Signe Fjord about solo motherhood and real families
Life doesn’t always go as planned, but that doesn’t mean that it turns out wrong or bad. If anyone, Signe Fjord knows that. Besides being a solo mom by choice to her six-year-old daughter, Signe Fjord is today an author, speaker and coach within the subject of solo motherhood. In this post, she tells about the choice of having a child without a partner, the benefits of it, and how she has talked to her daughter about the fact that she is donor-conceived.
Was becoming a solo mom a plan B?
Becoming a mother is one of my biggest wishes in life, and until I made the decision to do it by myself, I always imagined that I would start my family together with a man. That being said, it was not out of need or desperation that I brought a new person into this world. It was because I wanted to, and I wanted to do it as a solo mom – if I didn’t, there were many other possibilities.
I am grateful to live in Denmark as it’s a haven for single women who want to become mothers with help from a sperm donor.
I have experienced a few serious relationships and I am honestly delighted with not having had any children with any of my exes. The sheer thought of having my ex-husband or one of my ex-boyfriends over every week or every other week seems totally unbearable to me. The thought of having to share the upbringing of my child with an ex-husband is so frightening that I chose to go through the whole process of having a child as a solo mom. I imagine worst-case scenarios where we disagree on whether the child can have sugar the first couple of years, on which school we want the child to attend, or on which language we will speak at home.
We live in a world of constant change and evolution. There are no guarantees. The fairy tales that my grandmother used to read for me are far from how my reality plays out. In fact, a lot of people live happily as singles. Not everyone wants to live happily ever after with the same partner. People change and evolve continuously, and it is no longer guaranteed that your parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary together. These days it is much more common with yours, mine and our children.
What are the greatest advantages of solo motherhood?
The greatest advantages of solo motherhood or being a solo mom by choice are, as I see it, the legal aspects where the lines are straight. I am her parent and that’s how it will always be. Even if a man comes into my life at some point, I will still be the only one in charge of the upbringing of my child, avoiding potential discussions. Another advantage would be that my child and I will be able to move to wherever we want and whenever we want.
It’s also an advantage not having to deal with a potential ex-husband and ex-family due to a joint child. And once I find the one I want to share the rest of my life with, then he does not have to deal with any ex-husband either. That said, I am no longer looking for a father to my child. I am dating, but no man will ever become a father to my daughter. A man can provide with masculinity and influence, but I will always be the only parent.
What is the hardest part of solo motherhood?
It’s no secret that being a solo mom can be really hard sometimes. It’s hard to always be the main breadwinner and caregiver.
It is a constant battle to maintain the balance as a solo mom. I have decided to be a great and happy mom so that’s my goal. I have also decided not to yell. Therefore, I’m working with myself a lot to be able to live up to my own demands to what I believe is a great mom. But because I had so many expectations and high levels of standard I have had so much extra to give. Some days we run on pure survival and forget to brush teeth. But every evening, we always talk about what has been the best part of the day.
When you are ill, and your child is ill, that’s the worst. During times like these, it is important that your network is in place. Lots of frozen soup in the freezer, cuddle up in bed and hold your child as tight as possible – and remember that “this, too, shall pass”.
You always need to be at least one step ahead with the groceries and households. There has to be food in the house because you cannot just go shopping if your child is too small to be home alone.
But the absolute worst part for me personally has been the fact that I have been so tired and exhausted in periods of time, and for that reason, I haven’t had the energy to spend time with other people. I have disappointed many friends. I have cancelled various parties and events because I have had to spend all my energy to get my everyday together. This means that we live a very simple life in our family. We spend many hours together where we just chill out. My daughter has been allowed to use her iPad a lot and sometimes I have had a bad conscience about it. But in the Christmas holiday, my friend from New York came to visit us and my daughter actually spoke English quite well considering the fact that she never had an English lesson. So that helped a little on my bad conscience.
Sometimes it also takes a little extra time for me to make a decision. For instance, which school my daughter should go to. I am the one who makes all the big decisions and I don’t have a specific person with whom I can discuss these matters. But I use my network and discuss the big decisions with many different people.
How have you talked with your daughter about the fact that she is donor-conceived, and what considerations did you make about it?
I have always known that I would tell my daughter that she is a donor child. I decided to go public with my decision to have a child with the help of a sperm donor before I even got pregnant, where I participated in a Danish TV programme about getting a child with the help of a sperm donor. So of course, I would let my child know.
I have talked with my daughter about our family type since she was 2 years old. That is actually the reason why I made my first children’s book ‘Mommy and the Love Child’ which is written with the hope to help other families consisting of a solo mom and child or children who should feel whole and well-balanced. It is important for all children to know the story of their origin since it is a big part of their identity. A donor child’s story can be told in many ways, and in my book, the emphasis is put on everything there is, instead of what is not.
But I must add that it was not easy for me to publish the book. It took me 3 years to make it. Two of them because I was extremely anxious about publishing it. Could I allow myself to write that mommy and the love child lived happily ever after? That kind of fairy tale had never been written in the world before. After thorough considerations, I released it. Not everyone agrees with my way of appearing, but that is because they have an old-fashioned way of thinking about family. They explain from the point of view of the nuclear family and questions why there is no father in our family. But I believe all families are real families, and all families are equal. That’s why I ended up releasing the book.
I have always told my daughter that there are many ways to be a family. I have also talked with many adult donor children and included their advice. It has been important for me to be honest from the beginning. We have nothing to hide or be embarrassed for, and I feel deep gratitude to the man who has helped us become a family.
If you liked this post you might also want to read ‘Solo mom by choice: Interview with Signe Fjord‘.
Want to connect and talk with like-minded?
Cryos just started our first Facebook group. The group is called ’Family Dreams’ and we would like to invite you to join the community and the conversation.
‘Family Dreams’ is for you – single or in a relationship – who dream of having a family and who need help from a sperm donor to achieve that dream. Maybe you:
▶︎ are still considering your fertility treatment options and have a lot of questions
▶︎ are in the process of getting pregnant (fingers crossed!) and need support from like-minded
▶︎ have already started your family and want to share your experiences and connect with people who also have donor-conceived children