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I’m asexual — but it didn’t stop me becoming a mum 
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Lifestyle, I’m asexual — but it didn’t stop me becoming a mum , Bryony Farmer with son Oryn Picture Supplied You’re reading Solo, a week long ., by Press24 Uk, where many people are interested in watching and following the news,I’m asexual — but it didn’t stop me becoming a mum , and now to the details.

I’m asexual — but it didn’t stop me becoming a mum 


Bryony Farmer with son Oryn (Picture: Supplied)

You’re reading Solo, a week-long series by Metro.co.uk exploring the highs and lows of single life in 2024.

Bryony Farmer was one of those children who was utterly obsessed with babies.

‘I had every doll out there, Baby Annabelle, Baby Born, Baby Chou Chou – all the dresses and everything,’ Bryony, now 26, recalls. ‘I was fascinated by my baby cousin and always had a very strong maternal instinct.’

It was ‘never a question’ in Bryony’s mind that she would become a mother someday, even when she realised, aged 20, that she identifies as asexual. 

‘The first time I heard the term mentioned, I immediately went “oh my god, that’s me!”. It felt like finding a missing piece of myself,’ Bryony, from South London, tells Metro.co.uk. ‘And I have slowly over the years become more confident and open about that part of my identity.’

In hindsight, there were signs during her school years. She didn’t understand why friends were so consumed by their crushes, or ‘get it’ when they’d comment on ‘cute boys’ in magazines. 

‘At that age, you sort of question: “Well, maybe I’m gay.” That’s your first thought,’ she says. ‘But then I was like, “No, I’m really not attracted to women – this doesn’t work either!” I questioned whether I was just a bit behind all of my friends, a slow developer. I got my period quite late, so I kind of thought it was all linked to that.’ 

As her friends were experimenting with first loves, Bryony was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease aged 15, which saw her housebound and restricted to homeschooling. For the next few years, she simply didn’t have the mental or physical capacity to think about dating.

At 19, she tentatively dipped her toes into the scene, thinking that if she ‘really got to know someone,’ sexual attraction might follow. She remembers a pivotal night where a man, ‘very politely’, asked if he could kiss her on the fifth date. 

‘I said yes, and I really kicked myself for that, because I didn’t want it…I just felt like I had to,’ she says. ‘I remember going home on the train afterwards, literally shaking and feeling just so icky and not understanding what was wrong with me. 

‘It was a horrible experience. I got home and straightaway ran myself a bath.’ 

‘I realised there are other people out there like me.’ (Picture: Supplied)

Not long afterwards, she heard the term ACE, which is shorthand for asexual, on a YouTube video and everything clicked into place. 

‘I realised there are other people out there like me, there’s a term for me, there’s not something wrong, and that was really quite wonderful,’ she says. ‘I always knew I wanted to have children, so there was never any doubt in my mind it would happen, it was just a case of how.’

Her first move towards motherhood came in the shape of volunteering. With the help of her parents, Bryony had moved out of the family home and bought her own flat the year before. She had a spare room, so applied to host those in need via the charity Refugees Welcome. 

‘This was around 2015, 2016 – the height of the refugee crisis in Europe – and I really felt like I had to do something,’ she says. ‘I hosted seven or eight women, some were pregnant and some had children.’ 

The experience was so rewarding that Bryony, who runs a business selling sustainable menstrual products and is a content creator on YouTube, applied to be a foster carer at 21 and soon fostered nine children.

Around the same time, after years of excruciating periods, she was finally diagnosed with Adenomyosis, a condition that causes abnormal tissue to grow into the uterine muscle.

‘When I got that diagnosis, the gynaecologist was very upfront with me about my fertility, and the fact that if I wanted children I should probably try sooner rather than later, as there is no cure for adeno, only treatment to manage it,’ she explains. ‘Many people with the condition end up having hysterectomies later down the line.’

‘I spent my whole pregnancy thinking I must have made a mistake.’ (Picture: Supplied)

At 24, she took the plunge and underwent fertility treatment via sperm donor. Her second round of IUI was a success, but seeing those two blue lines in her bathroom didn’t quite give her the ‘Disney feeling’ she was expecting.

