…But I Want A Baby!

Opinion

Let’s start with my mum, who by the way insists on looking on my unmarried state like an illness, like something that needs to be helped. Somehow, all my achievements in this life – achievements that I have worked hard for – have been reduced to the singular ‘but’ of the fact that I’m not married.

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So, here I am. Knocking at the gates of 35. The gates open in a few months, and all I can think is ‘Damn, that’s 5 years to 40!’ Hell of a perspective to look at it from, right? That’s what my sister thought as well, when I stopped her in mid-jubilation as she rejoiced at the fact that there could be a potential birthday celebration in a few months. She still found a way to end the conversation on the subject of cake, but I couldn’t shake off the stupid, oversabi calculator in my head that insisted on reminding me that five years goes by pretty quick.

I’m old enough to know (and accept) that life almost never happens the way we plan; I mean, if life was to follow my blueprint, I wouldn’t even be writing this. But irrespective, I have to say that life has indeed been good to me in a lot of unexpected ways. I’m one of those independent women and I don’t mean that in the almost derogatory way people say it these days. I mean it in the way that I’m not a liability to anyone around me; I always bring something to the table; and I always have a whole lot of value to add to the lives of anyone I have the opportunity to come across. So, yes. I’m a strong, independent woman – a blessing in all ramifications, but if my village people had to be the ones to define it, it would be a curse.

On another hand, I haven’t been very lucky when it comes to men. Maybe I should say I haven’t been very smart; I always seem to pick the wrong guys. And for that reason, I haven’t got marriage on my horizon. Several failed relationships later, I kind of figured it’s not meant to happen, and for the most part, I’ve decided to move on from that. But the one thing I will not give up on is the joy of being a mum. I can’t imagine going through life without a child of my own. Without a husband, I can deal. But childless too? Haba! Who did I offend?

And so I’ve decided that in this modern day and age, where being a single mum is far from unusual and where technological advances have made it possible to have children without coitus, I want to have a baby. Why? Because it doesn’t make any sense to put my life on hold just because there’s no ‘man’. Because it doesn’t make sense to continue to wait in the hopes that “it will happen” (If I was 24, that would be an appropriate sentiment). Because I don’t want to wake up at 40 and wish I had done it sooner. Because I want to be there for my kids in my prime and not ageing. And because I can; I can literally make the plans and get it done.

The problem? Everybody else.

Let’s start with my mum, who by the way insists on looking on my unmarried state like an illness, like something that needs to be helped. Somehow, all my achievements in this life – achievements that I have worked hard for – have been reduced to the singular ‘but’ of the fact that I’m not married. I mentioned to her that I was considering having a baby on my own because I’m getting on in years and I don’t want to leave it too long. She burst into tears and then asked me to go and talk to a priest (we’re catholic), because she didn’t think the Church would baptize a child out of wedlock. I nodded and said ok; of course with no intention to go talk to a priest. But a week later, my mother calls me and says she went to speak to a priest on my behalf. Like really!!! And guess what the priest said – that the Church encourages that children are born out of love between a man and a woman. They would make an exception for an adopted child because that is viewed as a work of charity but that children through other artificial means (That’s how she said it. She couldn’t even say IVF) were frowned upon. Now, I don’t know if my mum just made that up to discourage me from doing something she probably considers disgraceful to her, or if that is really the position of the Church. But I wasn’t really interested in going to find out. In my mind, the Church shouldn’t discriminate. Simple.

Then there’s the bunch of ‘pious’ and/or traditional people who think that it’s not right to go have a baby on my own. “You should do it the right way!” they say. And it makes me wonder who said going through IVF is a wrong way. Their right way is getting married and having a child as a legally (and religiously) bound couple. Otherwise, it’s not a good thing. As if that makes me any less of a mum, or the child any less of a child. My question to them is always “What if I don’t get married? Then I’ll never have kids?” Why should I be punished for a situation that is beyond my control? Of course, their next assumption is that something must be wrong with me, and that’s why I’m not married. “Are you sure you’re not being picky?” they ask. “You can’t get a perfect man o.” As if I didn’t know that already. I don’t expect them to understand really. They probably got married nice and early, and the ones who didn’t get married early still got married sha, at least early enough to have children. So they really cannot understand. They haven’t had to deal with the long term uncertainty of an unmarried and boyfriend-less situation.

Then there are the well-meaning friends/colleagues who are in the single motherhood space, who insist on discouraging me because “It’s not easy.” I’m not a child. I know it can’t be easy. I know the ideal thing is to have the right level of support. But support doesn’t always have to be a man. Support can be my siblings; or my close friends. Support can even be them, these people who already know what it’s like and who can help me avoid some of the pitfalls! But I don’t even understand how they can’t see it that way. Instead they ask me “Who will be the dad? What name will you give the child? You can’t just go off and have a baby on your own!” This is because they didn’t choose their current situation. So they’re judging my decision based on their own experiences. Somehow, it just doesn’t make sense to them that a woman can just choose to go have a baby on her own. “Why are you in a hurry?” one said to me. “You’re young and gorgeous. I’m sure some nice guy will come snap you up soon. Don’t give up on yourself.” I had to ask her why she thought that my wanting to have a baby on my own meant giving up on myself. On the contrary, I am choosing not to give up on myself by making things happen for me because I can – not waiting for someone to come make it happen.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not being naïve and assuming that it will all be peachy. I have not completely ignored the important things – like who will be the father-figure in the child’s life. I don’t want to give the child too much to struggle with, and so it would be good to have someone who would step in now and again to provide some ‘fatherliness’. I know some of you are already saying “Ehen!” probably wanting to ask me why I cannot be both daddy and mummy since I’m insisting on having a child by myself. My options? Phone a friend, who will be happy to play that role without being the biological father of the child. Chances of that happening? 50 – 50. As a last resort, I will have to find a way to manage and get my brothers as involved as possible. Not ideal, but workable. And maybe I’ll have a girl, so I don’t have to worry about having male conversations with a boy.

