I have absolutely agonized over the decision to become a single mom. If all us Single Moms by Choice are honest, few if any of us really want to be a single mom. We’d love the support that comes with a healthy marriage, another set of hands, someone to hug us when we’re overwhelmed (and let’s be honest, an additional paycheck). Most of all, us Single Moms by Choice agonize over the lack of a father for our children.
So many voices asking if it’s right to do
Everybody and I mean EVERYBODY asks if it’s the right thing to do. That is if they don’t straight up tell you that it’s the wrong thing to do.
At first, it’s not that bad because that’s what I asked myself too. That’s what I still ask myself. Is this right? What are the ramifications going to be of my decision? Will my child hate me for this?
I did sooo much research. I read people’s blogs, watched youtube videos, talked to other moms who had made the same decision. What were the effects were of this on them and most importantly their children. How did the kids react over not having a father? And worse, how did they react over having an anonymous donor as a father whom they probably would never know?
The truth is there really isn’t a right answer.
Our kids won’t have a dad
I am a psychology professor and have a Doctorate in Marital Therapy specializing in masculinity issues. I am imo the world’s biggest proponent of how vital men are to the world and how valuable a father is.
So when I found myself searching online for sperm donors, it was pretty awful. Should I raise a child without a dad?
Having a dad in the family has been shown by research to be extremely protective on a number of issues. Some research even suggests that dads have more of an impact on a child’s healthy development than moms do (although it probably just depends on which outcome is being studied).
Girls with their father living in the home are less likely to get pregnant at an early age and have better self esteem. Boys are less likely to end up in prison. Both are less likely to use drugs and alcohol and are even less likely to be obese.
How in the world could I even consider having children willingly without a father?
The conflict faced by a Single Mom by Choice
The truth is, I didn’t want to have children without a dad. I, like many other single moms, want to have a husband and want my children to have a father. Unfortunately, that’s not how the cards have played out.
I’m a member of the xennial generation. A sub generation of only 25 million people born between roughly 1978-1983 give or take. Also called the Oregon Trails generation, if you played Oregon Trails as a child and played it using a floppy disk that actually was floppy, you are an xennial. If seeing this image makes you feel more warm and fuzzy than a Christmas tree loaded with presents on Christmas morning…you’re an xennial.
Xennials got their own micro generation name because they grew up so different from the age groups around them. They were born when everything was analogue, but grew up along with technology as the digital age grew up.
Because of this, the xennials think differently and seem to have a hard time fitting in with the other generations. Because there’s so few members though and because hardly any of them get married…well it just seems I could never find anyone for myself.
Turns out this lack of marriage has been an ongoing trend with true Millenials having even lower rates of marriage. Unsurprisingly, this follows the trend of Single Mothers by Choice increasing.
What is a woman supposed to do when you’ve dreamt your entire life of having children, but you’re staring menopause in the face and have no children yet?
I suppose you could just get married to Joe Schmo and end up divorced like our parent’s generations, but that’s the other side of this conflict. We don’t want to end up divorced and so we hold out for the right relationship…that never comes.
Are Single Moms by choice being picky?
Are we being picky? Maybe, but I don’t feel like I am. It’s not like I’ve found a ton of men that I like and I just reject all of them. I can’t even find men. They don’t go outside and interact. I’ve even said to my mom “While we’re out today, if you see one man that even looks halfway suitable, then I’ll ask him out.” The entire day, we didn’t see one single guy that was even in my age group.
So again, what are we supposed to do when we dream of children, but all the single men are busy playing video games in their mom’s basement?
Honestly, I don’t know what the right answer is, but I decided that I’m going to have children. If a good man comes along, I hope he’s happy that I already got started on building our family.
*Note to moms, kick your sons out and make them be independent so us girls can find husbands.
Never knowing who their dad is
The other issue is of course that the sperm donor is generally anonymous. It’s becoming more common to have open donations where the mom and kids know from the start who their donor is. I think this is wonderful, especially for a single mom by choice, and I tried really hard to find a donor whose profile I liked that was also an open donation. Sadly, I wasn’t able to find one and chose an anonymous donor.
Anonymity in donors is probably a thing of the past and I don’t think it should even be offered anymore. With modern genetic testing, any mom who decides to search for the dad will probably find him.
There is one nice thing though even with anonymous donors. Once the kid turns 18, they can write a letter to their donor and the sperm bank will contact him. If he wants to he can write back and they can decide together whether to have a relationship.
Still, this is one of the many many many issues I agonize over in the process to become a mom by donation. I even approached a friend of mine and asked if he’d be willing to donate. I adore him like a brother and thought that if my kids turn out like him, I’d be very happy. Didn’t work out though.
What most Single Mom by Choice find helpful for their kids
I talked to another Single Mom by Choice who has raised children through all the turmoil of being a donor kid. There is one thing that she’s found as a recurring theme that helps kids to be positive about the situation:
Knowing from the beginning that their dad was a sperm donor.
Over and over again, I see that the kids who are really screwed up by this situation are the ones that found out later in life that their dad was an anonymous donor.
On the other hand, the kids who knew from the beginning just kind of assimilate the information and it just is what it is. It’s not a big deal. They’re curious of course and they desperately want to know, but it doesn’t cause the pain and turmoil that older kids or even adults go through when they find out late.
Another recurring theme is the story that the mom tells the kid about the donor. Like everything in life, the same facts can be spun in many different ways. You could say that you were desperate to be a mom and so you went to a sperm bank and paid to have a kid. Or you could say that an absolutely wonderful man gave his DNA as a gift of love so that you could fill the empty hole in your heart that only a beautiful little boy or little girl could fill.
I’ll be the first to admit that having children through the miracle of modern technology is not ideal. However, love covers over a multitude of sins.
The process from here
So I’ve started the process to do IVF and have my own kiddos. It’s been quite an adventure so far and I will keep posting updates for anyone who is interested!
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