(136) A Single Woman & Fertility After 40: Annie’s Story

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Annie Parsons is having a baby, and she’s an unpartnered, 41-year-old woman in middle America who grew up in Purity Culture. Yes, we have questions. Her answers tell a complex, beautiful story about what it’s like to gain agency, build community, and the dare to hope for a miracle. We talk about:

  • ditching dating and pursuing motherhood
  • “insurance against regret”
  • gaining financial stability as a single woman
  • the long road of navigating fertility questions

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Annie Parsons is a single woman in Kansas City who, after years of dating and hoping for marriage, decided to pursue having a child on her own. Many twists and turns later, through a fertility process, she is now expecting a baby boy any day now. This is obviously a non-traditional path to motherhood, especially for one who grew up immersed in the purity culture of the 90s, so I wanted to have a conversation about what it took to make this decision, from the practical to the spiritual.

Devi (she/her) (00:01.283)
Annie, welcome to Where Do We Go From Here? I am so excited to talk to you today.

Annie Parsons (00:06.85)
Thank you so much for having me. It’s so great to be face to internet face with you.

Devi (she/her) (00:13.235)
Yes, that’s right. So first of all, congratulations. You are pregnant. As we’re recording this, you’re two weeks out from your due date. How are you feeling?

Annie Parsons (00:27.379)
I am feeling so ready to be done being pregnant. I’ve had all things considered a very good pregnancy, but these last couple weeks are no joke, and the physicality is not to be understated. So I’m really, you know, I’m so grateful for a good, healthy pregnancy and

Devi (she/her) (00:31.162)

Devi (she/her) (00:43.837)

Annie Parsons (00:51.806)
also very ready to get this show on the road and finally meet this little guy. It’s a boy, he’s coming in just two weeks.

Devi (she/her) (00:59.443)
Amazing, amazing. Okay, I wanna start because I feel like this is gonna be quite relevant to our conversation with a question we often ask a lot of our guests, which is, can you tell us about your experience of purity culture growing?

Annie Parsons (01:15.51)
Yeah, I grew up in a Christian home as a pastor’s daughter, actually, and there were so many wonderful aspects to this. I always knew that I was loved and supported and secure, and I was given a foundation of faith that really remains to this day. What’s built on top of it may look a little different, but the foundation is really the same.

Devi (she/her) (01:21.996)

Annie Parsons (01:45.246)
I think coming of age as a church kid in the 90s, I think purity culture was kind of hard to escape. It was never beaten over my head, but it was more of just like the water that I was swimming in. And sexual abstinence was a given. I signed a true love weights pledge. I kissed dating goodbye. But to be honest, I actually never really kissed.

Devi (she/her) (01:50.551)

Devi (she/her) (01:59.265)

Annie Parsons (02:13.474)
dating hello, like dating was kind of a moot point in my teen. I didn’t even have a boyfriend until I was in college. But somehow, like all the way through my high school years, it seemed like every girl’s Bible study or discipleship group or youth group activity seemed to be tied to this idea of, of like, quote unquote, waiting for your husband. And

Devi (she/her) (02:17.847)

Annie Parsons (02:43.21)
And I understood that not so much as like, get your hormones in check and don’t have sex, but as a very practical recipe to avoid pain. That if I just followed those rules and I was a good girl, I would never get hurt. And then when I finally found the one, whatever that means, that I would be rewarded with a good and beautiful and blessed.

life. So I followed that formula for a long time. And as a result, I think I lived a lot of years divorced from my heart.

Devi (she/her) (03:33.467)
Sorry, I’m on mute just because I’m fiddling with my mic. But that is.

Annie Parsons (03:36.622)
That’s okay. Yeah, we can like, it fits and starts.

Devi (she/her) (03:42.051)
No, that is so relatable. I think that is really the heart of our show, you know, is that story and that life experience. Annie, do you mind if I ask you how old you are now? Okay.

Annie Parsons (03:56.69)
No, yeah, I just turned 41. Yeah, I’m 41 and, and yeah, advanced maternal age, as they say. Uh-huh.

Devi (she/her) (04:07.219)
Yes, yes. I’m 41. So we are exactly in the same generation then. Okay. Well, that’s what I was trying to figure out. Okay. So the reason you’re here on the show to talk to us today is because you’re single and you’re having a baby. So I feel like this narrative publicly is very rare in evangelical circles.

