{single parent conception – something we don’t regularly consider in the TTC community. I caught up with Megan Tasker, founder of Spectrum Doula Collective, who works to provide support to parents who are trying to conceive without a partner. Special thanks to Megan for writing this blog post, which is such an important perspective to consider.}

I sit there in the waiting room wondering what has brought all these women here. Each month there is a set of familiar faces as we all wear our fertility badge of a cotton ball taped on our inner arm after blood being drawn, checking our phones while we wait for our name to be called for an ultrasound. I’ll never know the journey that each woman has been on and what exactly brought her here. For the most part I assume they have a partner and are struggling with fertility, but they could be just like me… alone.* 

ladybitsline

Choosing single parent conception requires additional help from somewhere or someone and for those of us who haven’t found the right person we may opt to get help through a fertility clinic. However, navigating the fertility system (even with no known fertility issues) can quickly make you ask the question… is this worth it? Many of us prepare for the grief associated with starting a family solo, we likely imagined ourselves building a family with a partner we love, but what we rarely prepare for is the grief that comes with conception having to be a clinical experience.

For couples seeking help from the fertility clinic it can come as a relief. After months or years of trying to conceive without success the bedroom can start to feel like a clinic. Sex looses its luster and scraping out the cat litter box sounds more appealing than gettin’ it on. But the end goal becomes the motivator, so you put up with the on the spot ‘I gotta leave for work in 5 minutes, now drop your pants’ and ‘I don’t care if you’re not in the mood’ sex. For most who are struggling to get pregnant, going to the clinic means answers, and it also allows the bedroom to once again become a bedroom and the clinic to be the clinic.

But what happens if your bedroom never even had a chance? The start of your parenting journey begins at the clinic with a grocery list of blood work and fertility tests.

I know it’s not their fault, but I grew resentful of my straight coupled friends. How easy it was for them to even just try. While I was spending over a thousand dollars to just try once, and not even the promise of an orgasm at the end.*

We live in a culture where asking for help is a sign of weakness or failure. However, without a partner as a sounding board and someone to debrief with, asking for help from friends and family from the beginning when planning to parent solo can make a huge difference in the ups and downs of conception. There is always that fear of feeling overexposed, sharing too much of the journey… what if it doesn’t happen? What if it takes longer than expected? How many times will I try before I call it a day?  What if my support system tires? And what happens if I tire?

You know that saying it takes a village to raise a child? It’s really true. For all of us, whether we are coupled, or single.  Why not gather your village when trying to conceive? Conception really is the first step of parenting. Using a fertility clinic can absolutely be challenging at times, as can parenting. But that decision to choose to go at it alone was likely the biggest and the most challenging of them all. Even without any known fertility issues is can take a couple months to conceive even with the clinic involved. It’s easy to feel overexposed with well intentioned friends and family who just want the best for you, but it’s equally hard to not have anyone to talk to about the continual monitoring, blood work, and fertility roller coaster.

What can you do as a single parent by choice, to help make your fertility journey more full?

  • Gather your tribe. Let your very dearest friends know what you’re embarking on and accept their help. Let them know if you’re having a rough day, if the insemination didn’t work, or if you had an early pregnancy loss and have to start all over again.
  • Seek alternative assistance. It may be a Naturopathic Doctor, Acupuncturist, or Nutritionist who can help prepare your body for conception. You may also feel much more in control of your fertility with the help of alternative supports as many suggestions are up to you to do!
  • Talk to a counselor. Whenever using donor sperm or eggs, it is required to attend a counseling appointment. But sometimes one session isn’t enough and having a neutral and understanding ear to listen to your experience and help you navigate through the start of your solo parenting journey can be enriching.
  • Hire a fertility doula. Yes! A fertility doula. This is someone who will come to any appointment you wish them to, they can provide non-judgmental information, as well as emotional and physical support as needed.
  • State your needs. This may be the most important of them all. Through this time, whether it be asking for help from friends and family or professional assistance, or telling people to back off so you can navigate your emotions on your own. State your needs.

Right from the get go, making that decision to want to parent and to do it alone requires an intentional and resolute decision, there is no ‘accident’. That decision took a significant thought, reflection and courage. That courage will be your biggest asset both through your journey in getting pregnant and as a parent.

A note to friends:

If you are a friend of someone who is choosing single parent conception, reach out, let them know you’re there, listen when they struggle empathetically and without judgment. Be patient if they need some time alone to process an experience. And be mindful of the kind, and how many questions you ask them. Anyone who becomes a parent without a partner (or one of the opposite sex) is often bombarded with inquiring questions, which are often (not always intentionally) loaded with judgment.

* Quotes were provided with permission by single parents who conceived on their own.

ladybitsline

megan-tasker

Megan Tasker

Megan is the owner and founder of Spectrum Doula Collective, a doula group that intentionally serves the diversity of families that make up Toronto, providing support for the entire spectrum of childbearing from fertility, pregnancy loss and termination to pregnancy and birth support, and beyond. Megan started her career as an academic, and after years working in research, a trip around the world, she came back to Toronto and started work as a doula, which she feels her work as a doula has a bigger impact than any of her previous work combined. When Megan is not doula-ing, she’s experimenting with jam recipes, favouriting airbnb rentals around the world, or enjoying a picnic with friends.

To connect with Megan – find her on Facebook or Instagram

or visit her website here

Michelle Kapler
Michelle Kapler
When I’m not working, you can find me knitting socks, writing for my blog, eating oysters that my husband has lovingly shucked, creating and co-creating meals for loved ones or hanging out with my Herbal Medicine Textbooks and and a very specifically pulled espresso.
Related Posts

Leave a Comment