‘I think I had this idea in my head [of what seeing a positive pregnancy test would be like]. I call it the ‘social media-fication,’ she says. 

‘People make those Reels when they find out they’re pregnant, and they’re hysterically crying with happiness, there’s dramatic music in the background, and I was just like “okay, I’m pregnant”. I think I was conscious that having adeno increased my chances of miscarriage, so I was trying not to get my hopes up too much.’ 

Single women are becoming solo mothers by choice in record numbers

Did you know that single women are among the fastest growing groups seeking fertility treatment?

Just over 2,800 women with no partner had IVF in 2021, according to data from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the UK’s fertility regulator. This marks a 44% increase since 2019.

Professor Geeta Nargund, medical director of CREATE Fertility and abc IVF, has seen an influx of single women coming forwards for consultation at her own clinics, particularly post-pandemic.

‘This in part could be due to women having reflected over the pandemic on when or whether they were ready to start a family, despite not having found the right partner, and opting to try IVF as a single woman,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

IVF and IUI are not routinely available for single women via the NHS in most areas, and Prof. Nargund believes changing this ‘has the potential to improve the equality and diversity of our society.’

‘It is unacceptable that some women are unable to access NHS-funded IVF simply due to their relationship status, and are often priced out of private treatment,’ she says.

‘I believe that in order to help all women who want to create a family – including single women or same sex couples – it is essential that they are supported fairly and equally by the NHS.’

Though her excitement did grow, Bryony had a very challenging pregnancy, which saw her being sick ‘pretty much 24/7’ from around five weeks onwards. 

‘From 11 weeks I couldn’t stand up for more than five minutes without fainting, and in my third trimester I developed heart palpitations,’ she says.

‘I also developed quite serious depression and anxiety throughout my whole pregnancy, and had some really severe intrusive thoughts. I also had a suicidal episode about midway through. I hadn’t had any mental health issues prior to pregnancy so it really caught me off guard.’

Going through all of this as a single mother-to-be, without a partner to help at home, meant Bryony needed to temporarily move back into her parents home for support. Thankfully, her small business was able to ‘almost run itself’ thanks to her ‘fantastic team’, but she acknowledges other single mothers by choice might not have such robust support networks in place.

‘I spent my whole pregnancy thinking I must have made a mistake because I felt so awful, I didn’t really feel any connection to the baby,’ she admits.

‘I was so scared he was going to come out and I was going to realise I didn’t actually want him. Luckily the minute I heard him cry I felt the start of a connection, and it’s been strong ever since. I’ve never regretted having him since he was born, and in many ways I’m even more glad I did!’

Baby Oryn will turn one this month and compared to her difficult pregnancy, Byrony says the first year of solo parenting has been a breeze.

She stayed with her parents for the first six weeks, which she says was ‘invaluable’, but has since moved back into her flat and managed night feeds and teething tantrums just fine. Her parents have agreed to take Oryn for one overnight each week if she needs it, but so far she’s yet to take them up on the offer.

‘It sounds funny, but I genuinely don’t find motherhood hard,’ she says, adding that connecting with other solo mothers via Facebook and whatsapp groups has given her a solid community.

‘I don’t think my social life has ever been this active before!’ she says. ‘I’ve even been on holiday with some of my solo mum friends, to Greece and Centre Parcs, and we hope to do more in the future.’

Her biggest piece of advice for anyone thinking about becoming a solo mother by choice is to really look at your support system. 

‘Do you have family or friends that can support you if you need help? Have you had a proper conversation with them about it?’ she asks.

‘There’s a big difference between family and friends that can offer emotional support – “that’s great, go you!” – vs practical physical support -“we’re happy to step in and take them for a few hours so you can have a break every other weekend.”‘

It hasn’t been an easy journey, but Bryony has no regrets. 

‘I remember before having him that people would sometimes say “you don’t understand what it’s like to love like this until you’ve had a child”, and it really annoyed me,’ she says.

‘But I have to confess they were right, you really can’t explain just how much you love this tiny human being you’ve created. I feel privileged to be able to experience it.’ 

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