Tick Tock and It Don't Stop: One Black Woman’s Quest for Motherhood

What do you do when you’re single, nearing 40 and your biological clock is ticking so loud it keeps you up at night? Everyone from your mother, best girlfriends, co-workers and even your gynecologist is asking “So when are you gonna have a baby?”

I’ve always imagined myself and felt very deeply that I was going to be a mother someday. I have always been maternal even as a little girl, I loved and took very good care of my dolls. I was always helping my grandmother look after the children left in her care. And when I was 14, I volunteered at a daycare center in my neighborhood. I was so good with the infants and toddlers that after I finished the required credits needed for school, the director at the center hired me to work two hours after school. Almost every Friday I was coming home with a diaper bag on my shoulder and someone’s baby in my arms for the weekend. I would get us both ready on Monday mornings then drop them off at the center on my way to school. I have always been maternal. The future appeared to have been set…Or so I thought.

Here I am at 37 and though I may not be as accomplished as I would like to be, I’m certainly more accomplished than some. I’ve published a book, founded a non-profit and have worked the same job in corporate America for the past 10 tears. I enjoy my life!

With the passing of each day, I wonder how did my plan get so off course? I guess it can only be explained as “Time waits for no one.” A saying that I heard my grandmother and mother say many, many times when I was growing up. I held off having kids in my 20s, a decision I have now come to regret. And according to my plan, I would be done with child bearing by 40.

I remember my mom saying to me when I was a teenager. “30 is a good age to start having babies. That will allow time for you to achieve some goals.” She had me in her early 20s, and like most good mothers, she wanted my life to be different. So I guess subconsciously I listened to that and took it in. I used my 20s to achieve some goals. Lived my life as I saw fit. Now I’m well into my 30s and the last of my closest girlfriends to become a mother.

Even the ones who were adamant about never wanting children. Now the pressure is on, sometimes I feel so weighed down by it. Especially when I see the 20 somethings with 2 or more children or news reports about another baby abandoned, abused, or killed by a parent. I can’t help but question, why was that child even allowed to be conceived and born to that parent?

What are my options now? At 37 there is certainly not enough time to meet Mr. Right (if there is such a thing). Date him, get to know him, fall in love and marry him. That is, if you wish to do things in divine order.

Adoption is an idea that I’ve tossed around a few times in my head. But like most women, I would prefer to have that blood link and emotional attachment to a child that I carried under my heart for 9 months. Adoption is also expensive and can take years sometimes to be finalized. Plus little black babies are not as easy to come by as you may think.

Then there is the option of making a withdrawal from my local and/or not so local sperm bank. Yet another idea that I’ve considered pretty heavily. During my search both on and offline through various Sperm Bank donor catalogues, I have come to learn that “brothers” will donate their sperm to a female they met in the club, mall or in the streets somewhere. Sometimes a brief relationship is formed, and sometimes it’s merely a one night stand or a “just until something better comes along situation.” But the fact of the matter is Black men are not donating their sperm to sperm banks. 

The ones that do are so popular that by the time I began my search. They are now “retired donors” meaning there are already about 4-5 kids in the world already with the same donor father. That means chances are, I would have to have a biracial child. I’ve accepted that. It’s not my first choice but I’m more than ok with it now.

Once you settle on the bank that’s right for you and your needs. You are required to go through a series of private, space invading, uncomfortable medical tests to determine whether or not you are even capable of conceiving. If you are unable to conceive then depending on how strong your desire for a baby is. You are then introduced to more costly test to pinpoint your particular problem. And if your test show all system are a go. The fees for single and/or lesbian women, who want to have a baby, are ridiculous. The cost for one vile of frozen sperm is between $325-650 based on the series of test the semen have supposedly gone through for various disease and genetic illnesses.

Why should we have to pay that much for something that guys give away for free everyday? Then there is the actual insemination procedure if done in a doctors office will run you about $1,7500. If you choose a home insemination then it’s considerably less. The point is that’s a lot of money to shell out on simply trying to have a baby because there is no guarantee that you will conceive on the first try or that you will even conceive at all. And that doesn’t even include the cost of having the tank shipped to you, which is usually overnight. You are responsible for the returning cost as well.

It almost feels like a punishment for being single or a lesbian. A very, very cruel and unfair punishment for not having or wanting a man. Chances are if you have straight, single male friends, they are probably not going to jump at the chance to be a donor for you. Especially if you say that you don’t want to actually have sex with them. And if you have any gay male friends, which many of us do. That may or may not be an option for either of you.

Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place, up the creek without a paddle and having to sleep in the bed I made. I don’t know what my next move should or is going to be. I just know that I’m a determined woman. Giving up is not in my DNA. I still have the remainder of this year, and 2 more years before my 40th birthday to work it out.

Aria Nicole is a published Author, Poet, and Human Rights Activist. You may learn more about her artistic and humanitarian efforts by visiting her @ www.arianicole.com and www.youreworthit.org www.facebook.com/arianicole or www.twitter.com/mahoganielove

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