Annie Parsons (04:13.339)

Devi (she/her) (04:36.235)
of the Christian woman who decides she’s going to have a baby on her own biologically, not by adopting. How do you get to the point to make this decision? Can you take us back to kind of those first moments?

Annie Parsons (04:51.722)
Yeah, yeah. Well, first I should clarify that the decision, I thought I was making the decision to have a baby, but in hindsight, I was really making the decision to try to have a baby. If there’s anything that I’ve learned through this fertility process, it’s that nothing is guaranteed. And I feel like it’s important to say that upfront because…

Devi (she/her) (05:09.186)

Devi (she/her) (05:15.234)

Annie Parsons (05:19.426)
thought that it would be guaranteed. I thought that if I just found a good doctor and paid the money and followed the steps, I would wind up with a kid. But the process took a very long time for me, over four years. And there was a lot of disappointment and loss and uncertainty in that process. But with that said, coming to this decision to try did not

Devi (she/her) (05:28.186)

Devi (she/her) (05:34.117)

Annie Parsons (05:47.254)
it did not come all at once. I had spent my 20s and 30s dating and I had four, five significant relationships that I had hoped, at least at the time, would result in marriage, and none of them did for one reason or another. And by my mid-30s, I had experienced enough disappointment and heartbreak

Devi (she/her) (05:49.264)

Annie Parsons (06:17.066)
whiplash to feel pretty hopeless about the possibility of marriage for me. And you know, as I would look around and I would go on dates here and there, you know, ultimately my heart just kind of stopped being in it anymore. And I’ve said before to friends that dating in my 30s…

Devi (she/her) (06:18.204)

Annie Parsons (06:43.146)
felt like being in a rowboat, like circling the same island on my own strength over and over and over, looking for a place to dock. And every time I’d come around that same familiar bend and I would think like, maybe this time there will be a place for me, I would be disappointed to find no great options or maybe options that looked good, that seemed sturdy, but…

Devi (she/her) (06:52.807)

Annie Parsons (07:12.422)
when I would like trust them with the weight of my full self, they would collapse. Like, you know, built by IKEA or something. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And knowing that all my friends are on the island, they want me to join them on the island. And so ultimately, when I was, let’s see, I was 36. And

Devi (she/her) (07:20.411)

Wow, that’s a very powerful metaphor, circling the island, wow.

Annie Parsons (07:40.234)
I decided that I was just tired of rowing to stick with the metaphor. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t do the apps. I couldn’t do the small talk. I couldn’t keep getting my hopes up just to feel let down in the end. So I wound up kind of tossing my metaphorical oars overboard and really found myself swept up in…

current that was pulling me further and further away from that dating island, like stupid metaphor but you get it. And, yeah, and toward these very unknown open waters of potential single motherhood, it just started to really feel like the natural flow that, for me, looking for a partner was starting to feel like running into resistance.

Devi (she/her) (08:18.364)
I get it. It’s fantastic.

Devi (she/her) (08:39.229)

Annie Parsons (08:39.73)
And suddenly, if I was just going to allow myself the permission to go with that flow, it was drawing me toward motherhood, and motherhood is what my heart really wanted.

Devi (she/her) (08:54.027)
Yeah. Can I just camp out there really quickly? Because I think you must have done a lot of work to even get to the point of allowing yourself to think motherhood was okay for you as a single woman. Because I think even that to me feels like a really huge step.

Annie Parsons (08:57.614)

Annie Parsons (09:08.982)

Annie Parsons (09:15.918)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah. I think that I, at that point, I didn’t know anyone. Well, I knew one woman who had, who had become a mom on her own. But it’s not like, you know, we’re surrounded by tons of examples of this, especially within, you know, faith communities and I think that there were two sides like

Devi (she/her) (09:34.641)

Annie Parsons (09:46.11)
On the one hand, I really could see myself as a single mom. I knew that I had the desire for it, that I had the love that I had. Yeah, that I had a lot of the components to be a good mom. I really had a strong feeling that I could be a good mom. What I didn’t feel…

Devi (she/her) (09:51.416)

Annie Parsons (10:15.554)
that I had were necessarily all of the logistics. And there are so many logistics, there are so many just realities that you have to think through, whether it’s the finances, the childcare, am I capable of raising whether a son or a daughter without a partner to kind of counterbalance me? And do I have the support community? And…

Devi (she/her) (10:19.425)

Annie Parsons (10:46.66)
Ultimately, I just came down on the side of I think that I could do this and I want to do this and so I’m going to go for it.

