I am a Single Mother By Choice.
No, I did not adopt a child on my own. I didn’t go through fertility treatments or in-vitro fertilization, and I didn’t spend thousands of dollars of my own money trying to get pregnant as a single woman.
My situation is different, but still very valid. I knew before I gave birth to my daughter that I would be raising her on my own. I knew that I would be the one to wake up with her every night and to teach her everything she knows. I knew I would be the one who would be present and there with her each and every day, and I knew I would be the one to provide for her in every way possible.
I tried several times to identify online as a Single Mother By Choice (SMBC), but I was constantly told “No, you aren’t. You’re not a real SMBC.”
It was very real to me when I chose to keep the life I created. It was very real to me when I chose to take on the responsibility of raising my daughter completely alone. And it was very real to me when I gave birth and fell head over heels in love with my daughter the moment I laid eyes on her.
“But a real SMBC plans to have a baby. You didn’t spend months (or years) saving up for an adoption or fertility treatments.”
You’re right. I did not. But I also did not plan to be with someone who would not be there for me and my daughter. And maybe I didn’t spend years saving for an adoption or fertility treatments, but I spent my entire pregnancy working two jobs to save up every cent I could so that I could put myself in the best possible financial situation to ensure that my daughter had everything she needed.
I take my hat off to any man or woman who is parenting solo. It is not easy and there are days when it is tiring and frustrating and overwhelming. There are days when it can feel completely lonely and isolating. Those are the days I wanted to reach out, the days I wanted to connect with other SMBC’s. But I was shunned and told I didn’t belong in their exclusive group.
It makes me sad that any mother would not reach out to another parent who needed someone to talk to. Parenting is tough and sometimes you need to talk to someone who is experiencing similar things to you. It helps you connect and makes you feel like you aren’t completely alone.
Luckily, I have found a group of SMBCs that I belong with. They have very similar situations to me and they also consider themselves Single Mothers By Choice. Yes, there was some circumstance involved in our situations, but there was still plenty of choice. We made tough, difficult and emotionally exhausting choices. We chose to enter motherhood solo and we embraced it as single women.
To the ‘real’ SMBCs: I’m not trying to offend you or take away from the choices you made. I know you spent months, if not years, planning for the baby you always wanted. I think what you did was incredibly amazing and you deserve all of the credit in the world. But please, don’t try telling me or my friends that we are not as valid as you. We are different, but equal. This is motherhood, we are all in it together. Shouldn’t we be on the same team?
You may not agree with what I have wrote, and you may not agree that I am a true SMBC. But I still plan on calling myself that. I’m not doing it to upset you. I am doing it because it feels right and at the end of the day that’s all that matters to me.