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Has anyone here voluntarily had a baby when they were single?

(24 Posts)
CapricaSix Thu 13-Aug-09 21:35:09

My friend has premature menopause, and has just been told that she is probably down to her last eggs. She is not in a relationship. Her ideal vision of course would be to meet someone, settle down and have a family, but she has run out of time for that to happen, and is now wondering about having a baby in the near future. Logically, she is thinking it is her last chance to have her own baby, but she can have a relationship any time (in theory).

Has anyone done this themselves? And if not, what do you think about it?

Ewe Thu 13-Aug-09 21:52:39

My SIL has recently undergone a cycle of IVF on her own - unfortunately it was unsuccessful but she is going to try again. She is in her late 30s, no man, successful career and declining fertility. I think I would probably be the same in her shoes to be honest!

I think it would be a terrible shame for anyone who wants to have children to miss out just because they haven't met the right man at the right time. I do think it is best to have support around, good friends, close family, doing it in complete isolation would be a bad idea I think.

CapricaSix Thu 13-Aug-09 22:13:36

Thanks Ewe. I was a lone parent myself from the beginning (tho have had a boyfriend since pg), so I know how hard it can be - and I have lots of family support! But I can't imagine regretting having a baby, iykwim. If she didn't have one, that could be a life long regret...

LittleRedBook Thu 13-Aug-09 22:42:56

sadly my dh died whilst I was pg with our first child. So I do know what it's like to have a child completely solo, as in there is no partner, even if a slightly useless ex-partner, who can help out for an evening here or a weekend there at the very least.

Here are my thoughts on the negative side (because the positive side of having children I think you could express to her perfectly well!)

- it is relentless and then some. you do not have someone there for the mornings and evenings, so when you need to get ready, do a quick bit of admin or chores, make a phone call, make yourself a meal, whatever. There is no other person there to just help out. If I had the room I would look into having an au pair, because the times I really really need help are literally 30-60 mins in the morning and the same in the evening. Oh and I would love a weekend lie-in every now and again - fortunately the gps are pretty good at pitching in (but they don't live close so I get lots of help for a few days and then nothing for weeks!)

- big factor in a decision I reckon is how close your friend's parents live and how willing they would be to help out properly. The thing is that you can't just have the 5 mins or the lie-in when you need it, you have to plan and you have to ask for help in advance.

- you do everything consecutively. Here is a good example - when we (ds and I) visit friends overnight, I have to factor in all the time that it takes to pack whilst having a small child "helping" and there's no-one to just take over on either packing or entertaining said child. I do all the planning and all the driving. If I drink and stay up late it's always me getting up early, it's always me driving back. We get home and I have to get ds out, sorted, fed, bathed and into bed. Then I unpack the car, put everything away or in the wash, sort myself out. If there were 2 of us the two lots of things would (I hope) be done at the same time so one would sort the dc and one the household.

- Just having little bits of time off - impossible or expensive. Depends on how many family, friends, good neighbours your friend has and how easy she finds it asking for help. But if I want to do anything in the evening I either find and pay for a babysitter, or I don't do it. Fine if you want to go out for an evening, but if it's just an hour or two - eg a walk or bike ride, an evening class, seeing a film or a friend for a quick drink ... much harder to get a babysitter who's willing to come for just an hour or two - so you end up paying for 4 hours or not doing it. Also now ds is getting older, he goes to bed a bit later but isn't keen on having a babysitter do that part of the routine, so I can't get out until later ... that bit was easier when he was a baby. I have a couple of friends who are separated and at least their xPs have set nights when they have the dcs, so the friends have a definite night off and also no added cost of babysitting.

- costs in general. if your friend isn't particularly well paid and doesn't have family nearby willing to help, then how will she manage with childcare / work issues? It is very hard being the person who has to leg it out of hte office on time every day, as well as get offspring to their nursery or wherever on time. You can run yourself ragged doing it. And if you don't have local back up it's a nightmare - I got stuck on a train coming back from a work meeting - fortunately ds was at a childminders then so she was ok, but being more than an hour late to pick up from a nursery is a big problem. Not to mention paying for it on a single salary.

- Explaining to the dc. Not an obstacle per se but it is very tough for a child to grow up without having one out of two parents. Obviously that applies to lots of children in families where the dad is pretty much non-existent. But I find it very hard on ds' behalf when we visit friends and their kids are all running around shouting "daddy daddy" and the dads are doing rough and tumble and games etc. I do my best to participate but I spread myself thinly. My poor ds doesn't have so much as a photo of himself with his dad. Your friend's ds won't even have a photo.