Devi (she/her) (11:00.755)
Amazing. Did you find in that process of decision-making that you had obstacles you had to work through because you were a Christian specifically? Or, yeah.

Annie Parsons (11:10.202)
Yeah, yeah, that’s a good question. I think for me, the obstacles came mostly in the form of being nervous about what other people would think. It wasn’t necessarily that I had like a check in my spirit about it, but I was…

Annie Parsons (11:33.886)
I’m naturally very conflict-averse, right? And I like to have a strong sense that I am making good decisions and the right decisions, and I like to feel morally just, whatever that means. And I just know that there are pockets of people within evangelicalism and different churches who have very strong beliefs about women’s fertility in particular.

Devi (she/her) (11:47.459)

Annie Parsons (12:02.582)
and what’s allowed and what’s not allowed and what’s ethical and what’s not. And so that really, in the early days, that felt like an obstacle to me that I had to work through. But to tell you the truth, it’s been a long time since I personally have been deeply involved in churches that might peddle that sort of moral rigidity. And I’m…

Devi (she/her) (12:02.707)
Oh man, yes.

Annie Parsons (12:32.33)
I’m really lucky that my faith has been given a chance to grow and expand into one that allows for humans to have a lot of agency and to be co-creators of our lives alongside God rather than having a black and white checklist of precisely how to live. So yeah.

Annie Parsons (13:02.526)
few close and trusted friends who I think have earned that voice of challenge in my life and I did have a couple of close people in my life who I wouldn’t say were against me doing this but had questions and I think that’s fair. I really haven’t experienced that push back from evangelical voices at large probably because they don’t know who I am.

Devi (she/her) (13:19.164)

Devi (she/her) (13:30.479)

Annie Parsons (13:32.71)
I’m not famous, I’m not trying to be an influencer, I’m not out there pushing some agenda, I don’t hate men. I just wanna be a mom and I’ve been quietly pursuing that and the people in my life, my family and friends and neighbors and church community have been nothing but loving and supportive, which I’m grateful for.

Devi (she/her) (13:57.276)
That is amazing. You said something about being a co-creator with God that is just so profound to me. And I’m not gonna put this on you as a question to ask, but I just wanna comment here that it’s interesting to me how I think a single woman in the evangelical community who decides to adopt is probably taken very differently from a single woman in the evangelical community who chooses to biologically have a child. And…

Annie Parsons (14:07.17)
Uh huh.

Annie Parsons (14:23.052)

Devi (she/her) (14:24.163)
And that is a really interesting statement about.

what evangelicals believe about women, about women’s bodies, about so many things, and about who a woman’s body belongs to. There’s something very controversial physically about what you’re doing in the evangelical context that’s offensive, actually. Yeah.

Annie Parsons (14:46.378)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I will say that I think that the loudest voices that I have heard on this topic on the topic of being sort of anti fertility process you know biologically creating a new life tend to be white married men who

Devi (she/her) (15:12.334)

Annie Parsons (15:14.206)
seem to have very fertile wives because they have a lot of kids. And I do think that it’s an interesting thing. I think there are so many beautiful paths to motherhood. And adoption is one of those. Being married to a partner is one of those. But I don’t think that going through

Annie Parsons (15:43.634)
any less beautiful or profound. I have heard certain voices say that God’s, you know, the only way sanctioned by God to create life is through sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. And because that’s the only way that like, love, that someone can be created from love. And an unmediated love, I guess.

I just feel very strongly that my baby, who is coming in just a couple of weeks, is the product of no less love. He’s no less wanted by me as his mother than he would have been if I had created him with a partner in that very traditional way.

Devi (she/her) (16:34.963)
Yeah, that is so beautiful. And I think when I heard you say that you just wanted to be a mom, it just resonates so much. And I feel like that would have really landed in people’s lives, in women who are listening who get that so, so much. So Annie, it seems like I would say there’s a whole lot of decisions that get you to the point where you’re able to even consider at 36 having a biological child.

So obviously you talked about previous relationships, but I’m going to assume you were taking your career seriously. You became financially stable. I know because I followed you for years that you’ve bought houses. Those are pretty major milestones that again are not cultivated in the context of evangelicalism for single women. Like that’s not something you’re encouraged to do, celebrated for doing any of that stuff. So how did you do that?

