To Be or Not to Be a Single Mother by Choice (SMC)

womancrossroadsThere are many reasons TO become a Single Mother by Choice (SMC) and many reasons NOT TO. It’s such an individual decision to make. It is difficult to be a single mom, very difficult, but I think it’s also difficult to be a married mom. This decision isn’t one to be taken lightly, and it helps to really look at your whole life while you decide whether being a SMC will fit into it. When I was thinking I worried endlessly about what might happen: “What will I say to people when I can’t hide my pregnancy anymore?” “How will I tell my family?” What if people judge me?” “What if I meet “the one” right after I get pregnant or after I have the baby?”.

What I found out (much to my surprise) was that all those worries disappeared pretty quickly once I became pregnant. I had one or two people show disapproval when I announced my pregnancy, but they weren’t people I cared much about so it didn’t matter to me. I was so thrilled to be pregnant, and once the bulk of the telling was over, I just reveled in the experience as much as possible. My family took a while to warm up to the idea, but I understood (from reading posts on the SMC Forum) that while we spend months and sometimes years getting ready to take the leap, thus feeling comfortable with the concept, the same can’t be said for our families.

My dad and sister (mom died years ago) love my son without question, and there is no awkwardness associated with the means I used to bring him into the world. I was not raised in a conservative family, but I do have SMC friends who were, and most of their families have eventually come to accept and even embrace the decision these women have made. Not all families come around, but most do on some level or another.

I haven’t met “the one” yet, but the other thing I figured out is that if I do meet him he would need to be the kind of man who would welcome my son into his life. It does happen. Women find partners who love both them and their child. Some even go on to have a second child with the man they meet.

Sometimes people make insensitive comments, often well intentioned. When I told people I was pregnant, several questioned my choice to go this route – they couldn’t understand why I hadn’t found anyone. At first it bugged me because I saw this as such a “Plan B”, but now I see it simply as my life’s path, full of all sorts of experiences, both challenging and rewarding. I’m a MUCH stronger, more self-assured, confident person now and attribute that to having to really put my priorities on the line and stand behind them. I have become so confident in my decision that I don’t feel like I “settled”.

Yes, I still want the whole deal: mom, dad, 2 kids, etc., but I’ve had to make compromises. I waited a little too long (because I fell in love at 38 years old just as I was going to try to conceive, and it cost me a precious 2 years) to have another child, but I’m coming to peace with that as well.

So if you’re on the fence, listen to your heart, and make your decision based upon what you know you want/need, not on the “what if’s” of life. You don’t know whether you’ll meet someone or how your family will react or whether you’ll have regrets or feel like you did something wrong. Maybe these worries will come true, but maybe they won’t. But, if you truly question whether you are ready to take this step, then I suggest spending a little more time thinking. Maybe see a therapist who has experience with SMCs (I did, and she was a lifeline through the whole process). If you haven’t joined the SMC email lists, that would be a good thing to do. You’ll be able to see how the conversations shift – from worrying about external things to becoming invested in becoming a mother.

Becoming a mom is hands-down the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can’t count the days I have sat rocking my 17 month old, crying at the thought of what life would be like if I hadn’t taken the leap and become a mom. I’m tired all the time and my house is a mess, but my heart is full of love and joy I could never have imagined before I became a mom.

Good luck to you (and all the other women who are going through this difficult decision-making process)!

Andrea

8 thoughts on “To Be or Not to Be a Single Mother by Choice (SMC)”

  1. Hi there. This is the first blog I have written on and am scared silly. I just found out a week ago I am 5 weeks pregnant. I am 38 and have wanted to have a child for the past 2 years but my relationship was too young and I was waiting for the right time/guy. After seeing a fertility specialist to gain information, she told me I wsa ovulating and yes, that night my boyfriend didn't use protection (once) and we are pregnant. He is supportive although I'm not so sure if our relationship is the right one (i broke up with him before I found out). He's a lawyer and works countless hours 7 days a week which was the source of our issue. I feel like everything just landed on us – finances, moving in together, how to care for the baby – the steps have been jumped over and it is all at once. Sometimes my brain can't even sort out which issues to tackle first.

    At 38, financially sound, great career, strong person, etc. I don't think I can terminate this. But this wasn't what I pictured and am scared it will be to much for me to handle. Maybe it is better to wait and find the right guy to have a child with and do things in order?

  2. In response to SF, welcome! And please feel free to send me your posts which I'd be happy to use as blog posts. They'll get more exposure than the comments, and deserve more!
    Jane

  3. As I have just joined the SMC albeit 10 minutes ago and after reading numerous blogs, I am beginning to exhale. I have found my "sister's" in this journey.
    On the verge of tears now and previously today when I sat with my OB-GYN to discuss my options (I will be 36 this year) I had made up my mind that I will move forward with artifical insemination before I stepped into his office.

    My family is joyfully supportive, I am excited but scared to death. My significant other is also supportive but in a situation that physically will not allow for us to conceive naturally and we have not dated long enough to know if we are ready to make that marital committment. I told him I could not allow myself to put my decisions on hold anymore as time was not on my side. I am glad to see he has not hit the ground running from my decision and knows he is not obligated to be "the daddy" I am prepared to do this with or without him.

    To avoid a lengthy blog (my first time to blog ever aside from FB) I have so many dreams of motherhood surrounded by fears of failure, loneliness, and being ostracized(I am Catholic nonetheless) So let me say I look forward to discovering this newfound community and pray for all of you that are on this journey as well.

  4. Hi there, I have really appreciated reading everyone's stories on this blog. Some very strong and passionate women are here, and I can definitely relate. I am a single mother by choice, 35 with a six year old I absolutely adore and seriously contemplating having another baby via donor insemination. The father is involved with my daughter but from a distance – we see him about once every two months. He is against the idea of course, but I really feel it's not his choice – because he is and has always been having another child – and we are not and will not ever be together, just really incompatible. I am a business woman with a very good job, etc… I have done it once on my own and know that I could do it again… I'm just more fearful now than I was the first time around. I don't want to miss out on the love of another child both for my daughter and for myself. Just really on the fence about what to do, and I just feel like time is ticking away.

  5. Thank you for this. I'm also a "thinker", and it can feel like a very lonely place to be. I just joined SMC and am desperately awaiting the information on local chapters to connect with others! This piece was beautifully written. It reminds me that, regardless of 'how', at the heart of it all, I just want to be a mom.

  6. In response to Sandra and Gill:

    Sandra, if you send me an email. I may be able to help you find a therapist who is familiar with SMC issues. I'm a therapist and know many others. In addition, the local SMCs in your area would probably be a good source of referrals if you have an SMC chapter near you. You can contact me by clicking on the email link on the upper right-hand side of this page where it says "Contact me".

    Gill, we have a chapter in the UK which is quite strong. Join SMC and we'll put you in touch.

  7. Thank you Andrea! Your post really hits home closely for me right now. I'm a "thinker" and I have so many fears about becoming a SMC, but it would be nice to find a therapist who has experience with SMCS, as you suggest. I know without a doubt I want to be a mom, I've always know it, and I've bee waiting for a good 7 years. It's so frustrating to hear everyone around me say "give it time, you'll meet someone, and start a family". I'm 32 now, financially stable, and I've had several relationships, some more serious than others. I'm totally burned out on investing my time in a man. All I want is to give all of my love, energy and time to my child, not another man. Is that wrong? "Time" is not going to change how I feel.

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