. The last hurdle was telling my beautiful best friend, who had recently lost her own little one, and was walking courageously through the journey of life after loss. I worried my excitement of trying to conceive and all of the whirlwind that went along with that would hurt her, but she put her loving warm arms around me and was just as excited as I was to get on this roller coaster with me. That’s all I needed, right? Anyone else who didn’t support me didn’t matter!”

 “It felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders to be moving forward with the next step of my life. I thought back to my 30th birthday where I felt completely and utterly depressed that my life hadn’t turned out as I planned. I had the most amazing job you could ever dream for, I get paid for doing what I love. I am healthy and happy, and have wonderful family and friends, but ultimately I felt empty. I knew this was what I needed to do.”

“As I sat anxiously in the waiting room of ‘Life Fertility Clinic’ with my best friend by my side, we both commented how it really seemed like such a welcoming place. Each person there felt like part of a family, and in hindsight I would come to need that family during all the highs and lows of my fertility treatment. My specialist, Glenn Stirling was amazing, the kindest, funniest, easy going guy who goes above and beyond to make you feel like you’re his only patient.”

 “I was put on a low dose medication and a plan was made for my next cycle. I was given a handful of donor profiles and told to go home with a bottle of wine and ‘date’! It was way more hilarious than I imagined and I think that making it light hearted made it easier! Each donor profile was massive and included every single thing you could ever want to know; a baby photo, an adult photo, medical information, personal information, and family information, and why they wanted to be a donor. I sat down with a couple of different friends and family members and a stack of post it notes and we listed the pros and cons of each. Ultimately though I went with the first profile I picked up, I just got the right feeling about him from the get go. I thought I had prepared myself for the highs and lows that would come with fertility treatment and I completely talked myself into the fact that the first try wouldn’t work but when it actually failed I was devastated.”

“Anyone who has had trouble conceiving would know all about the dreaded two week wait and the following disappointment every time the test is negative and your period arrives. Over about a year we did a further 3 fully medicated cycles of IUI, each failing. By the end of the year I was disheartened and we decided to take a different approach. I had some investigative surgery which revealed severe endometriosis and a damaged fallopian tube but my Dr was optimistic I could get pregnant if we moved to IVF. I took 6 months off to heal medically and financially, finally in the new year we started again.”  

“Then, right before my egg pick up I was given the news that the donor I had been using was no longer available. The clinic is the only clinic in Australia to use those particular donors at any one time and they have a 10 pregnancy cap, so once 10 families have had positive pregnancy tests, the donor is no longer used. Those families can continue to use the donor, but no new donors. In the beginning this was something that appealed to me as I was anxious about my little one going to school with 50 of his half siblings!! But now as I was pumped full of drugs and feeling extremely hormonal I had to try and find a new donor and I didn’t really like any of the new ones. I remember a friend who had used a donor years before me ask me how I found the process and she was shocked when I said I found it easy. She had really struggled and actually put everything on hold for 6 months. When I decided on the first donor it felt easy and natural, this time around not so much. Of course I eventually decided on a new donor and my IVF cycle went ahead. Miraculously I fell pregnant first go!”  

BlogAmanda

 “Sometimes I feel the hardest part of doing this alone is the actual alone bit. I think about having a partner to sit with at appointments, to cry with during downs and cheer with during ups. Someone to wake up to after operations and someone to be just as excited about seeing that little heartbeat on the screen. Someone to hold my hand during labour and someone to be equally as overwhelmed when that little life is placed on my chest and then I remember I have all of that and more in my beautiful family and friends, my village. They have banded together to be my husband, to be my partner, to be a father to my little one as well as still being my family and my friends, and I have never once felt like either of us will miss out.”

 Easton6jB

“My journey has not been easy; two years of fertility treatment was followed by a complicated pregnancy and delivery. I was induced at 39+1after 18hrs, a temperature, IV antibiotics, position complications, an epidural, a vacuum, a fractured coccyx and a vaginal arterial bleed, he was safely in my arms. I had always hoped I would be ‘good at this’. I worked in childcare for many years, I then went on to do pediatric nursing and then neonatal nursing. Ive cared for so many children over the years, I HAD to know what I was doing, didn’t I? The most over qualified mother there could be? Some days I think I do ok, some days Im confident Im screwing things up but when I get complimented almost daily on how beautiful and loving and caring and kind my little one is, I know Im doing a good job. He is turning into the most amazing little human and deep down I know that’s because of me.”

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“Caring for other people’s children is really nothing compared to being a mother, and more so a mother on your own. Many a time I hear people say ‘oh Im practically a single mum, my partner works away or does nothing at home anyway’ but to that I say pfffttt. Regardless you have someone to cry to even if it is only on the phone once a week, you have the peace of mind that someone will come home and help you at some stage, even if its just someone to sit with you. You have another income so that fear of being solely responsible for absolutely everything is not constantly in the back of your mind. There have been times when I haven’t showered for days, when the baby wont stop crying, when I sit in the dark and cry myself too. When I’m sick and want to collapse in bed, life still goes on. Some days I look back at what I have created for my little one and I think ‘Im definitely kicking butt at this mother gig!’ Especially now as his babyhood comes to an end, I am hanging on to those little moments, the sweet smell of a newborn, the blissful moments of breastfeeding, just he and I, the first time I wrapped him to my chest and we ventured out in the world, each skill I mastered as a new mumma are now being replaced by learning of a different kind.”

“To anyone who is considering having a child on their own I say ‘go for it’ – don’t miss out on the opportunity at motherhood just because your situation is different. I know many older women that did not have the opportunities that we do in modern society, take advantage of that and take your destiny in your own hands. As long as you have lots of support, you can do it! And even if you don’t have lots of support, do it anyway. The pure joy of creating new life and becoming a mother is the greatest gift you could ever hope and dream for.”

TraceySeptember 15, 2015 - 2:36 am

Amazing story! I am so happy you got your longed for baby in the end. Despite looking after all those precious NICU babies it really is not the same compared by to the moment your own child is placed into your arms.

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