My take is that the first 3 years are going to be the worst, the first 5 fairly tough, and once school starts and ds is a bit more grown up, the totally lone parent bit will start to get easier and better. The problems then I think will come with ds's full realisation of his loss - or for your friend's hypothetical child's realisation of the space in his or her life where, for others, a parent usually is.

I know this is all very negative, but it's important that someone who wants to do this knows realistically what they're getting into. Let's face it, no-one really has a clue what being a parent will be like before they have dcs, and I definitely didn't realise just how hard the practicalities of doing it alone were goin to be. None of what I've put above means that I'd advise her not to have a child, for a start your friend would be making her own decision and not going through all the grief of bereavement as well.

My ds is fabulous and I love him with all my heart - but I would love to have some help that I magic up out of nowhere whenever I need it.

LittleRedBook Thu 13-Aug-09 22:46:56

<<Your friend's ds won't even have a photo. >>

That was supposed to say "dc won't even have a photo of his or her dad."

CapricaSix Thu 13-Aug-09 23:37:48

LittleRedBook, sorry for your loss. It must have been so tough.

Actually i've always been much better at explaining the negative than the positive! grin. You put it all very well, and I have explained that side of things briefly to her myself too. I have more support than you do (family nearby and a wonderful circle of friends) but even so the first few years were very, very hard. dd is 6 next week and it feels much different, I've settled into my life now, and me & my boyfriend are on the verge of settling together properly, and i'm happy.

LittleRedBook Fri 14-Aug-09 07:31:58

CapricaSix - really great to hear how things do get easier as dcs get older. So pleased you are happy with your boyfriend too, that's lovely. smile
(Off topic - how did you meet him? need clues on this one!)

On that topic - perhaps also talk to your friend about how meeting someone for a relationship is likely to be quite a bit harder if she has a child! Perhaps you didn't find this but I find it hard to imagine how to really set about finding a serious relationship with all of the babysitting etc issues - and, for some men the "problem" of you coming with a child - though that's a good filter for the blokes you wouldn't be bothered about anyway I guess! So if she goes for the child option then she may be writing off the relationship option for quite some time.

Finally, has she thought about having some eggs frozen? Depends how old she is now so how keen she is to actually get on and have children, but that may be one way forward in the future for having her own biological child

CapricaSix Fri 14-Aug-09 08:45:49

Thanks. Yes I have mentioned how hard it would be to find another relationship. We have also talked briefly about freezing eggs so I think that is an option she is considering too. I think she basically needs to do a whole load of research!

I was friends with my boyfriend when I was doing A Levels, we lost touch for 8 years and then bumped back into each other. We got together just after I got pg but before i found out (one night stand with someone else blush). Was a bit of a roller coaster ride!! So I never had the problem of being single in terms of not having a boyfriend, but i was very much a single parent as me & my boyfriend took things slowly, neither of us wanted to launch into doing the full family thing! It worked out very well, we are very strong now.

I often wonder how single parents manage to meet new people to be honest - but then neither you nor me have a father in the picture who has the child regularly. (dd's dad lives abroad) I guess that's how people do it. I suppose people often meet partners at work too, but as you say it would probably have to be a very special partner who would slot into the family thing easily, not mind coming to you all the time etc.

poshsinglemum Mon 17-Aug-09 10:46:45

I think that a lot of women will be doing this and I think that it is entirely reasonable. It is so difficult to find Mr Right nowadays.
If she has a succesful career then she will be able to provide for her children.
If she didn't have a baby she would regret it.
I didn't voluntarily become a single mum as I always hope that my boyfriend would come round but I did refused to abort even though I knew that I would be alone when he didn't come round.

Solo2 Mon 17-Aug-09 11:44:02

Well, I'm a Single Mother By Choice, myself. You could get her to read my recent post abvout some of the struggles I've had raising twins entirely alone. However, I have absolutely NO regrets making this life decision and had I NOT become a mum, I'd most likely now be accepting childlessness forever.

There are some great resources she could look at on the web, plus books: Single Mothers By Choice - which was my main support in the trying to conceive and then mothering alone process - and Choice Mums also. They're both based in the USA but there are many, many of us in the UK (just none I can find living near to me).

