Prior post: Starting a Family As a Single Woman
I spent six months or so talking to friends and family. I was comfortable with the idea of being a single mom, but I knew it was a big decision, a life-changing decision that would affect both me and a child for the rest of our lives. So I wanted to learn about being a single mother as much as I could before it happened. I had many conversations. I talked to married men and women, parents and non-parents, single mothers, single friends, and my family. Most people were supportive and optimistic, but everyone told me that life as I knew it would change forever, and I should go ahead with my plan cautiously.
One father told me to think twice. To double-make sure this was really what I wanted to do. To leave the idea behind for a few weeks and months. Then to see if it was still important to me.
A married woman older than me had been trying to get pregnant for a year now. But it had been difficult. The process she and her husband were going through sounded very demanding. Many doctor’s appointments. Many failed attempts. She prepared me for the worst case scenario. I was already considered old! There is a possibility my body won’t easily get pregnant even though I’m healthy and still young at heart.
A mother thought single motherhood was a good option for me since I hadn’t found the right person to have children with. There were so many different kinds of families now, and in an area like Boston being a single mother would not be out of the ordinary. Since I was choosing to be a single mother from the start, I wouldn’t struggle in the same way other women might when their marriage didn’t work out, or suddenly they’d to become single mothers not by choice.
A few married mothers also laughed and said, “You won’t need to negotiate with anyone about how to parent your kid!”
A few friends introduced me to their single-mother friends. These women were all creative and driven. One SMBC woman got pregnant through a donor. She also mentioned the SMBC organization to me and said people she met online were helpful throughout her journey. She was successful and now had a baby daughter. She said giving birth to her baby was the best thing she’d done in life. When she went to parties now, she would bring the baby along. None of her friends minded. The baby was also very cooperative; she never made too much fuss at the adult get-togethers. A divorced mother I met hadn’t planned to raise a baby on her own, but after a year her marriage didn’t work out, and she ended up taking care of her baby girl on her own. She rented a small place and joined a single-mother community. She exchanged outgrown baby clothes with other moms. She traded babysitting with them. These mothers figured out how to balance their work and social lives with their babies’ needs. They all had this can-do attitude. No one complained to me. Single mothers were resourceful!
Another father told me everything I knew about life would no longer apply once a kid arrived. Still another dad friend explained how his mindset changed after his baby was born. He said my life would no longer be centered around my own plans and schedule. It would be around the baby’s. I would have to fit my needs somehow into the baby’s schedule. Living life as a single person and as a single mother represent two opposite ends of living life.