Choosing whether or not to become a Single Mother by Choice (SMC) is a very personal decision. And no one can make this decision for you. Only you can figure out which path is right for you and which will make you happiest and most fulfilled.
That said, of course there are hundreds of ways of living child-free, just as there are hundreds of ways of living with children. Each person has to decide what parts of her/his life she/he wants to explore or expand. Everyone’s going to find fulfillment in a different way. Some will travel. Some will study and learn. Some will explore their own creativity.
For everyone who had a difficult road to parenthood, there’s another who became pregnant on the first try. For everyone who felt that the first few months were impossibly difficult and exhausting, there’s another who felt that everything was smooth sailing. For everyone whose child was a horrible three-year-old, there’s another whose child was horrific at five. And that’s just considering women who have neurotypical children with no special needs.
In the end, choosing to become a parent is, in some ways, taking a leap of faith. Faith in yourself, in a sense — faith that you’ll be able to handle whatever the world throws at you, whoever your child turns out to be. I don’t think any of us had a complete plan when we started on this — I don’t think it’s possible to completely plan or predict parenthood. We’re all sort of making it up as we go along, each in our own way.
Melissa Ann Singer is a Senior Editor at Tor/Forge Books. She is @maseditor on Twitter, where she talks about writing and publishing, feminism, parenting, and being an SMC.