I was just thinking the other night about two friends—they share the same first name, but they are very different. Yet they were both critical influences in my path to single parenthood.
The first S (we’ll call her S1) is a friend through work. She’s actually one of our vendors; she’s been in the business for years and I’ve worked with her for ages. We’ve always gotten along and chat about almost everything but business when we’re together. We’ve compared dating woes and lamented single life (and celebrated it, more than once).
S1 has a beautiful daughter, now 5, who she adopted from Viet Nam as an infant. She did this as a single parent. When S1’s daughter was about a year and a half old, we went to lunch. I was honest: I wanted to pick her brain about being a single parent. She was so excited to share her experiences.
At that point, I was planning to adopt. I even went to an orientation at the agency she used. At this lunch, S1 talked candidly about surviving the first year of her daughter’s life (and make no mistake—the first year as a single mom is primarily a test to see if you can keep your child alive and not lose your mind. But that’s another blog post, I think). She talked about how her life had changed, for better and for worse. She talked about her daughter. She answered any question I posed to her honestly.
It was enormously helpful.
I remember in particular one thing. I asked S1 how she knew she was ready to take that step. Because, let’s face it: When you choose that path, you’re tacitly admitting that another path isn’t possible at the moment. Sure, many single moms end up dating and marrying and even having more children. But it’s not likely to happen for at least a little while, simply due to logistics. When you choose single motherhood, you’re de facto delaying other choices.
S1 said she just knew. And she looked at me and said “When you’re ready, you’ll know it too.” We talked about how, then, I wasn’t ready.
Fast forward to New Year’s Eve 2008. Out to dinner with friends to ring in the New Year, my friend S2 mentioned that, in 2009, she was going to talk to her doctor to find out how to move forward with getting pregnant. We were with other friends, and all of us were excited for her, and we talked a little bit about it, and moved on.
At that point I’d attended a couple of adoption orientation sessions and had researched international adoption possibilities. I had also learned that I would not be receiving a sum of money I’d been expecting. That was the money I had planned to use for adoption expenses, and it would have covered the large majority of them. With that money out of the picture, I was looking at draining my savings in what was an increasingly more risky economy.
So when S2 mentioned getting pregnant, I though “Huh. I should really look at what my insurance covers. It wouldn’t hurt to ask about it, would it?”
And here I am.
For the record, S2 never made it past the starting gate on getting pregnant. That’s fine. Everyone does different things and takes different paths. But I might not have looked into it without S2 bringing it up. Or I might have waited too long-- those of you who've been reading for a while might remember that due to my company being acquired and insurance changing, I lost coverage for fertility treatments at the end of 2009. Three months after I conceived Elle. If I hadn't looked into it when I did, I might have run out of time and money.
It's a funny world.
Our lives are a series of events, of choices, of steps and missteps. Funny how things work out. Both my S friends had a part inthe life I have today, along with a dozen or a hundred other people, a dozen or a hundred other choices.
It's a funny world.