I am not ignoring the fact that I will have sole responsibility for the child – there won’t be anyone to share the responsibility with, except family and friends who will do as much as they can, but only so much. I can’t ignore the fact that there will be days when I will feel like I really need a partner to share the joys and pains with – the hard days, the fun days, the days when I will wonder why the fuck I chose to do it – someone to plan with, to decide names, to pick schools, to instil discipline and to explain life’s puzzles (at least the ones we have figured out). But it doesn’t change the fact that I want to be a mum. I have everything else working for me – at least the things that really matter, because you might look on the fact that marriage is not ticked, but I only see it as a nice-to-have, not a must-have. Now I just want a baby.

So I’m asking the audience. What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Responses

  1. vanilla
    I’d say …go for it!
    I have 2 friends that just turned 40 and are some 7-8 years ahead of me and i have tried to encourage them to go the IVF way. Although they’re still undecided but seriously considering it. One of them has a mom that is obviously as dramatic as yours and another has said several times that she should have considered it sooner and is wondering if there is any need to still bother cos it may be too late…..yeah, kids by older women i learnt are likely to have health issues like autism..Yes? No?

    You can give 35-36 as the bench mark and then go for it if you hit 37 and are not in the typical marriage setting. i know i would if i get there and still single. This is because, for me, being a mom is the main cake while marriage is the icing on the cake ….but hey!…I don’t mind the plain cake either!

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    1. MissO Post author
      That’s one of my fears, that i’ll wake up at 40 and wish i had done it sooner. And then be afraid of having a troubled pregnancy. As for the benchmark, i gave myself 35, which is why the conversation is coming up now.
      Thanks for the encouragement. At least, i know that I’m not being crazy…
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  2. Abiola
    This is so emotional MA.. I think you go for it… Life is to short to have so many avoidable regret. Go be happy
    Moreover I also think you should not give up on meeting someone responsible and caring enough to treat you as a queen you are…
    Shalom
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    1. MissO Post author
      @abiola it would be nice to meet someone and do things the ‘conventional’ way, and of course get a chance at living the typical ‘family dream’. if i get lucky, maybe. But i think i’ll be happy either way. And you are right about avoiding regrets. This life is too short to not live!
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  3. Ibiela
    Honey I say go for it. I’m approaching the big 30 and really considering having a baby before I get too old. Can’t sit here and be waiting for a man till I become a candidate for high risk pregnancy.
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    1. MissO Post author
      Do you know, i remember telling myself that i wanted to be done with kids by 30. I was so naive 🙂 Life had other plans for me.
      If I knew then the things that I know now, maybe things would be a little different.
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      1. Ibiela
        Lol… weren’t we all? I thought I’d be like my mom with 2 kids at 29. Now all I want is my daughter before 35 and I’m done.
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    1. MissO Post author
      Awww. thanks
      I hope I am up to the task. It’s weird, I rarely get that response from anyone. No one ever gives me a vote of confidence. It’s always about the tenuousness of the situation.
      Thank you…
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  4. Meka
    Go for it!
    Though I’m a guy, I recently found myself wishing I had a kid already and not just waiting till I was in a typical marriage situation like I’m waiting on. Someone talked about high-risk pregnancy….don’t wait till it gets to that stage
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    1. MissO Post author
      Yeah. My boss is just a year on the other side of 40 and she’s just had her first baby. She’s been off work for almost a whole year! it was such a difficult pregnancy. And if i’m honest, it’s what brought home the fact that time flies by pretty quick and you have to be deliberate about some things, especially the things that are important.
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  5. Seyi
    My lady please go for it. Some people got kids the ‘normal’ way and lost their spouse early in life, they didn’t return the children because it’s hard to be a single parent. I really applaud and commend you and I’ll like to be a part of your life and help when I can. But we know how life is, that’s is quite unreliable.
    As a writer I’ve thought of having a kid without a spouse and I picked a plan. I personally will not go the IVF method. I’ll pick a guy to have coitus with till I get pregnant. I have a friend that doesn’t want kids so it won’t be hard for him to relinquish all rights. If he doesn’t work out someone else will, last last we will sign a contract.
    So please do you and be happy and not later regret. People will still talk no matter what you do.
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  6. Lady Macbeth
    Hi miss O, my God is working something great for you, even you would be caught by surprise. Rejoice for the things to come, do not let anyone or anything get at you(and that’s an order)
    God bless you
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