Tamikia (USA): Been Around The World, and I Can’t Find My Baby!
Growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the youngest of seven children, I became an auntie at age seven. With nine nieces and nephews and a gaggle of little cousins, I have been around babies most of my life. I was picked on and bullied about my looks, from first to seventh grade. I didn’t think I was ugly, but never thought I was particularly pretty, just average. I didn’t think boys were interested in me, so I never had a boy crazy phase. Then I entered high school. I attended an all-girls’ school, so boys were not in the forefront. I worked most of high school so there wasn’t very much free time. Around 10th grade, it became apparent to me that boys were taking an interest, even some that I knew from middle school (6th- 8th grade). At this point, boys were just something to do in the very little free time that I had.
I had my first “boyfriend” at age 16. That lasted a couple of months. A few other boyfriends were sprinkled in for the next few years, nothing serious or lasting. At 18, I had a computer and internet and a whole new world opened up. I met a 23 year old guy who told me outright that he never wanted to be married and never wanted to have kids. After a year of entertaining him as a friend online, we finally met. I was young, in college to get my BS in Computer Science, and not looking for marriage or children at the time. Besides, this was just something to do in my spare time, I might not like him anymore in a few months. It was nothing like I had experienced before. He became my first love. Then we broke up, but remained friends, continuing to spend time together. We got back together, and then we broke up again. I’m sure we spent more time out of the relationship than we spent in it. Five years into this “situation-ship” he became my first intimate partner. I was in love with him still, I thought he was still in love with me, and I couldn’t imagine giving my virginity to anyone else.
Not even two years later, in 2005, just four months after my father’s passing, what was left of my world was devastated. My love had met someone else online. Someone who he had not even met in person and who had an ex-husband and three children, ages 9, 10, and 16. He claimed that, at age 30, he finally felt like he could be someone’s father and they were planning to have a baby together. Seven months later, at 25 years old and my world broken, I found a new job and moved to Florida, 1000 miles away from everything I knew and everyone I loved. Within months of my moving, he married this new woman.
At age 26, my gynaecologist found a fibroid. Without much explanation, she jokingly told me in so many words that I had a timeline on my child bearing years. I wasn’t dating anyone at the time so this scared me tremendously. With her lack of professionalism and poor bedside manner, it should be apparent that she is no longer my gynaecologist. However, this experience forced me to seriously consider whether I wanted children of my own or not. I didn’t always want children, but I can’t remember a single time where I didn’t want to be married. At this point, I decided that I definitely wanted children once I was married, so any man I met from this point forward was auditioning to be my husband.
Four years later, I started to reconsider my requirements for having children. My dating life was less than desirable so I needed a new plan. I even asked a close male friend of mine if he’d “go half on a baby” with me if, in three years, neither of us were close to marriage. He said he would consider it but was married within that timeframe. I started to jokingly, but seriously, tell people that I would pick my baby’s daddy from a catalogue since I was having so much trouble finding a partner. I started my journey to become a Single Mother by Choice (SMBC) just after my 37th birthday in 2017. I come from a long line of Fertile Myrtles - my mother had six kids, her mother had six kids. I should get pregnant pretty easily, right? I refused to date, because it wouldn’t be fair to get pregnant with a donor’s baby while trying to find my husband. Six months into the trying to conceive (TTC) process (three IUIs at this point) and still no pregnancy, not even a faint positive pregnancy test. That fibroid found at age 26 grew to be almost 20cm and 5lbs before I had it removed on November 30, 2015 in an open myomectomy. That surgery caused me a completely blocked left fallopian tube and an open, but not so healthy, right tube. How long would this take? Am I blocking myself from meeting someone great during this time? It could take me another year or longer to get pregnant. I might find a partner by then!
About four months ago, I started dating again. In that time, I performed two failed home inseminations, hoping to get the timing better than the doctor. How did I get here? I’m weeks from turning 38, beautiful (I know this now), educated, and independent. I’m cultured and well-traveled, having walked on four continents (North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia). I have a fun personality, sunny disposition, caring heart, and have hardly ever met a person who didn’t like me. Why am I still single? It’s been 13 years since I left Philadelphia and I haven’t been in love since. Is it too much to ask for a partner to be honest, respectful, communicative, willing to commit (when it’s right), and isn’t intimidated by a woman who can do it on her own, but doesn’t want to? I’ve had four ex boyfriends (that I know of) who’ve literally married the next person after me. That ex I spoke about before, he has since divorced that first woman, after about four years (they never had a child together), and is about to celebrate his one year anniversary of marriage to another woman (she has a young kid too). A man who said he never wanted kids or marriage is now on his second wife, who is even younger than me, so he might be aiming for kids of his own still. Meanwhile, this lady here, who always wanted to be married, has never been proposed to. Why haven’t I found someone who is available and wants to build a future and family with me?
Now I have the added pressure of having to tell someone I’m dating that I’m on a TTC journey. Tell him that I’m not looking for his participation, but his acceptance. Inform him that I’m financially invested and that this baby train has left the station so don’t bother to ask me to stop. Ask him if he truly can take the time to continue to get to know me knowing that I could be pregnant with a donor’s baby in the next few weeks. Being realistic, most men that I meet in my age range already have kids (some of them have basketball teams, lol). Some had children young and all of their kids are over 18. Do they really want to start over with diapers and day-care, even if they aren’t legally or financially responsible? Will my being pregnant or the mother to a young child take time away from us getting to know each other?
When am I supposed to tell this new guy about my journey, it’s hardly first date conversation? I’ve managed to let the cat out of the bag to two guys (due to lots of conversation between us) and they seemed willing to proceed, but not enthusiastic. Neither took my advice to take some time to think about it. They never made it to the first date, for reasons not related to my TTC journey, but I’m struggling with this. I want him to have time to decide if he wants to get to know me, but I don’t want to waste his time either. I’ve decided to not ask if he wants kids or more kids, something I would typically ask right away. If he brings it up, that could segue into my TTC journey and I can be upfront and honest, but what if he never brings it up? When do I, third date, three months? It seems more impossible now than ever.
I know there is a high probability that I will end up being completely single until after my babies are born. I accept this risk, as my YouTube channel tagline says, “Because being a mom is more important than being a wife.” I may not find my next love until age 60, but I certainly cannot have a baby at that age, nor would I want to. Nonetheless, I remain faithful that he, “my baby,” will come along at the perfect time in my life and it will be undeniably magical!