Amid A Pandemic, I Became A First-Time Single Mom At Almost 50

I was never in a hurry to become a mother.

Mature new mother with her toddler laughing in the kitchen happily FatCamera | Canva

I was never in a hurry to become a mother. I had been raised by a super-mom. She was a woman who had sacrificed everything to raise twelve children — independence, travel, money, health, and even old age. She had me, the youngest, at forty-seven years old.

Instead, I did the opposite of my mother and focused on my education, my career, and myself. I always said if I met the right man to marry, then I would have children. Otherwise, I'd only consider having and raising a child as a single woman later in life if I had the means to focus less on my career.


RELATED: Is Getting Married & Having Kids After 40 Still Possible? Here's What You Need To Know

Most of my female friends were also focused on their careers and had similar goals. Most of us waited until our late thirties or early forties to marry or not marry at all. However, many of my friends prudently froze their eggs in their twenties and thirties.

When I first heard about egg freezing in my late thirties, I didn’t think I needed to. My mother had me naturally at the ripe old age of forty-seven in 1971. Surely, I could use my eggs in my forties in the twenty-first century. Well, I never did find Mr. Right in my twenties, thirties, or early forties and so finally, at forty-six, I realized it was time to think about single motherhood or I'd lose my chance to have kids.


When I decided that I wanted a baby, I had a candid conversation with my OB-GYN. She was very supportive but also very frank about the risks. At forty-six, she said the chance of using my eggs would be very low. Adoption would be a long and difficult process if I wanted a newborn unless I looked outside of the United States. However, one of the easiest ways for a woman my age to have a baby would be to use a donor egg and sperm and carry the baby myself.

I was sent to a fertility specialist to weigh my options. He said I was still ovulating so the chances of me using my eggs were still possible, however, it would be a 5% success rate. After a woman reaches forty, her chances of using viable eggs decline precipitously.


For a moment, I kicked myself for not seeing the specialist at forty but I quickly recovered. My career was very hectic at forty and unfortunately, I was in no position to go through the process then.

Sometimes timing is everything. Forty was not my time.

Instead, I got myself together and asked the doctor about my options. He said if I went through a natural IUI (Intrauterine insemination) or even IVF (In vitro fertilization) with my eggs, I had a 5–10% chance of giving birth to a healthy baby. If I underwent the IVF process with a donor egg, I would increase my chance to 70%.

After weighing my options, costs covered by my insurance, my out-of-pocket costs, and time windows, I decided to spend one year trying IUI with my eggs. If I failed to get pregnant, then I would wait to find an egg donor and go through the much more invasive and costly IVF process.


Before starting my first IUI cycle, the clinic did genetic testing to understand what conditions I might carry so I could select an appropriate sperm donor. Once I had selected the sperm, I was ready to start. I went through about four cycles of the IUI process. Unfortunately, I had a couple of polyps that were discovered in my uterus disrupting my IUI cycles. I asked my doctor to look for an egg donor. They asked me to send them photos of me at all ages to use to find an egg donor match.

While waiting for an egg donor, I had to agree not to try to become pregnant and, therefore had to suspend any future IUI cycles. This was out of respect for the future egg donor and the fertility clinic.

Finally, after six months, in the fall of 2019, an egg donor was identified.

The doctor sent me information about the egg donor such as age, ethnicity, basic feature descriptions, education, career, family history, and health but there were no pictures. He asked me if I wanted to see photos of the egg donor. If so, I would have to visit the clinic.


RELATED: I Proudly Used An Egg Donor Because Getting Pregnant In Your Forties Is Hard

I pondered whether I wanted to make the physical appearance of the egg donor a consideration of an egg donor. I knew the donor had a Slavic background; therefore, she would share some physical traits with me. This was important to me so I wouldn't elicit too many questions from strangers.

Other than that, did it matter what she looked like? Was I tempting myself too much to be superficial if I said no based on her appearance? Was I willing, at forty-seven going on forty-eight to wait another six months to become pregnant?

