I moved from London to the U.S. at 22, intent on world domination. Or, more realistically, finding work that would cover my rent. I needed a job for visa sponsorship and landed in magazine ad sales, which meant hustling nonstop. This was Manhattan in the ’90s, when entertaining budgets were huge—I wooed clients with vodka and caviar. My job was to disarm and persuade people; looking the part meant weekly blow-outs and manicures. On weekends, I partied in the Hamptons with my crew. A lot of them are Australians, who like to drink just as much as we Brits. Kids weren’t a consideration.

And who would I have had a kid with? In nearly 43 years, I’ve had only two significant relationships. The last was rubbish, a long-distance thing with an actor. Occasionally, he’d text me something romantic like "In town, wanna grab dinner?"

But as I climbed into my late 30s, I found myself lurking on mommy bloggers’ Instagrams. All of these images of familial bliss made me want to gag, yet I couldn’t tear myself away. Seeing friends’ bellies swell, I’d think, I might want that, too. A person who’s yours forever. Not in a Mommie Dearest way, but a little buddy and a table for two at brunch. A person you could guide into becoming a worthwhile addition to the human race.

So I went for it: in vitro with an anonymous donor. I didn’t tell anyone; who knew if it would even take? My doctor was a fertility superstar, so his waiting room was always packed—with couples. I stood out in my singleness, but preferred going it alone. I’d be raising my future kid that way anyway.

Sperm bank websites are basically like Match.com, with filters you adjust. That narrowed my search to four candidates. One had been in the Peace Corps and was a musician, like my parents. For privacy’s sake, there are no current photos, but donors list their celebrity lookalikes, and his were James Dean, James Franco, and Jared Leto. I thought, How bad can it be? I could have gotten knocked up from a one-night stand and wouldn’t have known any more about that father. At least my donor had nice handwriting.

I told myself I’d do two rounds of IVF, then call it a day. But when the doctor rang to say I was pregnant, I lost my shit. "What have I done?" I gasped into the phone late one night, to my sister the psychologist. A total control freak who was losing control, I thought shopping might help. But no amount of bibs or blankies can prepare you.

The delivery was a breeze, mostly because I had a C-section and was out of my head on pain meds. As for Olympia, now a chunky, delicious 8 months old, she is the most contented, hilarious thing; seeing her tall tuft of hair fluttering in the wind cracks me up.

I fretted endlessly about how raising a baby solo would change my life, and it did: Now instead of meeting friends for margaritas, I sprint home from work to discuss Olympia’s poops with the nanny. My silk blouses are dotted with milk stains. And where I used to see moms on social media talking about how their kids “taught me how to love” and think, Oh, please, now I smile in recognition.

My mother once inquired nervously, "What will you do when she asks about her father?" But I’m not worried. Above all, she’s mine. On weekends, we go for a walk, maybe sit at a café while she giggles in her stroller. We’re good.


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