Annie Parsons (17:31.158)
Yeah, well, I remember a point in my 20s when I was deep in that season of watching all of my friends get married. I’ve been a bridesmaid, I think, 14 times. So there was a time when I thought, well, if I’m not building a relationship, if I’m not building a family, at least I can build a bank account. You know, I kind of had this moment of…

Devi (she/her) (17:45.179)

Annie Parsons (17:59.366)
I can try that. That’s in my control. And so at that point, I actually set out to get out of debt. And I went, I will admit, I went full on Dave Ramsey, scorched earth, debt snowball for years. And I wound up debt free at age 30. I had student loans, I had a car payment, some credit card debt.

Devi (she/her) (18:12.647)

Devi (she/her) (18:19.827)

Annie Parsons (18:24.802)
And I was able to wipe all of that out by really limiting my lifestyle for several years. And I really do credit that with being a key step of making a lot of what my current life is possible. Having no debt created possibilities and options for me. So, yeah, shortly after I became debt free, I became a homeowner. And…

I love being a homeowner. I wish it for everyone who wants it. And I, you know, having a place to call my own and invest in and care about gave me such a sense of, I think, security and purpose and progress, even not having a husband. And so I started with what I could afford, which was,

Devi (she/her) (18:54.273)

Annie Parsons (19:21.258)
a 600 square foot shotgun row home in Denver. It was built in 1900. It was 11 feet wide by 55 feet long. It was just this weird little absolutely charming place. And I distinctly remember signing the paperwork and reading right there in the contract. Every time they would mention my name, they would follow it with, you know, they’d say, Annie Parsons, single woman.

Devi (she/her) (19:28.721)

Annie Parsons (19:51.078)
And they would designate me as a single woman. And it felt a little jarring at first, almost offensive. Like, okay, thanks for calling it out again and again and again. But I have moved a lot in the last decade and I have bought and sold houses as I’ve gone. And I’ve grown to read that phrase, you know, Annie Parsons, single woman, with a lot of pride. Like, just like, hell yeah.
Hell yeah for being a single woman in 2023. When we no longer need a man to own property or for financial provision. And that’s no knock against men. That’s just like a win for women. And the options for single women are vast now. And I think that’s just such a beautiful thing.

Devi (she/her) (20:36.435)
Absolutely. Yeah, that is amazing. And I mean, I think there’s clearly, to me, what I hear you saying as well is there’s a lot of focus there to say, like, I am going to prioritize this. I’m not going to be ashamed to build wealth, to save, to prioritize my financial wellbeing in all of those things. That’s amazing.

Annie Parsons (20:54.592)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I think because I think I’ve had the realization of like, if I don’t, then who is going to? And not in a woe is me kind of way, but like, that’s something that in this current stage of life, that is my responsibility. And it’s a really cool responsibility.

Devi (she/her) (21:16.742)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Thank you. That’s really, really helpful. There are a lot of cultural perceptions around single motherhood, both in church and in the secular world, actually. This is something, actually, we talk about on the show a lot. We look at movies sometimes and analyze. And this is one of the things we’ve noticed just in secular portrayals of single motherhood. What are some damaging ones that you’ve had to kind of work through and say like, this is not me or set aside or yeah.

Annie Parsons (22:03.554)

Hmm, that’s a really good question. I think that, you know, a lot of the perceptions are so unfair. You know, they can be things like, well, if a woman winds up as a single mom, you know, that she has failed somehow, you know, if her relationship fell apart or if she was maybe never married, that that’s like a mark of failure that you know, maybe she was like, oh, well, she must’ve been sleeping around and that’s how she wound up pregnant. And I think that that’s a really short-sighted, unfair view of everybody has a story. And I think that single moms, no matter how they wind up in that place or find themselves in that place, I’m sure that I am about to learn

even more how amazing they are to keep their lives spinning on their own. Because it’s one thing for me to choose single motherhood and go into it with eyes wide open that I’m going to be, as far as I know, a lone parent raising a child solo. But that’s something that I am going into.

willingly and I think that there are plenty of women out there where this has not been a choice for them and but out of love for their children they are they’re making the world spin for them

Devi (she/her) (23:56.055)
let’s talk very practically about practical decisions, Annie, that are involved with having a biological child on your own. Can you talk us through like the costs involved, saving for it, but then the practical parts of I assume IVF, if you’re okay talking about that? Yeah.

