In life, there are people who sit back and wait for things to happen. Conversely, there are those who act. Utilizing their own agency. Furthermore, feeling at choice when others may not see a path. Julie had enough of waiting for all the “right” things to fall into place to start her family. Instead, knowing her desire to be a mother, she chose single mother by choice.

As a result, she utilized a donor to bring her perfect little boy Ben into the world.

Everyone has a story to share. This is no different in Julie’s case. Ironically, I’ve known her for years and knew she had a child. However, in passing one day she mentioned the journey into motherhood for her involved a donor. I was hooked and wanted to share her story!

I hope you enjoy hearing Julie’s journey into motherhood and her words of wisdom for anyone hesitating to take action in their own life.

Single Mother by Choice - young boy on front porch in front of door posing with a big smile for first day of school picture

Julie’s amazing little boy Ben

BACKGROUND

Julie grew up in Indiana and is a very humble basketball star from Twin Lakes High School. Standing 6 feet 2 inches tall, her calm demeanor is inviting. In fact, quite a contrast from the woman on the court who recently earned a spot on the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s Women’s Silver Anniversary team.

After playing basketball and immediately upon graduating from Butler University, Julie married and put her career on hold as a trailing Army spouse. After three years and realizing her husband was struggling with addiction and not ready to seek help, she knew that starting a family was not the answer. They divorced, and she moved back to Indianapolis to start over.

Upon returning to Indy, Julie made her way back to Butler University working in the Office of Career and Professional Success. Simultaneously, she went back into the dating scene.

I dated good guys, but the spark just wasn’t there.

In truth, there was one spark. Even though they dated for 2.5 years and had a great relationship, they were in different places in their lives and decided it best to part ways.

He had a daughter and was done having kids. I knew I wanted a family. It was a tough break-up because we loved each other, we were just in different places in our lives and knew this was best for both of us.

In turn, Julie returned to the dating scene hopeful.

SINGLE MOTHER BY CHOICE

As the years went by and Julie’s motherhood desire continued to grow, single mother by choice came into view.

Two of my friends utilized a donor and this intrigued me. The process involves many consultations and then a lot of planning. It’s a PROCESS. I also met with my financial advisor who told me – if this is what you want to do, you need to get your s**t together! So, I did.

Julie describes herself as not being a risk-taker. Others would challenge this knowing her story.

After her financial planner gave the stern advice coupled with encouragement and support, she created a plan to set herself up for success. Putting money aside for a few IUI attempts as well as having a reserve for herself and her growing family.

In other words, a calculated risk. While she was taking a risk at having a family on her own, she knew financial stability and her amazingly supportive family made this feel much less risky and more like a dream come true.

SINGLE MOTHER BY CHOICE PROCESS

The process of artificial insemination took four tries over the course of a year. After the third try did not take, a disappointed Julie decided this next attempt might be the last.

The doctor upped her meds and shared that the chance of multiples could increase 20-30%. At the ultrasound there were three mature follicles.

To put this in perspective… this meant as a result, there was a chance she could have triplets. This was NOT part of her plan personally or financially. However, Julie dug into her faith and knew she and her support network would figure out whatever came to be.

At the viability of life ultrasound, there was one little gummy bear in there!

Julie shared this with the same enthusiasm as I’m sure she had the day she found out.

She described having a great pregnancy. Even made the decision to utilize a doula through Indianapolis Doulas for labor. Something she swears by to this day as being a great part of the process for her.

Two weeks before Ben’s due date, Julie’s water broke. Through laughter, she described putting a trash bag on the car seat and driving herself to the hospital as calm as could be (it was only five minutes away).

It was uneventful yet still very exciting!

POSTPARTUM SINGLE MOTHER BY CHOICE

About 7 hours after entering the hospital, Julie met her perfect little boy, Ben. Reveling in how amazed she was by him…

His hands were so big. And he didn’t really cry. Honestly, I was just amazed by this little boy.

Lots of people were a part of the process as she returned home from the hospital. Co-workers, friends, and family supporting and checking in on her. Creating a meal train. Ensuring she felt loved and supported. Julie’s mom came and stayed for 10 days too.

Julie also shared that she decided to pursue the option of having her placenta encapsulated.

I went through a process where the doula saves the placenta and cleans it. Then it is cooked, dehydrated, and blended into a powder, which is encapsulated for consumption. I do think this helped me feel better through my postpartum experience.

DATING, MARRIAGE, LIFE

Julie then shared she is in a relationship. Remember back to the great relationship she had but they were in different places? Well guess what, she and Jeff reconnected while she was going through the artificial insemination process and began dating again.

Julie and Jeff tried their separate lives, but ultimately reunited and realized they could each have what they wanted. At this point, the official ceremony being the only thing not making them married.

Single Mother by Choice- man and woman posing with teenage daughter and toddler son. All smiling and casual.

Julie & Jeff’s family


However, it wasn’t until Ben was 3 that Julie and Jeff moved in together. And while Jeff is not Ben’s biological father, he has been present and involved in his life since birth.

The donor is an open donor. Meaning at 18, Ben can contact the donor. We will be very open and honest with Ben about this. He calls Jeff- Jeff but refers to him as Daddy. It’s very sweet.

RELEASING EXPECTATIONS

People will often say to Julie – I don’t know how you do it. Her response:

I didn’t know any different.

Furthermore, this releasing of expectation is Julie’s approach on most things in life. Conflict exists when there is a difference of expectations, whether a spouse, partner, co-workers, friends.

I’m in a relationship now and it’s really good. I made the choice to be a mother and I have no expectation of anyone else doing things for me. We’ve gotten good at communicating versus expecting.

Julie likes routine and organization, but motherhood has also taught her adaptability. Being okay with a plan B.

Single Mother by Choice- man and woman posing at a wedding reception smiling

Julie and Jeff enjoying a night out

MOTHERHOOD ADVICE

I asked Julie what advice she would give to other moms.

Whatever you do, DON’T USE DR. GOOGLE! It’s so scary!

Said through laughter…

In addition to Dr. Google, she also reminds everyone that babies milestone differently. Do your best not to get caught up in the comparison game.

SUMMARY – SINGLE MOTHER BY CHOICE

Julie describes herself as risk averse, but in action it feels much different. In fact, she took a chance on herself and created a life she always dreamed of. Being a mom.

Although it’s easy to want certain things for our kids and try to plan it all out, she’s also recognizing the adaptability necessary. Including allowing him to have his own aspirations.

When I really think about it, I just want him to be happy and himself. Whatever that is. Of course, if he could be a star basketball player like his mom that would be great (giggles), but I really do want him to find and pick his thing. Really challenging myself to keep this in mind as he gets older.

She also acknowledged the challenges of finding a good day care, the upkeep of nursing and cleaning ALL THE PARTS when he was a baby, and then the reality of losing time with friends. But she went on to share that even with the feeling of that loss of freedom and flexibility…

It is worth it. Yes, 100% worth it.

Thank you, Julie (and Ben and Jeff), for sharing your story with The Mom Huddle!

 

Comparison is the thief of joy. 

– Theodore Roosevelt

 

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