There 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)!