Annie Parsons (24:02.743)
Mm-hmm. Yes. Yeah, yeah. I really appreciate this question and I think it’s something that women, whether single or partnered, should talk about more. And I think, you know, I think it’s always the question of how to talk about money without being tacky about it. But the financial component is huge and it’s worth talking about because there is no denying that it is expensive

I will say that I told myself from the start that even if this never worked, even if I never wound up with a baby in my arms, that it would not be wasted money.

I really had to shift my view from my money going to give me a guaranteed outcome instead to being insurance against regret. I never wanted to have to wonder. And so that’s how I shifted my view about the finances before I even got started. So like I mentioned, I was out of debt, which was huge.

And then throughout my thirties, I had been a good saver for a lot of years. I’m just practically like, I don’t shop a lot. I rarely go out to eat. I’m not really an extravagant vacation person. Although I probably am deep down, but like someone please take me to a European spot, but I’ve chosen to not be. And so there’s that side of things, kind of like the choices that I’ve made. And then there are.

Devi (she/her) (26:56.04)
Yes, yes.

Annie Parsons (27:06.058)
I think elements of graces that I have been given, like I work for a large company and I do make a sufficient living. My insurance through work gave partial coverage, I think up to the first $20,000. So that was like enough to get me going in the process and kind of ease me in. And if I had known at the beginning,

how much I would spend over the course of this process, I honestly probably would not have ever started because I would have looked at that figure and I would have thought, well, I don’t have that much money. So I can’t, I obviously can’t do that. But in a way, I think that my ignorance really served me because I had the naivete to just start and each step along the way.

Devi (she/her) (27:55.859)
See ya.

Annie Parsons (28:03.626)
I was, you know, it doesn’t come all at once. It’s, you know, small amounts, small amounts as you go. And I was somehow able to pay the bills as they came. And the costs can vary widely depending on the route that you take and insurance coverage and all of that. But I think at some point I did stop keeping track of how much I had spent because it wasn’t good for me to think about it too much. But.

I honestly feel like it’s important to share figures. And I think in the end, over the course of four years, I would estimate that I spent somewhere in the high five figures on this. And so it’s good to have that reality. And again, that can be, it took me a long time. It takes other people much less time. And…

Devi (she/her) (28:40.348)

Devi (she/her) (28:59.859)

Annie Parsons (29:03.67)
But it definitely was something that I had to let go of.

Annie Parsons (29:13.879)
of money as security and instead treat it as an Opportunity to have this insurance against regret

Devi (she/her) (29:22.315)
Yeah. And I guess what I also hear there is you’re taking some ambiguity out of the process, you know, something that people, that many people might say, well, you just, you don’t know if you can be a mother, like you have to wait until you find a partner, a long-term partner, a husband, whatever. And you were choosing to say, actually, I’m not going to wait for that. I am going to take this while I can. Because I think for women, obviously, like you have a…

Annie Parsons (29:29.652)

Annie Parsons (29:38.871)

Devi (she/her) (29:51.215)
We have eggs that are decreasing in quality and viability. I think some people asked in our community, they were interested in this idea of women who freeze their eggs. And I’m curious if you have any opinions about that, not as an expert or anything like that, Annie, but just as someone who has navigated the questions and had to really think through, again, the cost involved in freezing eggs and whatnot. Yeah.

Annie Parsons (29:53.101)
Mm-hmm. Yes, I wish I had done it. I really do. I did not freeze my eggs younger. And as a result, it’s part of what took so long in this process for me, was just kind of waiting for a viable egg that would result in a viable embryo. And I’m, I feel so grateful that I wound up with that. But yeah, again, it was not a guarantee. And I, I think that what’s tricky about the idea of freezing eggs, you know, whether you’re in your late 20s or early 30s, is that at that point in my life, I still had a lot of people telling me, Oh, don’t worry about that. You’re going to meet someone, you’re going to meet someone like, Don’t waste the money on that. And yeah, who knows? Who knows what would have happened if I would have frozen my eggs? Like if this would have been an easier journey for me. Ultimately, I think that when this baby is born, I’m gonna look at him and just say, I’m so glad it was you, you know, this specific baby. I’m so excited about him. I understand the question, I understand the dilemma, I understand that it is expensive to freeze eggs to and yeah, there’s still very much the possibility that women of viable egg age

still might meet a partner and have a baby in an easier way. So I just, I want to say I appreciate the dilemma because I think it’s real.

