Becoming a single parent by choice

Photo: Johanna Martin

Toronto blogger Alyssa Garrison decided she was tired of waiting around for a Prince Charming to come along in order to start a family, so she decided to start trying for a baby on her own (essentially becoming her own damn hero). Now she’s just months away from living a dream she’s had her entire life: becoming a mother. After making the decision to move toward motherhood solo and completing basic egg supply testing, Garrison’s doctor referred her to a fertility clinic and discussed methods of conception (like meeting a donor through free sites like CoParents). When all of the medical checks came back healthy, Garrison went the known donor route thanks to the help of a dear friend who just wanted to see her happy (but he won’t be acting as a father figure in her child’s life).

“For years I struggled with this overwhelming anxiety that sat on my chest when I woke up in the morning, and it followed me until I would go back to sleep,” Garrison says about how she felt before getting pregnant—like there was something missing in her life. “As soon as I got that positive test, I experienced such a massive wave of relief.”

Throughout her life Garrison has been in relationships with cisgender men, women and trans* people, and she eventually realized that the whole Prince Charming idea, that well-known notion of romance, is much more conceptual than it is realistic. It was a nice idea, but time and again, that’s all it was. And through her relationships, no matter who she dated or how they identified themselves, Garrison always had building a family at the top of her priority list.

“In some of my relationships with women, we both planned to carry using the same donor, and when I was with my trans partner we planned on asking his closest male cousin to help with sperm donations,” says Garrison. “I’ve had a very open interpretation of what making a family might look like. The only constant was that I knew I wanted to be pregnant at some point, if possible, and so here I am.”

Perhaps one of the reasons why Garrison has such a large, dedicated fan base on social media is because she’s so open and honest about her ideas, beliefs, feelings and experiences. In fact, the influencer went through a series of heart-wrenching breakups she shared details about on her Instagram and her blog before putting her foot down and choosing to go her pregnancy and early parenthood journey alone.

“I think my followers have been waiting for my happily-ever-after to work itself out for years. Most people probably assumed that would look like me finding the right man to settle down with. Queue the engagement photos, pastel wedding dress and babies a few years down the line,” Garrison says. “It was really exciting to shake up that narrative and say I’m done waiting for ‘the one’ to swoop in. I’m going to make my dreams come true now and a Prince Charming can catch up somewhere down the line if they want in.”

Since publishing her pregnancy story, many women have contacted Garrison to say that they’re on the same path as her. And a lot of them are asking the same question Garrison is: Why in a world where women are proving they can do anything, and modern families come in all different ways, is the narrative surrounding pregnancy, birth and motherhood so out of date?

“I love reading stuff from mommies about their own families, but it’s usually represented by mom, dad, the kids…maybe a golden retriever,” says Garrison. “And there’s nothing wrong with that picture, but I think it’s important to have other versions of what a family might look like out there too.”

If you don’t follow @randomactsofpastel, you might be wondering, what is the mom-to-be up to for the next four months? Besides keeping her followers up to date on her life, she’ll be taking some extra time to revel in the pre-baby magic.

“I have loved every single second of being a momma-to-be so far,” Garrison says. “Even the sick and sleepy moments. I am finally exactly where I need to be.”

Originally published in 2018. 

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