Well Being

thinking about single mothers by choice

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I wonder what life would have been like if I'd made the decision to have a child without the active involvement of a father. Would this be easier or harder or just different? I don't know. Whether a woman finds herself with an unplanned pregnancy and decides to forge ahead, father or no… or if she's a woman who wants a child but doesn't feel like waiting for Mr. Almost Right to come along, and either has a planned pregnancy or adopts… I admire these strong, creative, confident women who are single by choice.

Poking around on the Web brought me to Single Mothers by Choice: “Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) was founded in 1981 by Jane Mattes, C.S.W., a psychotherapist and single mother by choice”. Their philosophy is empowering, and I quote it here in full:

1. A single mother by choice is a woman willing to take the initiative. Her child might have been conceived or adopted. What we all share is the decision to take on the responsibility of raising our children knowing that, at least at the outset, we will be parenting alone.

2. Our goals are to offer support and information to single mothers by choice and to single women considering motherhood, to provide a peer group for our children, and to clarify the public's understanding of single mothers by choice.

3. SMC is not an advocacy group. It is not fair to a child or woman to urge her to get into an impractical or overextended situation, or one where there are a great many unresolved issues or deep concerns. Single parenting is difficult enough for the woman who is sure and prepared.

4. In general, our members feel that it is preferable to raise a child with two loving parents. However, in the absence of a good partnership, and with the rate of divorce as high as it is, we feel that being raised by a caring and competent single parent is definitely a viable option.

5. The majority of us have completed college, are well-established in our careers, and are able to support a child without recourse to public funds.

6. The word “choice” in our title has two implications: we have made a serious and thoughtful decision to take on the responsibility of raising a child by ourselves, and we have chosen not to be in a relationship rather than be in one that does not seem satisfactory.

There's a great thread on single by choice over on BusinessWeek, by Cathy Ardst. Hop into the conversation, and come tell me what you think. I think we've all got a little single mother by choice in us, even if we come to it by way of divorce. Didn't we choose a better life for ourselves and our children?