What to consider before deciding on single motherhood
Thinking about becoming a single mother by choice? There is much to keep in mind before taking the plunge towards motherhood. From emotional, physical and support considerations, to financial issues and the little worries, analyzing all factors before reaching a decision sets you out for as smooth a journey as possible.
Conception or adoption? Both routes to parenthood have their own challenges. Conception the traditional way will require issues to be sorted out with the biological father; insemination by a known or unknown donor is also an option. When insemination does not work out, in vitro fertilization might be needed. The first step in terms of assisted reproduction would be to schedule a consultation with a physician where your medical history will be reviewed and a basic infertility work up undertaken so as to determine the best way forward. Once you choose a sperm donor, and if no infertility issues are detected, an intrauterine insemination (IUI) is usually the first step.
Adoption is also an option but one which can also be quite costly. Open adoption is where you and your child can remain in contact with the biological parents; in a closed adoption, information relating to the biological parents is kept secret.
Sharing the news
Whilst strides have been made, public conceptions on single motherhood are still not entirely positive. Choosing who to tell and when is entirely up to you. Reactions can vary but ultimately, it is you who has to analyze what is best. If you think that negative perceptions may sway you from taking the decision you really want, it might be best to share the news only when you are already pregnant. Do keep in mind that everyone will have their own opinion; if you’ve analyzed all your options, done your research and are sure that solo motherhood is what you want, then do not let others keep you away from your dreams.
Choosing your support team
From the people you can count on during your pregnancy and the birth, to the ones to keep close in the first days with baby, determining your support team early on helps you in the transition to parenthood. As labor doula Liza Maltz notes in this Dreaming of Baby article, having a support team during labor also helps with your overall birth experience. An active support team can also assist you with childcare or when you’re not feeling well. Support groups catering for the needs of single mothers can also prove helpful, especially at times when the going gets tough.
Financial considerations may be one aspect that is preventing many women from taking this route towards parenthood. Meeting the finances required to care for children can already be a challenge as a couple, let alone when you’re on this journey solo. Whilst achieving parenthood as a single mother can take various routes, meeting the costs involved – either in terms of conception, or adoption – means that you have to be appropriately prepared. Once baby is born, there are nursery, diapers and formula, clothes, daycare, insurance, and eventually ballet lessons, art classes, presents, gadgets, school and college: the list of costs involved can be quite endless. Regardless, many moms note that the little daily financial sacrifices are easily made up for with the satisfaction and pride that motherhood brings.
Regardless of your status, embarking on the parenthood journey is never an easy decision to make. Having a support system in place, as well as being financially self-sufficient will make motherhood easier. Weigh the pros and cons of this life-changing decision; if the pros outweigh the cons, then single motherhood might be the best choice for you! Good luck; motherhood can be quite the ride!