Karen Roberts always wanted children, so when “the one” hadn’t come along by the time she was in her late-30s, she decided to have a child on her own. She discusses that decision and offers support for other women considering it.
I am a single mom who started out single. I had a child on my own at 38 and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
If you’re a single woman in your 30s and haven’t had a kid yet, the words “biological clock” can trigger a whole host of emotions, especially if you would like to start a family one day. The mid- to upper-30s biological clock zone can make conversations with your OB/GYN a little more emotional, it seems to make guys think you’re after them to impregnate you, and you have a constant reminder that there is something major on your “to-do” list that won’t go away until you meet the one.
I always wanted to have kids and was heartbroken when my engagement broke off when I was 35. I took the healing time I needed and started dating again, all the while trying to make peace with my age and the nagging BC (biological clock). What followed was three years of dating men with Peter Pan syndrome who, even in their 40s, weren’t ready to start a family, and me having to tip-toe around the subject of children.
As much as it was frustrating dating this type of guy, I also understood their uncertainty of becoming a parent. It’s easy to think we’re never quite ready to introduce children into our lives especially if you’re the adventurous type, like to live spontaneously, enjoy getting out and about and exploring all life has to offer. I get it.
I, too, love adventure and live life to the fullest. I’ve camped in Kenya, feasted on sushi and sake in Japan, motorcycled along the Mediterranean, surfed reef breaks in Polynesia, climbed castles in Wales, explored the streets of Venice, and sunbathed along the French Mediterranean. Kids are a commitment, they require a lot of attention and you can’t pick up and go as easily. I get it.
The financial aspect can also be daunting, but it is manageable. You don’t have to be loaded to provide a wonderful upbringing for your child.
Those who know me weren’t surprised by my decision. I wasn’t getting any younger, I was in a good place financially and in my career, and the one had not entered my life yet. My family was supportive and my folks were just happy to have a grandbaby. Having a good support system and a supportive family is key in the decision to start a family for anyone.
Women raising children on their own is as old as motherhood itself. There is nothing new about it and it’s not that unusual. There just seems to be a little more attention on it these days, maybe a little more spotlight thanks to Hollywood. To some, women who’ve chosen to have a baby on their own will always have an unconventional aura about them, such as same-sex and/or mix-race couples or cohabitating couples who never marry.
There are probably more adults raised by single women than most people realize, it’s just not something people advertise (famous people raised by single women include JK Rowling, President Obama, Julia Roberts, Michael Phelps, Barbara Streisand, and the list goes on). The difference in the single mothers we’re seeing today who’ve made the choice is that they are women who have come to a place in their life where they are financially stable, have a good home, and are more than ready and able to provide an incredibly healthy environment for their child.
Regardless of relationship status, when you’re a mom, you’re a mom above all else. You have a responsibility to your child as their guardian, protector and teacher and nature does not care if you are single, divorced, gay, etc.—you are a mom. When asked, I am fond of sharing my story. The surprising thing I’ve come to learn during my journey, however, is that people do not ask. They, too, see you as a mom without need for explanation.
There will always be naysayers in this world, but as long as the naysayers aren’t the ones raising my child, they can say what they want. Who knows, I just might raise a future president of the United States or Olympic gold medal athlete.
Single motherhood isn’t for everyone, but if you are considering starting the journey, you will not be alone. There are a growing number of organizations around the country for women who are thinking about it, trying or being a single mom such as Choice Moms and Single Moms By Choice. There are also a ton of books—one of my favorites is Knock Yourself Up by Louise Sloan.
Just because you start out single, does not mean that you’ll stay single forever. I have yet to feel the urge to start dating again, but when I do, I’m looking forward to having a built-in filter that’ll weed out the men not ready for parenthood, and I will be relieved to not have to tip-toe around the topic of children.
Karen Roberts is a mother, business owner, speaker, and adventurer living with her son in Texas.
Photo credit jovike/Flickr