• Stephanie Holt with baby Madden. Photo: Cleeland photography (Supplied/Cleeland photography)
Stephanie, who appeared on Insight’s episode Solo Parents, knew she wanted to be a mum, with or without a partner. At age 27 she made that dream a reality. She details her pregnancy and motherhood journey as a solo parent.
As told to Gemma Wilson

22 May 2018 - 4:51 PM  UPDATED 23 May 2018 - 9:57 AM

I could not have been happier when I found out I was expecting a baby boy. I was 26 and desperate to be a mother.

But just after I told Australia I was expecting, when I announced my pregnancy on Insight’s episode Solo Parents, I got up off the couch one day to suddenly find I was bleeding heavily.

I’d had a gestational hematoma and doctors told me I could lose my baby.

I was devastated. It had taken me a long time to fall pregnant through IVF, and to make it this far only to be told it could all be over was heartbreaking.

Due to the size of the bleed I didn’t see much hope of my baby boy surviving. I remember feeling alone and isolated, suddenly realising I really was doing this all on my own, without the support of a loving partner by my side helping me through such a difficult time.

Thankfully after many anxious weeks the blood reabsorbed into my body. From then on my pregnancy was pretty much smooth sailing and the only thing I had to deal with was a little bit of morning sickness – something I felt blessed to have. Every day that I woke up feeling sick I was happy, knowing my baby was becoming stronger and healthier.

Nine months seemed to go forever, like most women will tell you, until finally at age 27, and three weeks out from my due date, Madden decided to make his entrance into the world.

My twin sister and best friend were there to support me through the labor. As well as them, I had an amazing midwife and an incredible obstetrician who had been there for every step of the pregnancy. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything by not having a partner by my side.

My labor was fairly straightforward until the very end when Madden got stuck and the doctors had to help guide him out of the birth canal.

He was quickly whisked away to the Intensive Care Unit but before that I was able to hold him for a few precious minutes. I’ll never forget that moment. It was the most incredible feeling ever. Any doubts that I ever had were gone as soon as I laid eyes on him, he was by far the best decision I’d ever made.

Motherhood is definitely tough, I think it’s tough for all first time mum's, but it is hands down the best job in the world.

Four months into my motherhood journey and both Madden and I are doing really well.

I know when I appeared on Insight a lot of people wondered how I was able to afford IVF and I’m sure that people wonder if I just live off the government – I can assure people I do not. I’m on paid maternity leave and I’ve worked really hard to ensure I can afford to have this time off with him and that I can provide for him.

With a new baby keeping me busy I haven’t had time to meet anybody, romantically speaking, but I’m open to hopefully one day finding Mr Right. If I do then my frozen embryos will stay frozen and I’d like to fall pregnant the more ‘traditional’ way. If that’s not in my plan then I know I will definitely go down the IVF path again to give Madden a sibling.

I would encourage other women who want to be a mum, but don’t have a partner, to consider IVF. It has it’s challenges but the end result is so rewarding.

Motherhood is definitely tough, I think it’s tough for all first time mum's, but it is hands down the best job in the world. I wouldn’t change it, it is everything I hoped it would be and Madden brings so much joy and love to my life. I couldn’t imagine life without him.

IVF clinics around the country are reporting a significant increase in single women taking up their services. This week, Insight looks at why women - and some men - are opting to become parents without partners, and what the long term effects are on children.