I decided her physical traits did not matter a wit. I only wanted a healthy baby that looked somewhat like me. I had already agreed to be open with everyone and my future child about how she came into this world. This was a condition for obtaining an egg donor match, which aligned with my life philosophy. I don’t believe in keeping secrets so why would I keep important information from my future child?


The egg donor successfully retrieved five eggs for me. I always think about the kindness and sacrifice women who donate their eggs make to help other women. It requires a surgical removal and a recovery process. I wish I could thank her for her sacrifice, but I don’t know who she is.

Since I had an upcoming vacation, the doctor and I decided I would have the IVF procedure done in January 2020. Preparing for the procedure required me to take hormones that would ready my body to receive the egg and attach it to my uterus. The procedure was quick and similar to IUI.

RELATED: IVF Treatment Grows Embryos In Your Vagina — And Saves You Thousands

After the procedure, I was in a waiting game for two weeks to see if I would become pregnant. In the middle of my waiting game, the impact of COVID-19 was starting to be felt across the world, and it had arrived in NYC. I knew this would be my first and only chance for a long time to become pregnant. What would be my fate?


The pregnancy test revealed I was pregnant.

I let out a long sigh of relief knowing I had passed the first step of many for a pregnant woman. It would be another eight weeks of taking hormone shots and waiting to see if the pregnancy would continue to term. In the meantime, like many, I had to leave New York City as COVID-19 cases began to climb. In exile, I waited to pass safely through my first trimester with lockdowns and a pandemic raging. My older sister came to stay with me to help me through morning sickness and loneliness.

My pregnancy after the first trimester became easier. I was lucky not only to be able to leave New York City but also to work virtually through my pregnancy. However, I watched in dismay as other pregnant women were forced to go through the birthing process alone because of strict COVID-19 protocols.

In July 2020, I moved back to NYC to be closer to my doctors and hospital as I prepared to give birth. NYC was a ghost town by then with almost no one on the streets.


In October, my older sister returned to be there for me at the birth as the hospital protocols loosened. I went through a virtual natural childbirth class, as was my birth plan. The baby was to be a little girl, and I already knew her name. She would be named after my mother, Sofia.

My older sister asked me what the baby would look like. I said each of the donors had green eyes, so other than green eyes, I had no idea. She looked at me strangely at first, and so I asked her if it mattered. She looked at me and said no — this was just the first time she knew someone going through a process like this.

Because of my age and the excessive water weight I had gained, my OB was very concerned I would be at risk for preeclampsia, which can be potentially dangerous to both the baby and myself.

My sister and I went to the hospital a week early to be induced to have my baby. The induction process wasn’t working, I wasn’t dilating the way I should have, and the saline solution the hospital was pumping into me was increasing my blood pressure. Finally, after over 24 hours of waiting to dilate, the surgeon recommended a C-section.


I gave birth to my daughter Sofia at 8:40 p.m. on October 20th.

Since I had retained so much water, after I gave birth, I could barely move my arms and was in no condition to hold her. I asked my sister to hold her on my behalf and asked her how she looked. She said beautiful! Isn’t every baby beautiful?

As I suspected, her appearance didn’t matter, only her health —  and a healthy baby she was and still is.


I had Sofia at forty-eight going on forty-nine. Now I'm a fifty-two-year-old woman trying to keep up with a rambunctious three-year-old.

I will be sixty-five when she graduates from high school. I will be sixty-nine when she graduates from college.

I may never live to see her marry and have her own life and children. But whatever, her choice, I will never judge her.

Do I have the same energy as I would have for motherhood if I had had my child in my twenties? No. Would I have had the wisdom and patience for motherhood in my twenties? No,

Do I judge or suggest the right time to have and raise a child? Never. There is only your time. This was my time.


I will empower my daughter, Sofia, to choose her own time whether I'm here to witness it or not.

RELATED: Stop Telling Women That 'There's Never A Right Time To Have Kids'

Oksana Kukurudza is a writer, management consultant, and business coach. She’s had articles featured in Medium, chapters in two leadership anthology books published, been quoted in finance and accounting journals, and is working on her first novel about her parents’ experience as Nazi forced laborers.