She needs to look at the pluses and minuses for her child and herself in choosing to become a single mum. All the recent research shows that children of SMCs do extremely well however. Two main factors are a) we made a v conscious decision to parent and have no ex in the background to resent and 'colour', psychologically, the starting point of mothering alone. All our children know we wanted them SO much that we made huge sacrifices to have them. b) we've established that we can manage financially and that's a good indicator of children's future outcome, if finances are stable and manageable. I'm v lucky as I'm fully self-employed since having the twins and have lots of freedom about taking time out to pick up children/ attend school shows etc.

The down sides are obvious - some listed in a previous post and some by me recently, here! No time for me, for 8 yrs! In my case, no local support. I've got no family. From what I know, building a support system, PRIOR to conceiving, is crucial and when that fails, it's very hard....but not impossible grin

I considered all my options for 6 yrs prior to deciding to go it alone (looked at the research on outcomes for the child etc and built up some savings). I was 38 when I finally had the twins, after 10 'tries' and it was IVF #2. VERY expensive - but infinitely worth it.

She needs to ask herself,"If I were now in my 60's, would I regret never having at least tried to be a mum?" That kind of imagining helps. She needs also to consider that she might try for even years and spend lots of money in the process and never conceive, as after 35, fertility really does crash downhill. She needs to know she's not alone and that there are many of us out here, perhaps mostly professional women, who have focused on career, who have never found a partner of the right kind for 'Daddy' material, as opposed to 'Lover' material and who are not willing to compromise and thus raise children in a home of conflict.

Better to be raised in the stability of a single parent home, knowing you are really wanted and loved, than pulled apart by the conflict of parents all your life.

Finally, what kind of donor method could she use? I chose an Identity release donor, from the USA - which means he's willign to have his name and identifying details revealed when the children are aged 18, so he's not just a 'mythical figure' forever. I have LOADS of info. about him - probably more than about former boyfriends - plus photos of him as a child. I chose this route because I felt that my potential children would want to seek out their genetic origins at some point (though so far, they're not at all interested. A golden rule is NEVER keep it a secret from the children. I started to tell my twins their conception story the moment they were born and it's never been a secret or a 'big deal', therefore. It'd just part of who they are and how our family is. Reserach indicates that problems arise when parents tell later in life or not at all.

Hope all this helps.

CapricaSix Mon 17-Aug-09 13:13:41

Thank you ! You have a very encouraging story Solo2 My friend has started to look into her options and is hoping this will help her to assess how she feels about the whole thing. Her main desire for a few years now is to find a partner, so to place having a child over that would be a big change for her I think.

Solo2 Mon 17-Aug-09 13:57:50

Yes. It was a huge change for me too - but SO empowering! I'd spent most of my adult life, trying to find Mr Right and wondering if he would be into me and doing all that palaver you have to do to get a man interested....thinking about weight/ shape/ personality etc etc. It was so freeing when I realised that I could separate out becoming a mother from having a partner. It made me look at men differently, with less desperation and hope that he'd be The One. Now, I'd be looking much more for someone who could be a friend, who could take me as I am, who could accept I'm an independent woman and don't 'need' him but still might 'want' him. It took the pressure off me finding Mr Right within that small biological window of time. Now I'm too busy to date but it's never too late, once you get the child thing done. I may not have time or inclination till my fifties and beyond, at this rate! On a good day, i LOVE the fact that there's no one there to argue with me about how I do things, how I raise my sons. I don't have to cook for a partner - just for myself and children. I don't have to ensure I still 'look good', shave my legs, in case he casts his eye elsewhere. I don't feel as if I'm 'left on the shelf', like I once did, pre-children. Now I'm happily putting up those shelves myself, with my power drill and don't it feel good!!!

CapricaSix Tue 18-Aug-09 18:12:54

Good post Solo2!!! Couldn't put it better myself!

MrsH2B Tue 18-Aug-09 23:16:52

Hi ladies, I suppose I was single mum by choice in that I wasn't using contraception and my Ex was a total @&*^%$£! I knew i wouldn't be with him forever- He left when I was 10wks Pg!

However, despite all the tough bits of being a sp I wouldn't change my dd for the world! I've raised this amazing beautiful funny little girl (nearly 5) all by myself and even if it sounds big headed - I'm damn proud of myself! I've got family nearby but there's no-one here but me to deal with the difficult times.

