Meditations on Choosing Single Motherhood

I was interviewing a parenting expert who has written over 23 books on parenting and appears on shows like Dr. Phil and The Today Show about disciplining the preverbal toddler when I decided to just go ahead and ask her, the expert, what she thought about women who intentionally choose to have a child on their own, a child who would be brought into the world without a biological father.

I did this, I thought, because I want to write about how children of SMC moms fair compared to the conventional mom-dad household (which is actually pretty non-existent today anyway), but after hearing her response, I was surprised by the way I felt. Basically she iterated what many SMC moms who have written on the subject say. I’m paraphrasing here but she said women who plan to have a child are committed to parenting and any kid with a parent like that is already ahead of the game.

This wasn’t coming from the theoretical mouths of psychologists or sociologists, but a real educator in child development whose work is dedicated to rearing confident, well-adjusted members of society. I felt redeemed without having realized I ever had previous doubts about my decision. If I debated the issue, I may not have my beautiful son today.

It was relatively easy for me. My family and friends didn’t question my plan to have a baby on my own. I never had to deal with the judgment many women face both in the workplace and in their personal lives. Without the judgment, I didn’t have to judge myself, but somewhere still and quiet in the back of my mind was this thought: my child won’t experience what I have had with my father.

I’m a daddy’s girl. Not in the here’s-a-car-at-sixteen and tuition-at-an-Ivy-League daddy’s girl, but the kind of girl who was always found on daddy’s lap, and even with all of his faults and after having become an adult, I still have this child-like perception of him as a hero. Of course, my son can have that with the man I decide to make a life with. His father doesn’t have to be biological, but the still and quiet thought that nagged at me disappeared after speaking to my interviewee, and that was nice.

Love transcends blood. My son will keep my last name even if I do marry, and before having my son, I decided I would keep my last name, an ancient Basque name originally spelled Otxoa, which means Wolf. So, it isn’t as if he doesn’t have a strong bloodline, and perhaps it’s high time children take on their mother’s line anyway. In some small way I’ve created the matriarchal society I wish we lived in, one that would balance out our phallocentric one where the naked, human body is prohibitive and sex education inadequate while TV, films, video games, even cartoons are replete with violence and bloodshed, in which women make seventy-seven cents to every dollar a man makes, in which the industrial war complex is STILL fueling our economy. I could go on and on, but that’s another blog post. . .

4 thoughts on “Meditations on Choosing Single Motherhood”

  1. Thank you for this post. I am a single mom by choice and having a very rough moment–this post is empowering at a time I desperately need it.

  2. Hi! Thank you for your insight. You had the same little voice in your head that I am having. I am planning to become a single mom and I was worried about how my child will be deprived. I have a great family system and my father is a big part of my life; he will fill the void. I am still in the planning phase, but I feel so much better now. Thanks!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the blog post!

      I wanted to make sure that you know about the Single Mothers by Choice organization? About half of our members are not yet moms — they’re thinking and/or trying to conceive or adopt — and you could get good support if you’d like to become part of our membership. To join, go to http://www.singlemothersbychoice.org and look at Membership options.

  3. A comment about a very minor aspect of your post: the statement about not being a “tuition-at-an-ivy-league-school” kind of Daddy’s girl seemed to me disdainful towards a) parents who pay for their kids’ education and/or b) an ivy-league education. I wasn’t an ivy-leaguer myself (although I know many people who were/are), but my parents did pay my way through college. It’s potentially a great thing if parents can pay their kids’ way through a prestigious school that, whether it seems fair or not, provides a specific pedigree that can be critical to achieving success in certain fields, including public interest in certain professions in which graduates often find that crushing debt stops them from accepting low-paying jobs that are considered noble by many. Also, if done in the right way, parents can finance their kids’ education in such way that doesn’t spoil the child.

    I had a roommate who struggled a great deal financially because her parents, who had the financial means, didn’t contribute towards paying for her education. I felt bad that she had to struggle so much in those circumstances. I am guessing that you come from a background different than mine, and so I share my perspective. But if you come from my same background and feel differently, then I simply nod to a difference in opinion.

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