I could feel his eyes on me in the dark. He was propped up awkwardly on his elbows, wife beater stretched across his generous belly. He seemed confused, and I could understand why. What the fuck was I doing? Just an hour ago we were sitting at a bar in downtown Sarajevo, drinking local beer and tapping out a conversation on his phone with Google Translate. Emboldened by four beers but still grasping for words, I asked him to help me with “a favor.” This was my first time involving someone else in my quest to get pregnant, and I struggle with asking for help in general, so my fumbling attempt to explain my situation to him and ask him to sleep with me did not go over well. But, being a man with two heads to think with, he understood what I was asking. He seemed on board, or at least that’s what I interpreted “check, please” to mean.
We went back to my place and got down to business. It’d been a while since I’d had sex and I forgot about that pesky thing called vaginal dryness, and trying to fix this issue with body lotion was a bad, painful idea. And if having uncomfortable sex with a complete stranger to whom I felt not an ounce of attraction towards was not bad enough, things quickly got worse. My dog jumped on the bed and settled down at my feet, something I didn’t even notice. Well, my “friend” did and he went bonkers. Thankfully he didn’t kick my little dog, but he did stop his thrusting to shout at him to get off. I pushed my dog off only to have him jump right back up, and I knew keeping him away was a Sisyphean task. Just ignore my dog and let’s get this over with, I wanted to yell, but He wasn’t having it. When he spit out the word “motherfucker” in disgust at my dog, I knew it was time to call it quits. To me, the word “motherfucker” is reserved for particularly vile people, like pedophiles or whoever thought up the Kardashians, not a little dog who’s trying to get some shut-eye in his own home. Language barrier or not, I didn’t care; I’d had enough and I crawled out from under him, pushed my bewildered dog off the bed, and went to the bathroom. I washed my face and looked in the mirror at my reflection, blurry from too much cheap beer: Is this what it’s going to take to be a single parent? Do I have the stamina to continue? Do I want motherhood so much that I’ll do whatever it takes to get it??
After answering “yes” to each question, I dried off my face, applied moisturizer, and returned to my gentleman guest. He was understandably a little confused, but I didn’t care. He quietly asked if “this was the part where the American guy leaves,” and all what I knew was that I wanted to be left alone, so I responded with a shrug and dubiously mumbled “yes.” He got dressed in silence and left, and I sort of felt sorry for him. But not sorry enough to keep from falling immediately asleep.
A few months ago when I was in Germany, I went to a fertility clinic to get a check-up. The doctor said I looked healthy and normal, although I shouldn’t put off conceiving for more than a year or so, news that surprised me and made me look at solo motherhood in a different light. And after dealing with a major travel disaster, I realized that there was no better time than the present to start the process, because waiting for the perfect time to conceive is one risk I’m not willing to take. Most of my adult life, I’ve been apathetic to having children, wanting them but not going berserk over babies and rounded bellies like so many women do. I’ve always been told that you need to be married to have children, but even when I was pregnant and engaged years ago, it didn’t feel right and I didn’t keep the baby (or the guy). I’m constantly challenging myself and putting myself in difficult situations, and I’ve learned enough in the process to know that single parenthood is something I am capable of doing and ready for. As great as it’d be to have a father figure for my child, my experience with men has taught me many lessons with the most important one being that I prefer not to have a man in the picture to complicate things (Ryan Gosling, if you are reading this and are no longer with Eva, please know that you are my one exception). So, single motherhood is my goal, and whenever I want something bad enough, I’ll stop at nothing to get it. Already I know it’s a tough order to fill, especially given my nomadic life, so am I really, truly ready for the journey? Yes, yes I am ready to become a mother.