I am a Single Mother by Choice (SMC), living in the Boston area; my son will turn two this month. He’s getting to the age when I can start communicating with him about family structures, and I’m reading him books about different types of families.
While I’ve read a few things about telling your child about the absence of a father, I haven’t seen as much about the issue of how you frame things to a broader society. Certainly I explain about donor conception, the issue of my biological clock, sperm banks, and so forth, but that just addresses how things came about. It would also sound like my family structure was a last resort, which in the moment it was.
The whole truth, however, is that I did not want to settle for a bad relationship. I know that a bad relationship is harmful to the child, and in my case, it did not seem financially necessary. I also know that many marriages are just bad relationships.
Once actually pregnant, I was thrilled to be experiencing a bond with my child that was not contingent on my feelings about someone else, i.e., another parent – – feelings that could turn negative. While our society seems to acknowledge that a father may have hostile feelings towards a child because of his distaste for the mother, one hardly hears about the mother’s potential disconnection from her child due to her disappointment with the father.
While the significant benefits of the SMC route — the stability, the stronger bond with one’s child, the greater ability to make parenting decisions, the inability to shift responsibility, are specifically mentioned among the SMCs that I know, it’s still challenging to decide how much of that to present to those around us.