When we last heard from her in October, Emily decided to go with IVF to become a single mother by choice. Today, we have an exciting update.
If you have spent any time on Jdate–or any other dating site, for that matter–you know that there are lots of checkboxes. You can check off that you are single, separated, divorced, or widowed. You can check a box that says you have children, or that you don’t. You can even identify if you want children or not. Recently, however, I have noticed that Jdate lacks a checkbox for expectant-single-mother-by-choice-still-actively-seeking-the-love-of-her-life. So, what’s a girl to do in the absence of such a perfect checkbox?
I’m happy to announce to all of you that I am, indeed, pregnant! The IVF process worked and I am in my 18th week as I type this. I am grateful to have the first trimester behind me and to enjoy the privilege of sharing this exciting news with friends far and near. But, when to share the news with a potential suitor is a mystery. Is there a perfect time to tell a man who may be interested in dating me that I’m going to have a baby this summer?
In an effort to figure out the answer to this question, I’ve tried a few approaches:
First, I was introduced to a guy just after my transfer (this is the part of the IVF process when they actually float the embryo into your uterus and hope it sticks). I had a date with Marc only a few days after the transfer. I didn’t drink, but it didn’t matter. I knew it was too soon to tell him something so personal. We went on a second date about a week later. I knew the transfer had worked, but still felt it was quite early to tell him that I was pregnant. I did, however, tell him that I was in the “process of becoming a mother.”
As luck would have it, and much to my surprise, he had worked for a judge in law school who was doing research on embryo cases–couples who were divorcing and fighting over their shared embryos, or individuals who had lost a spouse and were fighting for the right to determine the future of the embryos they shared. Complicated stuff! This guy knew more about the IVF process than I did. Lucky me! He was incredibly supportive and caring. When I finally told him, a few weeks later, that I was pregnant, he seemed truly happy for me. He was a progressive, intelligent, and lovely guy. But, you can probably tell that I am writing about him in the past tense. That is because I realized that I wasn’t attracted to him, but really hoped I would become so, since he was so open-minded. Still, part of why I’m having a baby on my own is because I don’t want to sign up for a life with someone who is not my match; so we remain friends but, romantically, I moved on.
Next, I received a lovely email from a man on Jdate. He boasted in his profile about his open-mindedness and honest approach to life. “Hmmm,” I thought “maybe I should tell this guy right away that I’m going to have a baby?” At that point, I was 10 weeks pregnant. Still early to tell the world, but maybe a fair time to tell someone who might take me out to dinner and expect that I’m not expecting. So, in part of my reply to his email, I included that we share a devotion to honesty and, in that spirit, I wanted to let him know that motherhood was extremely important to me and that I have begun the process of becoming a mother on my own. I made it clear that I’m very open to dating and that I would always be transparent. He never wrote back. Too much information, too soon? Would I have been better off meeting him and then telling him a few weeks later that I was pregnant? I suppose I could have waited until I was showing and then said, “Surprise!” But, I’m not wired that way. So, we move on.
Very recently, I tried a third approach. This was another guy from Jdate. We emailed back and forth a bit, then texted and finally found a time to speak. About an hour into our first conversation, I told him that I had something I wanted to share–I was pregnant. He was pretty surprised and said that I had rendered him speechless. (Something unusual for him, apparently.) The interesting thing about the conversation was that he became curious about my experience, and asked me how I was feeling and how I chose my donor. I told him that he was welcome to ask any questions and that I would always answer honestly. The conversation took lots of different turns and lasted for another hour. Telling him over the phone, rather than in an email, felt like the right move. For reasons unrelated to my pregnancy, this was not a match.
I guess what I’ve learned is that there are lots of details missing from Jdate. Like pregnant-and-single, progressive and open-minded are not checkboxes. I’m going to have to be patient, dig deeper, and recognize that my choice to become a mother on my own will likely significantly limit the population of men who want to date me–especially during my pregnancy. But, I will continue to look for him, and will continue to be honest with potential suitors and with the world. I won’t have a rule for when I tell a guy I’m pregnant. I’ll play it by ear and see what he brings to the table.
To read all of Emily’s posts about becoming a single mother by choice, click here.