Is Being A Single Parent Right For You
This article was written by Lynn Joseph on behalf of Sherley Altidor.
Today, I’m strictly talking to single women who are in a healthy financial situation and would like to have a child by birth, adoption, etc… and do not desire to be in a relationship. To be clear, this is not a scenario in which people have been in long term relationships, have children during that time, and things don’t work out. Also, let’s take out the scenario in which pregnancy caused by infidelity plays a role in a breakup and single parenthood comes after separation. Eliminate all scenarios running through your head. Single women who are happy and healthy without being in a relationship and are looking to start their own family… this is for you.
Being a single mother is not a negative thing
Society has made us believe that being a single mother is a negative thing. With single fathers, we might automatically assume that the mother has passed away or is unfit to parent. Therefore, single fathers are praised to an almost unbelievable extent as some of the greatest parents in the world. But when you see a single mother, the assumption may often be that whatever happened was her fault – and it doesn’t stop there because the more children she has, the more shunned upon she is.
When I was younger, I always knew that I wanted children, regardless of if a man thought that I was fit to be his wife or partner. I knew that I didn’t want to leave this world without reproducing. As a little girl, yes, I wanted to get married and have the fairytale wedding that society sells us from the moment that we know how to play with barbies. But I also knew that having children was very important to me. I didn’t need the media to tell that to me. Whether you’re single or not, bringing life into this world and/or shaping and molding a life from childhood into adulthood is nothing short of miraculous. I want to be a part of that in more ways than we all already are.
For so many people, a dull and boring, tedious family home life is better than a lively and unpredictable and adventurous single family home. For many, a team is better than a party of one. That’s okay. But we must acknowledge that the party of one that becomes a party of two, one of which is a child, is okay, too. In our efforts to always be surrounded, we forget that what is always most important no matter what the family looks like in numbers is a healthy family dynamic.
Let’s look at Hollywood actress and philanthropist, Angelina Jolie. Angelina adopted three children before she even thought about marrying Brad Pitt and having children with him by birth. She was not shunned upon. Yes, she was capable of making this decision for various reasons but so are so many other single women who aren’t in the spotlight.
This made me wonder, is it women who are not in a strong financial situation who are looked down upon in this discussion? Not really. It looked to me an awful lot like society not even giving the benefit of the doubt and everyone else simply wondering why anyone in their right mind would want to raise a child alone. Even though single or not, it takes a village to raise a child.
I don’t agree that we should be procreating and taking the responsibility of raising another human being if we cannot financially support and fully take care of a child. I do however encourage women who want to be mothers and are not in a relationship or have a strong desire to be in a relationship but have good family support to walk down the path they believe is for them. Do not let sexism get in the way of your destiny if there is a child out there waiting for you to change their lives for the better.
If this is something that you have thought about, start asking yourself some hard questions to determine if this is the route that you want to go. Do I want to adopt or have biological children, possibly through a sperm bank? Do I want to ask a friend to help procreate and/or raise the child with me? How many children do I want? What is my living situation? Is my living situation suitable for raising a child or children? What do I need to change and am I willing to make those changes long term?
What does my support system look like?
This includes family and close friends. Families come in all shapes and sizes and you want to make sure that you have people you trust to surround, protect, and love your child. Is my career steady enough? Bringing a child into this world will shift your financial responsibilities tremendously. If you are going the adoption route or must endure IVF, there are also a host of fees, ranging in the thousands of dollars that you must account for. In addition to finances, look into your work’s maternity leave and other benefits allotted for parents. How will child care be handled while you are at work? Would it make more sense to move closer to family for that support system? Are you able to move closer to your family given your position at your job? Are you ready to move? Are you ready to make all of the decisions above?
If you will be adopting a child who does not share your ethnicity, what will you do throughout their entire life to make sure that they remain in touch with their culture? If you are not willing to incorporate their identity into their live, reconsider adopting altogether. Because that’s someone’s identity you would be stripping away in an effort to force them to conform to your dream of the way that you want to raise a child in this world and that is cruel. So be sure that you are adopting for the right reasons and accept your responsibility as a parent adopting someone from a different ethnicity than you if that is where your journey takes you.
Also read articles on being a stay at home mom: Why Should You Be A Stay At Home Mom
The key here is to plan ahead and smart. This is just the tip of the iceberg of questions that you must ask yourself but is a step in the right direction in taking further steps to parenthood. Consult with single women who have gone through this process. Find Mommy groups in your area or on social media that you find to be safe spaces to ask questions and learn. Read the blogs or find Daily Vloggers of single parents to see what daily life is like, the ups and downs, the surprises, good and bad. Get your feet wet with what you’ll soon enough be completely surrounded in.
Yes, it’s okay to reach out to mothers who may not necessarily be single for parenting advice in general, but be aware that their experience is going to be significantly different than yours. You have to be wise about the advice that you’re given from people who are not single parents and use discernment to carry through your own experience. The information that you receive from single parents is obviously going to be more valuable to you as a single parent but if you are open to all advice, definitely reach out to hear what everyone you know who is a parent that you feel comfortable approaching has to say about their own parenting journey. When you ask questions to parents who are not single, I would suggest framing the questions so that it is about their experiences and not them guessing and trying to create an answer for you as a single parent. This helps no one. So make sure that when you do reach out to parents who are not single, you clarify the intention behind the questions as well.
Ask as many questions as you can about what’s ahead of you and do as much research (which goes far beyond reading books) as possible to determine if and when becoming a single parent is right for you.
Single women who became parents on their own, what advice do you have for those looking to make the same life change?
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