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single parent by choice?

(71 Posts)
walkingonthebeach Wed 10-Aug-11 14:07:59

Hello, I am in my 30s and single.

I do have a very secure and well paid job, my own lovely home, car and so on. I've tried to find a partner but it gets harder as I get older and I am considering getting pregnant through sperm donation. I feel I would regret it immensely if I never had children.

Does anybody have any thoughts on this or experience?

Thank you x

ladydeedy Wed 10-Aug-11 14:20:57

I dont have personal experience but know two people who have done this. One got pregnant and very soon afterwards met a partner - obviously this led to a couple of tricky explanatory discussions! Yes I'd love to go on a date with you but there's something you should know.. kind of thing.. As it happens he did not run for the hillls, they are still together and now live as a family, all 3 of them (guess he had some explaining to do, to friends and family too.....).

The other person I know had complications during the pregnancy and she found it extremely stressful dealing with it by herself with no partner or support to help her through. The pregnancy was aborted and she was understandably devastated but struggled to find people (friends and family rather than professionals) who could understand and give her the support she needed. She later went on to go through it again and had a child. I cant say this has turned out particularly easily (so far).
In your case I think if you have a big support network around you of friends and family it could work out really well but without it I think it would be challenging. Just from what I know from these experiences. As with all things, we have no idea what the future holds - that means for our own health, job security, etc as well as whether or not you might find a partner tomorrow!

littlemisssarcastic Wed 10-Aug-11 14:21:09

I personally wouldn't choose to become a single parent without an extremely strong and supportive network of friends and family.

Sorry to be so negative about it, this is just my opinion.

walkingonthebeach Wed 10-Aug-11 15:01:51

not at all littlemisssarcastic, it's helpful to know these things.

Thank you ladyleedy. I'm not sure. I think if I'm honest that perhaps the only person who would ultimately know the 'truth' (if I was to go ahead) would be my child; I would probably give the vague impression that my pregnancy was the result of a short lived and failed relationship!

It's very difficult as I don't honestly believe I will find a partner and yet I do desperately want to have children. x

Earlybird Wed 10-Aug-11 15:09:58

Think hard about the practicalities and impact on your daily life to make sure you don't have a romantic idea of what it would be like.

Could you manage financially?
Would your work support the demands of being a single parent, and if not, could adjustments be made?
Could you afford childcare?
Would you have the support of your family and friends?
How is your health and stamina?
Do you think you could 'do it all', or do you have the resources to hire in help if friends and family can't help?

Obviously there are many parents who 'make it work' when they find themselves single, but given the fact you are considering choosing parenthood, it is good to think about all aspects.

When you say you're in your 30's - early? Mid? Late?
Would you be thinking of a known donor, or anonymous?

Mavend Wed 10-Aug-11 15:11:15

Hi there.I kind of echo what others have said.I am a LP of 2 children (widowed last year).I would not be without my children for anything in the world.I love them unconditionally and immeasureably.One of my children is disabled.I have found the lone parenting issue a whole steep learning curve.I am lucky enough to have supportive in laws who have my son 2 nights a week thus enabling me to work,and a good childminder for my daughter.My biggest fear is what would happen to the kids if I got ill.(have made a will and they have guardians but still).I don't want to be negative but this is just a few of the things taht occurred to me when reading your post.The urge to be a mother is a very strong one and i am sure you would make a wonderful one bu the last year has shown me just how much juggling and support is needed if you are a LP smile

ladydeedy Wed 10-Aug-11 15:26:31

I think the other thing to bear in mind that your feelings now about desperately wishing to have a child are of course natural, and our hormones control this. This does change over time so you may feel it incredibly strongly now but in a couple of years that may change. It's nature's way of ensuring that children are born. I think just be clear on that. And consider alternatives, e.g. volunteering with young people, funding a child's education overseas, fostering or offering respite care, so that you have a more complete view and you may find that these experiences are enough to satisfy the need you currently feel to have your own child. I dont mean in any way to dismiss your feelings, which are genuine, but just to encourage you to think broadly.

walkingonthebeach Wed 10-Aug-11 15:27:48

I'm so sorry to hear you were widowed, Mavend, and it sounds as if you're in a very difficult situation. Thank you for your valuable input smile

Earlybird, thank you as well. I most probably do have a romantic ideal, to be honest! smile I work in a school (I am a teacher, a head of department) and am well paid. I live close to the school I work at and so i tend to get out at a reasonable time every day.

I can cover childcare, I would probably consider help from a nanny/au pair but these are things I'd think about nearer the time but that would be my preference. I am in very good health for now at any rate. One thing I don't have is a lot of support. I only have my dad and I have a disabled sibling so his time and attention is caught up with him. So that is a worry. However, it also means I'm quite lonely a lot of the time. I realise that no one should have a child because they are lonely but I don't want to go into my dotage without any family around me. sad

walkingonthebeach Wed 10-Aug-11 15:29:33

Not at all lady thank you. You are possibly right. I have looked into adoption but the process seems quite intense (I appreciate it has to be of course) and I'm not sure I could get through it without feeling quite stressed!

Kewcumber Wed 10-Aug-11 15:34:46

I am a single parent by choice.

It iis hard work and involves tricky conversations with your child about why they don;t have a father. But I have never regretted it, it has been the greatest joy of my life and if circumstanaces had been different I would have had two rather than the one I have.

