My life hasn't exactly turned out the way I thought it would (yet). I'm a single parent with three children, I live in a modest rental house in East Vancouver, and I'm not currently romantically involved with anyone. As a child I thought I'd marry the one true love of my life, and live in a rambling farmhouse in the country with four children and a 10 foot long kitchen table. (Thanks societal conditioning for that fanciful dream!) My quandary lies in the fact that I'd like to have another baby. I have the egg part of the baby, but no sperm to fertilize it.
Being a mother is the most satisfying thing I've ever done. It's my biggest joy and my best work. I love spending time with babies, children, and teenagers. They are a constant reminder of how to live in the present moment. Innately wise, joy focused, and naturally intuitive, they know what is truly important in life. As a parent, I enjoy supporting my children as they grow and evolve, surrounded by unconditional love. We need more humans around who grow up experiencing this kind of childhood. Children are our future.
When I mention this sperm donor idea to my friends I hear things like "You're crazy!", "Who's going to support you?", "You'd better hurry up, you're 45. Aren't you worried you'll have a Down Syndrome kid?" (On the contrary, when I became pregnant with my first child at age 26 and I was married, I received compliments, excitement, and blessings.) It's considered normal for women in same-sex relationships, or those in heterosexual relationships who are experiencing infertility issues, to get pregnant via sperm donor. However take away the 'couple' component and you"ll notice a lot of societal judgment around having a baby on your own.
Women in their thirties (the biological clock is ticking decade) are especially affected by this conservative and old fashioned attitude. The pressure my friends and clients feel to have settled down into a 'normal' married-type life before having a baby is immense. It forces people to settle for relationships that they are not entirely happy to be in, as the sense of running out of time to have children is constantly reaffirmed in popular media and our cultural zeitgeist.
Which makes me wonder - is it better for a child to be brought up with two parents who perhaps argue and don't model the importance of unconditional love? Or could a child thrive having one, two, three, or even more parents involved in their welfare? It is time to expand our experience of what parenting and child rearing could look like. Our limited ideas of nuclear families are based on a defunct set of old school values that need to be re-examined. Already, nearly half of our children experience divorce or separation of their parents. Supporting instead of judging alternative family models seems logical. In the end, there are many ways to raise happy and well-adjusted children.
Judgment, and our societal fear of being judged, is something that severely curtails the human experience of joy. Unconditional love and acceptance of our differences is essential. We must come to accept that the most important thing is that we nurture and embrace one another's individuality and the paths we have each chosen. There is no right or wrong way to do anything.