By Alex Temblador
This last weekend, I was speaking to someone about growing older and the different stages of life. Of course, parenting was one of the topics that we discussed, but more specifically, becoming a single parent by choice. For this person that I spoke with, becoming a single parent by choice never seemed like an option, despite the fact that they wanted kids. Their reasonings behind not taking the leap and becoming a parent on their own rang false to my ears. So in response to that conversation, I thought it was fitting for an article such as this.
I knew there were single mothers and fathers in the world – my dad was one for a short time before remarrying – but I thought that they were single parents because of divorce, death, or having a child out of wedlock with the wrong person. I never even considered that you could become a single parent by choice, or that anyone would want to.
But after writing for The Next Family for over a year, I’ve read articles on single parenting, specifically from one of our own writers, Monique, a single mother by choice. From reading Monique’s articles, I learned that becoming a single parent by choice is a possibility. From The Next Family, I’ve learned that becoming a parent is ALWAYS a possibility and there is nothing that should hold anyone back from that dream if they so wish it.
Becoming a single parent by choice is something that’s not often talked about which is surprising since it is a viable and great journey that men and women of all backgrounds can take. However, the biggest thing that prevents single people who want a child from becoming a parent is a combination of their own fears, myths, and a lack of information or knowledge on how to find resources that will explain the journey of becoming a single parent by choice.
Whether you’re considering becoming a single parent or think it could be a possibility for you one day, I’ve decided to rid you of your fears by dispelling the main myths associated with becoming a single parent by choice.
- “It’s impossible to be a single parent without a partner.”
Maybe in the early 1900s you needed a second person to create a family, but this is 2016. You don’t need a partner to have a child. Women don’t need a partner to undergo IVF treatments with donated sperms or embryos. Men don’t need a partner to hire a surrogate. And for both men and women, adoption, private (in most cases) or foster adoption, accepts single individuals.
- “It’s too expensive to become a single parent.”
Becoming a parent can be expensive. Here are some of the most up-to-date costs when it comes to having a child:
- Surrogacy: $100,000-$150,000
- Domestic Adoption: $30,000-$40,000
- International Adoption: $30,000-$50,000
- Foster Care Adoption: $2,000-$5,000
- IVF Treatments: $7,000-$27,000
- Costs associated with natural births: $9,000-$15,000
Notice how foster care adoption is only $2,000-$5,000 in costs? If you ask me, that’s not very expensive, especially compared to the “traditional” method of having a natural birth. For those worried about adopting from the foster care system, don’t be swayed by the myths associated with it. They are false. Check out this beautiful video of a single mother by choice who chose foster care to become a mom.
Did you know that the government allows tax breaks for those that adopt and some employers (like the military) will cover the costs or provide a month stipend? You could virtually create your family for less than what you make in one or two months.
However, for those who want to become a single parent by choice through surrogacy, IVF, or international adoption, there are ways to raise the funds to cover the costs of these parenthood journey. Click here for some great ideas.
Probably the best way to dispel this notion that having a child as a single person is too expensive is by changing your mindset. Would you rather eat out all of the time or have a child? Remember how much you saved up to pay off that 50K student loan? Notice how IVF treatments are no more expensive than a middle-rate car?
Granted it costs money to have a child, but that doesn’t mean it’s too expensive to do so.
- “I’ll never find a partner if I have a kid.”
This is not true. Take a second to think about all of the single parents that you know. I can’t think of any single parent that I know of that didn’t date. Many of the single parents I’ve known have also married and created blended families with their new spouse. Falling in love with someone else is not determined by whether you have kids or not; it’s just this crazy thing that occurs between two people and there’s no “rules” or “stipulations” to the experience.
- “People won’t understand my choice. “
What you’ll be surprised to find is that there are more people who will understand your choice in becoming a single parent. Those who don’t, might not be the kind of people you want in your life.
One of our writer’s, Monique, a single mom by choice, had to find her support group for her journey toward motherhood. See how she was able to manage it and the love and support she received from great people in her life by clicking here.
- “I work full-time and can’t raise a kid alone.”
You would not be the first single parent to work full time and raise a child on your own. Not only was my father a single father who worked full-time for the Post Office, but he also raised my sister who has severe mental and physical disabilities. If he could do it—so can you.
Do you know how many celebrities were raised by single parents who worked full-time? President Obama, Angelina Jolie, Kanye West, Eddie Murphy, and Jay-Z, Jodie Foster, and Barbara Streisand are just a few successful celebrities that were raised by single parents.
Better yet, you don’t have to be “alone” when it comes to raising your kids. There are groups for single parents, family, and friends who can and will help you raise your child. And if your fear is associated with the cost of raising a child as a single parent, there are many programs that will provide assistance with daycare, groceries, medical bills, and more.
- “It’s too late.”
This might be the biggest excuse of all toward you having the happiness that you want. So many people want to be parents, but they tell themselves it’s too late. For women, they often associate this with their ability to conceive. Let’s get this straight: there are men and women who become parents at all different stages of their life, whether it’s in their 20s or their 50s.
It’s never too late to do anything in this world, especially something that you desire to do. It’s all about your mindset and telling yourself that you’re going to do it…and then go and do it!
And if you need some guidance in finding your happiness as a single parent, we have an entire website with tons of resources and articles by parents that have already gone through the journey and can provide you with insight and encouragement you might need for yours.