Devi (she/her) (32:20.215)
Yeah, and it’s hard. Yeah. How is it being pregnant without a partner? Really is a question we got from a listener. What’s the, tell us the real deal.

Annie Parsons (32:22.538)
Mm-hmm. Oh, thank you for asking. It has been, I will say I don’t know any differently, right? I don’t know what it would have been like if I had a partner being pregnant, but I do know how easy it is to idealize the idea of having a partner, especially in pregnancy when

Devi (she/her) (32:41.86)

Annie Parsons (32:54.526)
I have had swollen feet and I have wished for a shoulder rub or it’s been 9pm and I’m suddenly like, I must have apple pie right now. And you know, the only option is for me to drive myself to the price shopper and get the apple pie. But, so I’ve had moments where I’ve felt a little sorry for myself and have just thought like, oh.

Devi (she/her) (33:04.33)

Annie Parsons (33:19.89)
It’s not fair. I wish I had a partner with me to do these things for me. And, you know, even beyond that, like, to pick up the sticks in the yard or run an errand or you just share life duties with. But, um, honestly, as I have chatted with friends who are partnered and have gone through pregnancies, it’s not unheard of that they would look at me and say,

my husband never rubbed my feet during pregnancy. And kind of a reality check of like, I think that sometimes having a partner, some partners are probably really shine during pregnancy and probably some partners don’t. And so I have allowed myself to think, well, at least I don’t need to…

Devi (she/her) (33:48.667)

Annie Parsons (34:12.446)
resent my partner during pregnancy because if I yeah, I think that like the hormones are flying and Emotions are high all the time and your body hurts and so I’ve had no one to resent at the same time

Devi (she/her) (34:29.015)
I love that so much. That’s hilarious, yes. I definitely, I got pregnancy massages every week or every other week when I was pregnant with my third. So I feel that. Like I went out for pregnancy massages when I was, yeah. pregnant with my third. So yes, I mean, there is there is so much conflict that can arise during pregnancy. I can definitely confirm that is true. Let’s talk about community and the community involved in what you’re doing. I know that you have talked about this on your Instagram account, which absolutely I’m going to… You have a public account, is that right?

Annie Parsons (35:18.594)
I do, yeah.

Devi (she/her) (35:18.963)
Yeah, okay. So we’ll send people there in case they’re interested in just kind of following along that way. I know that you moved to Kansas City a few years ago and from memory, my perception was you moved in part because you had more family there and community is or family. Is that right?

Annie Parsons (35:35.318)

Family, yes. Yes, I did not grow up in Kansas City. I’m not from Kansas City, but the majority of my family has relocated to Kansas City since I graduated high school and over the last 15, 20 years, they’ve kind of wound up here. So I made the decision, yeah, a little over two years ago to leave Nashville where I had been living at the time. And to move closer to family. This was in the middle of the pandemic. And I had been, I had started the fertility process in Nashville and was finding it hard to, hard to juggle that with all the rest of the pieces of life as a single woman and just had an opportunity to move and I took it.

Devi (she/her) (36:34.941)

Annie Parsons (36:35.21)
I will say I would not have moved to Kansas City if it weren’t for family. It’s not the sexiest place that I have lived, but I actually really have come to love and appreciate it. It’s a really reasonable place to live. There’s hardly any traffic. It’s affordable, and the people are wonderful. The people are, I have been so surprised because I moved here when I was turning 39.

Devi (she/her) (36:41.587)

Annie Parsons (37:05.642)
And I thought, well, I’m too old to make new friends. I’m obviously not gonna make a whole new set of friends. I’ll hang out with my mom and my sister and my brother, and that’ll be my community there. But I have been so surprised at just the genuine kindness of the people of the Midwest. I’m about five or six minutes from my mom close to my sister close to my brother I have nieces and nephews here and then really soon after I moved here I found a little Anglican church that I have been attending and have just absolutely fallen in love with. I have made wonderful friends there and I feel so supported, which was not, I guess it wasn’t what I was expecting. That hasn’t been my experience in churches in the last several years. So I do feel like it is, it’s a gift and it is God’s kindness to me to have. surrounded me here in Kansas City with a really strong support network and I’ve felt so celebrated and loved with this baby on the way. My church community is already setting up the meal train for once the baby’s here. I think that having a strong community of whether it’s family or friends or a combination of both is really key.

