A woman who decided to have a baby without a partner has revealed how she became a mother 'on her own terms'.
Skylar, 28, gave birth to her daughter, Shy, in May of this year after a three-day labour, and she was helped through the process by a birthing doula after keeping her pregnancy secret.
The new mum explained that she wanted to become a parent before she was 30, and when she was 27, she decided to bite the bullet and do it.
This involved inseminating herself with donor sperm and paying the doula £2,000 to help her birth her child after she fell pregnant in September 2021.
While Skylar did let the people closest to her know she was pregnant, she otherwise hid her bump and only left her home at obscure times.
After giving birth to her daughter, Shy, at Stony Brook University Hospital in Long Island, New York, the 28-year-old says she's now been 'completed'.
Skylar, a beautician from New York, explained that she never planned to have a baby with a partner: "I always knew I would have a baby girl and planned on waiting until I was 30 to have a baby.
"But when I was 27, I had an epiphany, I just couldn't wait any longer to have a child. I had always known I would get a sperm donor.
"I didn't want to have to rely on anyone else to raise my daughter or share my child. So many of my friends have partners that don't contribute anything or are in toxic relationships with their baby's dad - I didn't want that for my daughter.
"I felt like I had a missing piece - but my little girl has completed me. I never planned on having a baby with anyone else but myself - I always wanted to do it all on my own terms.
"I'm not closed off to letting someone in romantically but I am so happy on my own, I am extremely independent and have spent my whole life building my own business."
She added: "I had a vision on 4th July when I knew I just had to have her.
"I know we have been together in past lives and our souls have been connected. All my friends were having babies and I knew I had to get her here. I had never wanted anything more."
Skylar continued: "I had always talked about getting a donor and it was something I had been thinking about my whole life.
"I decided to choose a donor who looked like me and was creative and artistic.
"It really worked out because she looks the spitting image of me - there is no doubt she is my child. I inseminated myself in my home on my own with sperm that was sent in the post."
Skylar explained that she found her perfect sperm donor on the internet and the pair drew up a legal agreement before things progressed.
"His semen arrived in the post. It came in special packaging to keep it cold and then I had to artificially inseminate myself.
"It was a super easy process."
She fell pregnant straight away after inseminating herself, but she admitted that it took a while for her to process, saying: "I took seven tests to be sure, I was just in complete shock.
"I was absolutely ecstatic, I couldn't believe my eyes. I chose to only tell a very small select group of my friends, as I'm not close to my family. The people I did tell were so happy for me."
Explaining why she largely kept her pregnancy a secret, she said it was so that she could enjoy a peaceful nine months.
"I didn't want to post online or share my journey because I didn't want outside interference," she said.
While Skylar hadn't been close to her family before falling pregnant, her mum found out by accident when an insurance letter was sent to her house.
Now, with the arrival of baby Shy, she said they have grown close.
Skylar explained that those who did know about her pregnancy were not surprised as she had been open about her desire to have a baby with a sperm donor.
She said that the route she chose was 'a lot cheaper' than opting for a private sperm donor, which is why she got a doula to help her through her birth.
"A doula is someone who guides you through the process, she was my rock throughout my pregnancy and was worth the money," Skylar said.
"My doula was there for me for general support and advice, I couldn't have done it without her.
"She didn't come to all my appointments but was there for me during my birth. She was my voice of reason and rock.
"It did get lonely at times - especially on the day I got birth I felt like I was judged for being on my own but it's what I chose, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Skylar said that she doesn't want any more children, and she is sharing her story to let other women know that it is possible to become a mother alone.
"If Shy and the donor want to, there is nothing to stop them meeting when she is older, but he won't have any involvement in raising or supporting Shy," Skylar said.
"Shy is everything and more. She is my missing piece and I want women out there to know that it is possible, they can have children on their own."