Location: Boston, MA
Marital Status: Married
Education: B.A. from Yale University
As a foreign correspondent in Russia in her 20s and early 30s, and then a reporter for the New York Times, “career kind of came first,” says Carey. At age 39, she reached the deadline she set for herself to have children. Still unmarried, she made the decision to become a single parent.
“I started sperm shopping and finally settled on a donor who was very tall, blonde and blue-eyed and had a high IQ. I ordered 8 vials,” says Carey. “The very day the sperm arrived, I met Sprax, who would eventually become the father of our children and my husband.”
Carey’s freaky fate became even freakier when she passed off the vials to her friend Beth. It wasn’t long before Beth met a man and became pregnant. Beth gave the vials to Pam and it happened again.
Was it magic?
“I will say that having the donor sperm was my ace in the hole. I wasn’t as desperate for a potential father as I would’ve been,” says Carey, who is now, at age 51, married and mother to two children, ages 7 and 10.
Magic or not, the moral every FOF can take from Carey’s story: It really is never too late to find love.
Why did you and your two friends, Beth and Pam, write this book?
When people heard our story they said ‘Ohmigod you have to write that down.’ We were all writers and kept journals—so the writing part came naturally. We wanted to give some rosier news to single women who hear all doom and gloom.
You all found love and motherhood after receiving the sperm, but you were all up for single motherhood, is that correct?
That’s right. All three of us reached the point where, although we still wanted love, we really just needed to have a baby in time. We were all ready to do single parenting or co-parenting.
Why do you think you had so much trouble finding love?
If you know you want a child, finding love later is particularly difficult because there’s huge pressure on everyone you meet—is he potential father material? It’s not good for building a relationship. By the time I was 34, I had this very strong, conscious goal of settling down, but it just didn’t happen easily.
Tell me about how you met the man who would eventually become your husband.
We met online. On our first date, we attended a talk by a rock climber. On the second date, we had dinner, and I told him I was planning to have a baby, but he didn’t need to worry because I could do it on my own.
How did he react?
He definitely registered it but didn’t want to stop dating me after that. We continued dating for a couple months, but it was up and down. I was honest with him that I was willing to use the sperm donor but would much rather have a child with him. I told him it could be a no strings deal, and he could be as involved as he wanted to be.
How old is Sprax?
About 10 months younger than me.
Did he want children?
He definitely wanted children, but at that point he was thinking, maybe in five years. He’s a very free spirit—he wasn’t ready to commit.
So did he feel pressured?
Yes. We had been dating about six months, I was almost 40 and was like, ‘okay, I can’t wait any longer.’ I went in and had one insemination with the donor sperm. That really made Sprax step up to the plate. He said ‘alright, I’ll help you,’ and he joined the project. I eventually got pregnant, but when I was about three months in, we broke up. It was too much pressure on him.
What happened once you had your baby?
My daughter was born, and he would come by two or three nights a week. He was really a great father, but we were not in a relationship. In fact, we were dating other people. Then, when I was about 42 and a half, I realized if I was ever going to have a second child, it needed to be then. I asked him if he would like the same deal again. He thought about it and decided to go ahead. When we went to try for the second child we both had this epiphany and realized that we loved each other and have been together ever since. Now we’re married.
Wow, what an unusual and intense love story!
I know! We built our love in the course of doing this monumental project together—raising children. Do I wish Sprax and I had several years adventuring around together before the children arrived? Yes! I’m really hoping we can have that couple time together in our retirement.
How do you think being older influenced love and motherhood for you?
Once we got past the initial pressure, being older has been really helpful for us in terms of being together and staying together. We’ve both had a long time to date other people. We know what else is out there. If we are having any frictions it’s mostly because of our own issues and not the other person. Raising children when you’re older takes so much of your remaining energy, you’re just very unlikely to stray. Now that we are both over 50, it’s a cliche, but we do feel like the children keep us younger. The parents of our children’s friends are mostly ten years younger.
The sperm was magic, in that it helped you find late-in-life love, but it sounds like it was still incredibly complicated. Do you have regrets?
I feel incredibly lucky that I got to throw myself into a career and then still have children. I think all three of us co-authors of Three Wishes were oddly lucky. We had miscarriages and complications, but all three of us had our first child naturally. The statistics tell us that’s not the norm. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to a younger woman.
What advice would you give to someone looking for late-in-life love?
Men are attracted to women who are already complete. Some think that’s the real magic. For us, the donor sperm, filled the void we all had. We had the means to motherhood in our own hands. Whatever you are “missing,” if you can fill those needs, that can make you more attractive to a man.