Solo Mum Story: Mel Johnson
I’ve created a solo mum story page on The Stork and I website, to start sharing a collection of stories from women who have gone through the process of becoming a solo mum.
I’m kicking it off with my own story. Watch this space as I share others.
Location: Manchester, UK
Clinic: Manchester Fertility Clinic
What led you to consider becoming a solo mum?
A 7 year relationship ended when I was 29 and despite much dating throughout my 30s I’ve not been lucky enough to meet a partner. I decided I might miss out on motherhood altogether if I didn’t do it on my own.
What treatment did you have and how did it work for you?
I had ICSI. 18 eggs were retrieved, which resulted in 3 grade A embryos. All 3 were frozen as I overstimulated, so I couldn’t carry on with the fresh transfer. The first frozen transfer was arranged a month later, but resulted in a negative pregnancy test. I then waited a year until I was ready to try again and the second frozen embryo transfer resulted in my beautiful daughter Daisy.
Where did you have your treatment and what was your view of the clinic?
I had my treatment at Manchester Fertility Clinic and they were amazing. I had originally contacted a clinic in London as that is where I was working, but I didn’t warm to the people I spoke to there. When I called Manchester Fertility I immediately felt at ease and knew that this was the clinic for me. I would highly recommend them to anyone considering treatment.
What was your experience of choosing a donor?
My donor was organised through Manchester Fertility Clinic. I completed a questionnaire where I chose physical characteristics. I was then matched with 2 donors and received a letter that each of them had written about their reasons for donating. I chose the one that meant to the most to me.
I have written more about it here.
How did you find going through the treatment alone?
My mum was with me for most of my appointments and supported me so much throughout. I’ve been on my own for the best part of 10 years, so I’m pretty independent.
What was the timeline of events from first considering following this path, to starting treatment, to getting pregnant?
I started thinking about it in my early 30s, but seriously considering it by 35. I went for my first appointment at 36, had treatment at 37 and then had my daughter at 39 on my second frozen embryo transfer (you may have heard me say 38 on The Fertility Podcast! I got the dates wrong!)
Were your friends and family supportive?
So supportive. Absolutely everyone without exception supported me. When I told work my boss and all my colleagues were so positive about it. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve had no negativity so far.
Who was your main support throughout your journey?
Granny Bev, my amazing mum has been my main support. She was there for me throughout the process and now she supports me with my daughter. I have a great family who all help out and an amazing set of friends both old and new.
Would you have done anything differently?
I might have started the process a year earlier if I’d had someone to talk it through with. I spent a lot of time thinking about it before making the decision to proceed.
Tell us a bit about your baby
I have a daughter, Daisy who is now 6 months old. She’s amazing. She has just started sleeping through the night (with the help of a sleep coach). Her smile lights up a room and hearing her chuckle for the first time was the best moment ever.
How do you find being a solo mum?
So fulfilling. I love being a mum. I love watching Daisy grow and develop and I love the bond we have. I need to be honest though and say at times it can be tough. Any new mum can find things challenging and being on your own can make that harder. 6 months of interrupted sleep with not a single night off was the hardest. The key thing for me is my support network to ensure that I get some help when I need it. I’m learning I don’t need to be super mum.
What advice would you give to others starting the journey?
Do your research.
Save as much money as you can.
Get your support network in place.
Head over to The Stork and I Mum Tribe Group to get support from others going through the same journey.
Anything else you’d like to share?
When I was going through my decision making process I felt like I was literally the only person in this situation. I’m so happy to have found so many amazing women who are following the same path and am glad The Stork and I has been able to connect them all. I look forward to sharing as many stories as I can over the coming months.
If you’d like to share your own story please find the details of how to do that here.
Image: NCHopes Photography