Blog > News > Our family: The Stork and I partnership
September 3, 2022
Our family: The Stork and I partnership
We are delighted to announce a new partnership with the fantastic, ‘The Stork and I’, who offer support, guidance, and coaching for solo parents by choice.
The Stork and I was founded 4 years ago by Mel Johnson, a solo parent by choice herself. They advocate for empowering women to know that having a baby ‘solo’ is a possibility. From online communities, blogs, podcasts and coaching sessions, The Stork and I offer a completely supportive approach to solo-by-choice-parents.
The inspiration behind “The Stork and I”
Mel tells us that when she was 29, her relationship broke down. She said, “At the same time as grieving the loss of my relationship, I was also suddenly grieving the loss of what I thought having children would look like and when.”
Although over the years following, Mel threw herself back into the dating scene, she didn’t find anyone that she had the right connection with. Mel tells us, “I thought if I don’t meet someone by age 35, I’ll do it on my own, but if I’m honest, I didn’t actually think that would ever happen.” When Mel turned 36, she decided to explore options for doing it on her own. She noted that, “no celebrities were doing it, no friends were doing it, I just felt I had no one to talk to, to ask questions to, no one to learn from.”
The journey to parenthood
Mel contacted her local fertility clinic who she tells us, “Were great at explaining all of my options and what would happen at each stage and when, however, I really wanted to know more about the emotional side of what I was about to embark on and the support for my specific circumstances just weren’t there.”
Mel underwent IVF and had 3 embryos. Her second embryo stuck and is now her beautiful 4-year-old daughter. She raises her daughter as a solo-by-choice parent.
How “The Stork and I” came to life
Mel tells us, “When I was on maternity leave, I decided that I didn’t want anyone else on this journey going through it alone. I wanted to start a community of people going through the same thing and so that’s when I started ‘The Stork and I’."
Mel first started by writing a blog. In lockdown Mel was listening to a podcast by Jay Shetty who she remembers said, “We’re in a moment of history, what do you want to tell people you did?” Mel was incredibly inspired by this and so decided to buy a second-hand microphone off Ebay and signed up to a ‘how to podcast’ course and started her very own podcast on solo-by-choice parenting. The podcast is hugely popular with over 70k downloads and is now in its 5th series. Mel tells us that she has people message her every day to say how useful, informative and comforting all of the work she does is and this inspires her to continue to build The Stork and I brand.
In 2022, Mel started an online membership. She runs a series of events to help bring the community closer together. “As supportive as friends and family are, no-one fully understands what it is like unless they have been through it themselves, it is so comforting to have people who really, truly understand,” she adds.
Support available to members
As well as blogs, an online community and podcasts, Mel also offers group coaching courses. She tells us, “I find these so important to bring people together and form the support.”
There are 3 courses that Mel runs.
The first course is about how to start the solo-by-choice parenthood journey, with emphasis on how to let go of what you thought parenthood would look like for you.
The second course surrounds being pregnant as a solo mum. “It is a little bit like an antenatal group, except we talk about all emotional aspects of what raising our children might be like and form friendships where the mums-to be can set up a WhatsApp groups and stay in touch once the babies are born,” says Mel.
The third course is about conversations surrounding solo parenthood. “We talk about how to communicate to our children about what it means to be donor conceived but also to think to the future, how to have these conversations with schools or our children’s friends’ parents, about their conception.”
Collaborating with HSFC
Mel tells us, “I’m super excited. From a clinical point of view, you’re the experts. At the same time, people might also want to discuss the non-medical side. Maybe the patients will still be holding grief about how they thought they would be having a family or maybe they’re feeling anxious about the support network?” Mel recalls that she has lots of people message her saying, “we wish we had known about you sooner.”
Mel says, “What is so brilliant about the partnership is that people will be immediately signposted to a group for support. Where they will find other people to reach out to for advice. So many people don’t know the support is out there.”
A single-mums-by-choice community
Mel says, “Whilst people are going through treatment, they have a virtual community to connect with.” She adds, “It’s not always an easy journey, so it’s great that there is a community who can support them”.
The team at HSFC are also looking forward to inviting Mel to be a guest speaker on some of our upcoming webinars!
We would like to extend a warm welcome to Mel and The Stork and I to our HSFC family. If you would like to know more about becoming a solo-by-choice parent, then do not hesitate in contacting us today. We would love to welcome you to our family.