However having a child does not make you less lonely - if only because they spend a lot of your spare time asleep in bed for a number of years! Also nothing lonlier than being out with your child and every other self contained two parent family keeping to themselves and friends not contacting you at weekends because they want to spend "family time" together when you are trying to work out how to entertain your child all weekend alone. But there are plenty of single parent groups around to help with that. I ould adivse you to try and address your feelings of loneliness first and feel comfortable in your skin as a single person before you become a single paretn becuase you will need every ounce of confidence to operate and support your child in a world set up for two parent families.

Every decision to become a parent is selfish - you don't do it for the benefit of your imaginary child but becasue its what you want

Kewcumber Wed 10-Aug-11 15:36:04

"I'm not sure I could get through it without feeling quite stressed!"

You're not going to get through anything as a single parent by choice without getting stressed! Its not necessarily a picnic going to fertility clinics and having IUI with no support and having the damn two week wait alone.

Kewcumber Wed 10-Aug-11 15:40:00

I have to be honest - if volunteering with children or sponsoring a child in Africa provides you with the emotional need you have to have a family then I suspect you're not quite ready for a family either alone with even with someone else!

I doubt its a suggestion that anyone with make to a woman in her 30's with a partner and women without a partner don;t feel any differently about it! We're not actually a differnt species!

walkingonthebeach Wed 10-Aug-11 15:40:33

Yes, I appreciate that but I think the difference is that adoption is very public, I suppose: lots of rooting into your personal business which I would find hard.

I think for the most part I am comfortable as a single person. The only part of it I really dislike is that it means I have been unable to try for a baby. If i was in a relationship I would most definitely be trying now smile

Kewcumber Wed 10-Aug-11 15:41:33

earlybird - there is no ananoymous donation in teh UK anymore (at least not to a child) donors must agree to be identified to the child at or after 18yrs

RockinSockBunnies Wed 10-Aug-11 15:42:00

I was a lone parent to DD for eight years until I met DP. It was lonely - I second Kew's comments about weekends especially. I used to dread the weekends, being home alone when DD was tiny and all the 'mum' friends I knew from playgroups etc were busy doing 'family' things.

At the same time, having DD was the best thing I ever did. I didn't choose to get pregnant (I was eighteen) and her father left as soon as I told him I was pregnant, so essentially I was on my own from 7 weeks pregnant onwards.

I also know, that if I hadn't met DP, I'd have no qualms about going down the lone parent route again, using donor sperm. I do have a good support network though, which is worth thinking about. But ultimately, if you are sure you want children, then I'd certainly consider going it alone.

At the same time, what are you doing to try to meet the 'ideal' man? Are you on dating websites? Actively looking?

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 10-Aug-11 15:43:31

I'm kind of between 'by choice' and 'just because'...

It's shockingly hard work sometimes. It's wrecked my career although I'm now starting to get it back on track (have a very different job from you though) as DD is nearly 4. I would think very, very carefully before doing this alone. If you have a strong support network of people with children you'll probably cope. If not, it can be very isolating and you could become quite lonely.

Kewcumber Wed 10-Aug-11 15:44:18

yes it is hard and invasive and I certainly don;t recommend it as a first priority for women who want a family. But in my (extensive) experience, it isn't any more stressful as the outcome is much more certain than IUI or IVF. So you trade off stress about likely success against stress of being quizzed about your sex life by a total stranger.

walkingonthebeach Wed 10-Aug-11 15:45:04

I think the problem is that while I accept weekends are lonely for single parent families, they can also be lonely for single people. It was a bit different in my 20s when a lot of friends were in the same boat but most married boyfriends they'd met at university and spend Saturdays in soft play heaven! smile

It's hard to know how to meet men - most are already taken! smile

Kewcumber Wed 10-Aug-11 15:45:44

Ah yes it wrecked my career too but I could probably have been tougher and made different decisions that I wasn;t sure were right for DS

Kewcumber Wed 10-Aug-11 15:48:34

I took the decision at 36 that I only had so much energy to spare and it was either actively "hunt" for a partner or pursue a family alone. And one had an expiry date so I went for the latter!

MrsMilton Wed 10-Aug-11 15:49:07

I can only say that being a parent is hard enough when you have the full support of a hands on partner... I cannot imagine how tough it must be when you're on your own.

Please don't have a child to curb loneliness - I have felt incredibly lonely at times since becoming a mother... and, as I say, I am not actually alone.

BooyHoo Wed 10-Aug-11 15:49:10

so so lonely.

walkingonthebeach Wed 10-Aug-11 15:54:14

I wish I hadn't said that in a way as I think it's been misunderstood a bit - I would be having a child because I want one, that would be the only reason. I do think I have a lot to offer a child but my main concern would be just finding it all too much. Everything but the man is in place! smile

ladydeedy Wed 10-Aug-11 15:57:32

I think you may be wise to probe the loneliness question more. You say you wouldnt feel comfortable someone probing into your personal business and would find the adoption process too stressful.
I echo another poster's comment about not having a child because you are lonely. Seriously, get a dog, go online dating, join a tennis club or do something else - as a means to combat loneliness now and in your old age is reckless and foolhardy imho - and what guarantee do you have that your child will be around/want to be with you when you are older? I know that's a bit controversial, but there's no guaranteed payback.

Kewcumber Wed 10-Aug-11 15:59:42

"my main concern would be just finding it all too much" - no-one can alnswer that for you. My drive to have a family was so strong that I never allowed myself to worry about that! Planned everything else to the nth degree though.

When I wanted to give up (it all took a very long time) I would ask myself "what do I want my life to be like in 10 years?" And here I am 10 years later and my life though hard has a meaning that it didn;t have 10 years ago (and I was happily single and not lonely)

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