Single and Want a Baby?

May 10th, 2010

As a Mum who was a single parent from the very beginning, I’m often asked about the pros and cons of having a baby by yourself.  In this age of independent women having careers and travelling, whilst the biological clock keeps on ticking, it’s a decision more and more single, thirty something, women are faced with.  If you are single, want to have a child, and are running out of time, then deciding to go ahead on your own can be the only option.  There is no right or wrong answer here, no foolproof decision making tool, but here are some important questions to work through to make the best choice for you.

The number one thing you need is support, so have a good think about what support network you have already, or could build, to help you bring up this child.  This could include family, friends, practical support, financial support and good childcare.

Another big question is “who is going to father this child?”  Friend?  Boyfriend?  Sperm donor?  If it’s going to be someone you know, be sure to clarify what that person’s role will be once the baby is born.

One of the biggest challenges a single parent faces is financial.  At face value, this is obvious – you need to have some kind of income to support not only yourself, but your new family.  What you may not realise, however, is just how much money you will require.  Children can be expensive, and I don’t just mean nappies and baby paraphernalia.  All of your living expenses increase when all of a sudden there is more than just you to care for.  That child is now relying on you for somewhere to live, food, warmth, healthcare, clothing, education, entertainment and the list goes on.  You have taken on the responsibility of providing that child with the best possible start in life so it’s up to you to make that happen.

What makes that even more challenging is that if you are the sole care-giver, then you already have a job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  For every hour that you are not actively caring for that child, you need to find someone else to look after them instead, and will quite possibly have to pay for this.  However it is all possible and can be made a lot easier with some forward planning.

Lastly, I think it’s worth a mention that although your timeframe to produce your baby may be urgent and you’re currently single, having a baby by yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you will always be a single parent.  Who knows when your next ideal partner may come along?  It’s quite possible that the wonderful daddy can be added to the family after the baby is born, rather than in the usual order of events.  This can actually take the pressure off potential relationships, as it takes the urgency of committing to making a baby away.  And, after the event, it’s obvious that the child is part of the package, which quickly weeds out any would-be suitors that aren’t interested in kids.

Yes, it is a challenge to bring up a child on your own, but it’s also very rewarding and certainly not impossible.  Once you’ve got them, though, they’re here for good, so if you do want to have a child on your own, do your homework first – it’s not as easy as it looks!

© Jacqui Thomas, All rights reserved, 2010