Mom Talk: Becoming A Single Mother By Choice
Written by Laurie Baker
Photography by Photographed by Melissa Salvatore of A Little Photo Studio
It is truly a beautiful thing to be able to spend time with a first-time mama in the days before she welcomes her baby. The anticipation, the nerves, the unknowingness of what lies ahead—to witness the birth of a baby and the birth of a mother is absolutely precious. Ever since we found out that Chicago-based Laurie Baker was expecting her first child (a daughter) as a single mother by choice, we’ve been loving following along on her Instagram feed as she readies her space and herself for this monumental next chapter. Now, with a mere week to go before her induction date, Laurie has penned a beautiful essay for us about her journey to motherhood—which is especially inspiring for other women thinking about starting a family, with or without a partner.
It’s insane to think that in one week, there will be a babe in this world that is mine, and she will make me a mama. Being a mom has always been a dream of mine. But I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to happen as the years kept moving along. I am scared, nervous, excited, (did I mention scared yet?) to welcome Baby Girl Baker into the world as a single mama. I can’t believe I get to live my dream and, hopefully, inspire my baby girl to live her own dreams, too.
I refer to this as my 3-year baby journey, but honestly it’s more like a 20-year journey. After college, I lived with my college boyfriend in Pittsburgh, pretending to be an adult, buying Bride magazines, making dinners that consisted of main and side items. I thought I would be on the marriage and baby train by age 25. That plan went bust (shocking). So, it was on to Chicago, where I went to live my best Sex and the City life—dating, going into debt, and becoming depressed at 27 when all my friends started to meet their “person.” Career adventures continued from Chicago to Vancouver and back to Chicago.
That’s when the “clock” started ticking. My best friends were getting married, starting families, and buying homes. The fear of being alone and never having my own family was very real. At the time, I worked for a baby- and kid-focused housewares company, which definitely didn’t help my mindset. At 35, I was ready to freeze my eggs. My master plan was shaping up. Except, I was heavily in debt from all of my adventures. And then I found out that unless I had $15,000 to $20,000 to spend out of pocket, freezing my eggs would stay a dream. So, I let it be. My career took a turn for the best and it became my main focus. Outside of work, I started a business selling vintage decor treasures, which helped me to get out of all that debt in just a year. My goals of meeting someone and having a family took a back seat until a month before my 40th birthday.
I was eating brunch with two of my girlfriends and the topic of having kids came up. My response was that I could always adopt someday. They pressed me and asked why I couldn’t do that now? It started to turn the wheels in my head again. Later that day, I heard a story of a friend of a friend who got divorced and had a babe on her own. Could this be me? Was I ready?
I made my first appointment with a friend’s fertility doctor—booked three months out—and I was excited! This was going to be easy, right? Not exactly. The next two and half years consisted of 3 IUI’s, 5 IVF retrievals, 5 failed IVF transfers, 2 chemical pregnancies, 2 fertility clinics, oh, and a pandemic. Finally, last July, I got the call that I was pregnant. At 42 years old! The support I have felt from family, friends, and even strangers, over the last 39 weeks is overwhelming.
So, now here we are. 1 week out. I had the baby showers of my dreams with my favorite people. There’s a perfect nursery, installed car seat, diapers stacked, and my hospital bag is packed. I am extremely lucky to have an incredible support system around me. In all honesty, the only time I thought a husband would “be nice to have ” is when I’m shoveling snow off my car during the winter or when I have a craving for a fountain soda.
While it hasn’t been easy—my fertility journey, a hard pregnancy, fear of what’s to come, and that whole childbirth thing—I do know that at 43 years old, I am ready. I am ready to give this little lady all that she deserves, ready to mess up, and learn, and ready to embark on the best adventure I could only dream of. Here we go!
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