As for finding future relationships, I'm very pleased to annouce I met the most wonderful man on a single parents dating site (Parents Already.com) and I'm getting married 9 weeks on saturday!!!

He has 2 boys that live with him and understands everything about being an sp without needing to explain it.

When the time's right, give it a go! I never thought I'd do online dating, but I'm now planning my wedding and have found my one true love.

Good luck to your friend- if she decides to go ahead she won't regret it. Sometimes people get preg without any planning but they cope, single or not. I'm sure she would do fine. xx

hatesponge Tue 18-Aug-09 23:38:22

I always knew I wanted children, but I never felt I could afford to wait for the perfect relationship. I got pregnant with DC1 after a (somewhat drunken) one night stand. I have no idea where his dad is. I was entirely on my own throughout the pregnancy - I have lots of friends (none of whom have children)but no family - my parents died before DC1was born and I am an only child.

Notwithstanding, I found it hard at times but never overwhelming; there was and never has been a time when I have regretted my decision.

With hindsight, I can see that I did get very lonely when DC1 was small, and thus threw myself into a serious relationship with my now Ex, who I met when DC1 was 20 months old. He was completely wrong for me, but of course it took me years to work that out.........

So from my experience, provided once she has the baby, she avoids the wrong me, your friend will be fine

hatesponge Tue 18-Aug-09 23:39:03

sigh

men not me

lilacclaire Wed 19-Aug-09 10:57:01

I think your friend should go for it.
I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks after I split from ex, I then had my ds.

TBH, it is was so tough that I couldn't imagine the complication of a relationship in the first year, I was so focussed on me and the baby that I don't think any relationship I would have had would have survived that period.

Downsides for me were feeling the obvious tierdness, but I just slept when baby slept. Teething sucks, and if your not sure about something there's no-one right there to ask.

Im glad I went ahead, the only regret I would have had is not having ds.

MaggieBeauLeo Wed 19-Aug-09 10:59:15

LittleRedBook, that was your experience because there was a "good man"-shaped hole in your life.

Personally I found it MUCH easier as a single mother because I wasn't choking on resentment and anger all the time.

Tell your friend to go for it. Being a single mother isn't the hardest thing. Dealing with a useless partner is much harder.

CapricaSix Wed 19-Aug-09 23:48:25

Thanks for the further experiences. All sounds very positive .

swallowedAfly Thu 20-Aug-09 09:51:26

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MollieO Thu 20-Aug-09 10:13:27

Negatives - utterly relentless and you can do nothing without making arrangements first - no nights out without organising a babysitter, no quick pop to the shops late at night if you've forgotten something, decisions re healthcare and education completely down to you, stigma of being a single parent (no matter what your level of income or professional status).

Positives - everything that your dc is and becomes is down to you. In ds's case this makes me very proud.

swallowedAfly Thu 20-Aug-09 10:57:26

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Solo2 Fri 21-Aug-09 07:45:19

Hi! SwallowedaFly - You wrote about worries concerning what your son might think about having a dad who didn't want him. Although my situation is different, as I used a USA donor (Identity Release - so in principles willing to meet offspring when they're 18), the general feeling amongst Choice Mums is to constantly focus on the positive, whilst acknowledging any sad/ angry feelings from our children, ie:"I'll always feel really grateful to your (donor) father for helping me give you the gift of life. I wanted you SO much...." - that kind of thing I say a lot to my twins. In your case, you clearly also wanted your child SO much and this is what he'll feel and know throughout his growing years. If later on there are any negative feelings - and what teenager doesn't have major gripes and resentments about their parents/ home situation/ family?! - the positive messages he's imbibed lifelong, will likely outweigh the passing phase of resentment. In a way, it's not that dissimilar to choosing a donor. You, like me (from what I can tell from your message), got exactly what you wanted from the man. With our donor - no matter what he's like asa person, even if we find he's in jail or whatever, I'll never stop feeling grateful because the original 'deal' (although we've of course never met) is that he donated his sperm. Unlike a broken relationship, with all its expectations and regrets and resentments - there was never anyyhting else I wanted or needed from him. So it feels lot less emotionally loaded and 'messy' than a split up and I think my children will always 'feel' this in the family atmosphere. Good luck to you and your child smile

swallowedAfly Fri 21-Aug-09 14:20:23

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