Devi (she/her) (39:04.739)
Yeah. And I think for women who are listening going, I don’t have that. How do I form it? Are there things? So I realize there’s a lot here that is not in your control. We’re not in control of how people respond to us and our life and our circumstances. But in terms of things that you did to kind of generate that, because it has seemed like you’re so well surrounded by people like your family, but people who really celebrate what you’re doing, not just are like, okay, fine, you know, but people who celebrate you and celebrate you becoming a mom in this way.

Annie Parsons (39:44.206)
Mm-hmm. it’s important that the support runs both ways, right? Like I have historically been single and child free and that has given me a lot of time and extra resources to show up for my friends who have had little kids. You know, a lot of trips that I take are just to go see my friends and their families. And so I think there’s been an intentionality that I have put in over the years that I have felt reciprocated in spirit, even if my friends haven’t been able to show up, fly across the country necessarily to come see me at the same frequency that I have been able to do for them. And so it is kind of funny, I’m at the point now where

Devi (she/her) (40:36.946)

Annie Parsons (40:47.758)
best friend from high school, she has two kids in college and I’m having my first baby. It’s like our timelines have been so different. But just how cool is it that the women, especially in my life, are just rallying, knowing how long I have longed for this. And

Devi (she/her) (40:55.879)

Devi (she/her) (41:16.451)

Annie Parsons (41:17.026)
how much it’s taken for me to try for this baby and for motherhood. I think it, in a way, not having a partner gives people the permission, the open door to really come in and celebrate celebrate in a way that, you know, might have felt a little more insular if I had a partner, you know, that it’s our baby. But now it kind of feels like he’s all of our baby.

Devi (she/her) (41:48.483)
Wow, well that is amazing. And that is a really powerful insight. Like I think in some ways I wish people swooped in like that for us when we had our children, you know, because I think couples need that as well in it. Yeah, but I think you’re probably right. I think that’s very, very perceptive. I take it that means your family was pretty supportive of your decision, is that right?

Annie Parsons (41:56.27)
Mm-hmm. Absolutely. Yes. Yeah, yeah, they really all have been, you know, certain questions, I think, especially early on. But fair questions, you know, just wanting to make sure that I was really sure about doing this. But no, I mean, it’s great. My mom stopped by yesterday and she literally has created a like a paper advent chain for me to count down the next two weeks. We’re all just…

Devi (she/her) (42:29.714)

Annie Parsons (42:42.686)
So thrilled and you know the countdown is on and my sister who lives here in Kansas City has three little kids and so I’m just getting hand-me-downs of baby clothes and I’m getting hand-me-downs of maternity clothes and I yeah I think that having for me to have just this one child having cousins for him is going to be so important and he’ll have cousins close by.

Devi (she/her) (43:12.467)
Amazing, amazing. Any kind of as a last, let me just, I’m gonna quickly scroll through questions people sent in to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

Annie Parsons (43:20.791)

Devi (she/her) (43:45.195)
Yeah, I actually, this is another practical question that I’m just thinking through. The commitment to have a child, I think you’ve talked about the cost involved of getting pregnant and then sustaining a pregnancy. I mean, the regular checkups, that’s all very expensive, even with good insurance or I mean, I’m sure good insurance helps. But long term, there are long term costs to having a child, right? And I’m thinking the first one is childcare at the start.

the first, let’s say, first five years before school. Did you have to think through that as well?

Annie Parsons (44:19.242)
Yes, and I’m still thinking through it. It’s coming and I’m just like, oh, this big expense is going to be a part of my life for the next, yeah, probably next five years. And to be honest, I do not have, I have not yet locked in a plan. I have some options in front of me, but I do work from home.

That does not mean that I don’t need child care. I do. But I have a more flexible schedule than some might have. I have some family in town. And I do have, I’m a budgeter. And so I know kind of like line item what I can afford. But yeah, it definitely changes the idea of expendable income. I have had expendable income in the past and I’m literally thinking through things like, well, should I stop getting my hair colored? Should I? Just, you know, practical things that, like different ways to cut costs. And yeah, we will see. We will see how this works out. And one thing that I have learned…

Devi (she/her) (45:29.711)
Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

Annie Parsons (45:44.062)
as a planner, as somebody who finds a lot of comfort and security in having a plan for everything, is that actually, I think with parenthood, whether you’re single or not, you cannot plan for every contingency in advance. There are certain things that, yes, it’s good to have, to be realistic about them and to kind of know what’s coming, but to not know exactly how that’s gonna work. And…

I don’t know. Next time you talk to me, I might have much more gray root in my hair. We’ll see. Ha ha ha.

