British-Sierra Leonean author Isha Sesay decided to take the unconventional path and have a baby on her own at the age of 46. Congrats to Sesay on her pregnancy!
Sesay is a well-known journalist and author, building an impressive career through the decades. She published her memoir Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram in 2019, which tells the story of the abduction of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by the militant group Boko Haram in 2014. Sesay was a frontline reporter when the story broke and follows the journeys of the girls who made it home.
Sesay is currently the CEO of OkayMedia, worked as an anchor and correspondent for CNN International for 13 years, became a UN Goodwill Ambassador, and founded an education nonprofit called W.E. Can Lead to help empower African girls. However, she tells TODAY magazine, “in my quiet moments the one thing I wanted the most, to become a mother, remained out of reach.”
At the age of 40, Sesay went through a divorce and began to care for her mother who had just suffered a stroke, For the next six years, she continued to care for her mother, leaving no emotional room for anything else. Sesay says after a subpar relationship with a man with multiple red flags, she finally decided to take her desire to have a child into her own hands:
It was then, in the aftermath of our inevitable breakup, that it hit me: Not having a child would be the greatest regret of my life. And with my biological clock ticking down, if I was waiting for the right man to come along before I did it, well, I might just find myself out of time.
So, I decided to take control of my life and settle on the bravest and scariest decision I have ever made: to have a baby on my own. I had many long conversations with myself and tried to get to grips with questions about what it would mean to not have the support of a partner, both emotionally and financially. How would I handle society’s questions? What would being a single parent mean for my child? I still don’t have all the answers, but I decided to take the leap because I refuse to let fear, social conventions or judgment hold me back from seeking this joy.
We are so happy and proud of Sesay’s decision to not let social conventions get in her way and chart her own path to having a child!
Sesay adds that the process of getting pregnant at the age of 46 hasn’t been easy, requiring meetings with various doctors, blood tests, pelvic exams, bruising injections, nausea-inducing medication and a fibroid surgery. However, the emotional dimension of this journey has been the most challenging, especially surrounding the choice of a sperm donor, which forced Sesay to re-examine her upbringing, values and worldview.
Although Sesay’s first two IVF attempts were unsuccessful, she continued to remain hopeful. A few weeks after the third embryo transfer, Sesay took a pregnancy test and this was her reaction: “When the word “pregnant” flashed up on the tiny screen, I screamed and fell to my knees before bursting into tears.”
Sesay remarks that whenever she says the words, “I am pregnant,” she feels “elated, emotional, terrified, but above all thankful.” She plans to share her pregnancy experience in the weeks ahead in the hope that “if there is anyone out there being held back from chasing their heart’s desire — no matter what it is — maybe my story will spark something in them and provide the little nudge they need to go for it.”
Congrats to Sesay on her pregnancy journey and we wish her all the best for the upcoming months as she gets ready to welcome her child into her life!
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