Alyssa Garrison Talks About Criticism She’s Faced for Deciding to Have a Baby on her Own

"We live in a world where women can do anything, so why is the narrative surrounding pregnancy, birth, and motherhood so out of date?"

By Anastasia Barbuzzi

Date September 21, 2018

After deciding to stop waiting around for a “Prince Charming” to have babies with, Alyssa Garrison of Random Acts of Pastel, (RAOP), is using her platform to share her non-traditional pregnancy story and start a conversation about why in today’s society, there’s no reason a single-parent family using alternate methods to conceive should be less accepted than a nuclear one.

First off, congratulations on your pregnancy. How does it feel to be mother?

Thank you so much! The first word that comes to mind is just bliss. I struggled for years with this overwhelming anxiety, the kind that sits on your chest when you wake up in the morning and follows you around until you go back to sleep. Nothing seemed to shake the nagging feeling that something really important to me was missing. As soon as I got that positive test I experienced such a massive wave of relief.

Can you explain how you planned to get pregnant? 

I made the decision to start trying on Christmas eve. My gift to myself this year was to finally chase this dream. First I spoke to my doctor about my plan and had basic ovulation/egg supply testing. When everything came back healthy she referred me to a fertility clinic but we also discussed other methods, like known donors, or meeting a donor through free sites like CoParents.com. I went the known donor route. For me, it felt strange to make such a massive decision based on an online bio. I wanted to be able to know I connect with the person on some level, and I was lucky to have a lot of men in my life that had confidence in me as a mother and wanted to help.The first month I only inseminated the one day I thought I was ovulating and it didn’t take. I went to see my doctor and she reminded me that couples using intercourse to get pregnant are usually trying everyday, not once a month. After that, I had my donor commit to daily drop offs for the whole week I was ovulating. I got a positive test result in the third month of trying. I tested earlier than I should have and wasn’t expecting anything conclusive, so it was the best surprise of my life!

You’ve gone through a couple of breakups that you shared with your followers. How did it feel telling them that you’re going to be a single parent?

It was extremely liberating. I think my followers have been waiting for my happily ever to work itself out for years, but most people probably assumed that would look like me finding the right man to settle down with. It was terrifying, but also really exciting to shake up that narrative, to come out and say well actually, I’m done waiting for “the one” to swoop in and make all my dreams come true. A Prince Charming can catch up somewhere down the line if he wants in.

When your child asks you about how they were conceived one day, have you thought about what you’ll say?

I plan to say something like this: “Your mom wanted you so, so much, and she dreamed about you for years. But, just like baking a cake in an oven, she needed to gather a lot of special ingredients to get you baking in her belly. Over the years she gathered lots of love and magic, but there was still one ingredient missing, so she had to ask to borrow it from a friend. With the help of that ingredient, she put the batter into her tummy and made a special wish for you.” It can’t hurt to start them off with some whimsy, right?

You’ve faced criticism too. How have you been dealing with your critics?

I was pretty prepared for the worst possible reactions when I decided to make my announcement a public point of conversation. I knew my audience on Instagram would be predominately supportive, but I also knew my story had the potential to be shared and debated on other platforms too. Yes, it’s hard to hear the criticism, but I’m also appreciative of it at this point. It has only helped me feel stronger and more confident in defending my decision.

How do you feel about challenging society’s idea of the nuclear family?

I feel like it’s about time. We live in a world where women can do anything, so why is the narrative surrounding pregnancy, birth, and motherhood so out of date? Modern families come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and it’s amazing how many women have messaged to tell me that they’re on the same path I am.

In which ways do you think the stereotype of the single parent needs to change?

I think we need to be more honest about how hard motherhood is always, not just if you’re on your own. The single mom narrative is so often portrayed as a sad story. Personally, I don’t think being alone has to be a bad thing as a mother any more than it has to be in normal daily life. I think it’s really important to acknowledge that together isn’t always better when it comes having a baby. Being a single mom is not the end of your happily ever after, it’s almost always just the beginning.

What advice would you give to women who don’t have the support of their family?

I will say that I think it’s mandatory to assemble some sort of tribe if you take the route I did. You need to have people on your side who aren’t going to leave when the going gets rough. If your direct family isn’t supportive and you still feel sure that this is what you want, build a family that does support you.

If you have one hope for your child, what is it?

To see the magic in the world that I see, in some small way, every single day.

Photo: @randomactsofpastel

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