Devi (she/her) (46:21.055)
Yes. Yeah. Somebody’s question was actually about having you back on in a year to talk about what it has been like, which I would love to do if you’re feel like it in a year’s time. So like maternity leave, do you get maternity leave? How does that work as well? Yeah. Okay.

Annie Parsons (46:30.196)
Mmm. Mm-hmm.

I would love to do that too.

Yes, I’d love to do that.

Annie Parsons (46:41.054)
Yes, yes I do. I had mentioned you know working for a big company and it is one of, I should have mentioned that earlier, my maternity leave I’m getting 20 weeks fully paid and that is you know pretty industry leading for the United States at least and I am, I don’t know that I would be having the same experience without

knowing that time was going to be mine after birth. And so very, very grateful for that. And I recognize that that’s not everybody’s experience.

Devi (she/her) (47:20.847)
Yeah, but I think, I mean, to me, this is really what I hope as well for single people listening right now. I mean, these are incentives to, these are things to think about when you are employed, I think. And it is, I think if you are a woman in your 20s, early 20s listening to this, I hope one thing you’re taking away is that there is some real benefit to developing a solid career pathway.

Annie Parsons (47:35.364)

Annie Parsons (47:48.19)
Yes, yes, I could not be, I would not be in this position at all if I, if I did not have the career that has taken a lot of years to build.

Devi (she/her) (47:59.515)
Yeah. And honestly, Annie, there are married women listening to this right now who are regretting some of their decisions as well, I think, as a result of that. That’s just something we don’t talk to women enough about what it means and what’s involved to make wise career choices and just the impact for generations that can make. So that’s my own little tangent.

Annie Parsons (48:03.218)

Annie Parsons (48:10.827)

Annie Parsons (48:21.895)
Oh, you froze.

There you are. OK. No. OK, yeah.

Devi (she/her) (48:25.979)
Sorry, I think I’m back. Yeah. Okay, well, finally, and I don’t even, I don’t know if this is the right question to end on given the context of our conversation and everything we’ve discussed, but I do wanna put it out there. Look, something Jess and I have talked about in the past is this idea that we see a lot in secular culture, in rom-coms and whatnot, that you see a single dad impression is like, wow, what an amazing guy, but a single mom, and I guess like,

I’m thinking specifically of single women who are maybe in the context of divorce, widowed, or got pregnant out of wedlock, you know, in that quote, scare quote, wedlock. A single mom seems like someone with baggage, right? And how did you feel, did you have to take into consideration this idea of like how this baby, this child might impact the prospect of a finding a long-term relationship?

Annie Parsons (49:23.09)
Yeah, yeah. Yes, definitely. I know that having a kid on my own, in theory, should not preclude me from meeting someone later on. But I’m also realistic, and I know that might be the case, you know? It might be. I might never date again. I might never get married. But if that’s the case, it’s okay.

I don’t view singleness as a problem to be fixed in the same way that I used to. Not anymore. I have a life I really love and certain good things are possible for me because I’m unpartnered. So I do have a lot to be grateful for being single, but I also know that there’s just as much possibility that.. that having this kid, this baby boy who is due in just a few weeks, that could be the thing that leads me to a relationship. I don’t know. Being a mom is going to put me in situations I wouldn’t otherwise be. And that might mean crossing paths with somebody really wonderful, somebody who I wouldn’t meet on an app. So that’s a possibility. And I guess I’ll end by saying this. I no longer dream about marriage. I used to. I spent a lot of years wishing and hoping and thinking and praying to meet the love of my life, but also ultimately being terrified that he didn’t exist or that if he did that I was unlovable or that maybe I was not eligible for love and Now I don’t I don’t dream about getting married anymore but at the same time and maybe paradoxically meeting a good man has actually never felt more possible to me because I am about to experience a miracle. I have this baby boy due in two weeks and he was never a guarantee and his existence, like the gift of him, is nothing short of a miracle and once you experience a miracle it makes other miracles feel all the more possible. Like why not? You know you just you just never know

It turns out that hope is a really reasonable thing to do.

Devi (she/her) (52:28.641)
Wow, that is incredible. I just love that so much. I’m going to stop recording because that is just the most

Annie Parsons (52:35.282)