this was originally posted on the Thinking blog, but it is appropriate in this space, dedicated to the politics of this choice....
The Choice Mom board recently had a discussion about how a CNN article recently described us as "unwed." Some women didn't particularly like the term, since it implies a lack that we don't all feel. Like saying someone is un-blonde, instead of brunette. Some wondered, why not simply call us single, without implying that we're supposed to be something else? Here's one response to the thread from Pamela, 39.
I so agree with the neg. tone of 'unwed.' Funny how technically at the moment I'm a spinster! Single mom, I'm okay with that, but there are so many ways to become a single mom and each road has different social acceptance and different levels of sympathy or in some cases stigmas. I personally prefer to look at it this way:
I was raised being told I could do anything, and though the road was often more challenging as a woman, the road was not blocked (for the most part). The rewards along the way for milestones achieved are still less than my male counterparts, but I'm allowed to walk a road my grandmother was forbidden to travel. I was raised to be independent in thought and action. I was encouraged to follow my dreams and let my spirit guide me. Attending college was not an option -- it was expected, and I was the first woman on both sides of the family to obtain a degree. I am a confident, successful, smart, good-looking woman who by popular belief must by 'broken' in some way as I haven't found a man to marry.
No, I'm not broken, I'm not wounded, I'm not needy. I am the product of a generation of women who were raised believing the world was their oyster. A generation of independent, confident women that society shaped and formed, while forgetting that the boys they were raising alongside these amazing smart and talented girls were not being raised much differently than their fathers -- and when these boys became men and they looked for their mates, they saw women who did not fit the qualities they were programmed to look for in a wife. They saw qualities to pass over.
So am I broken or is it that lens in which men view me that has been curved incorrectly, such that the beauty of an independent woman is not seen? Society shaped me, encouraged career development and beliefs that I could have it all -- career and family. Yet when I achieve career, and family is nowhere to be found, and I pore as much effort into finding a man as I did into my career, I'm still left empty handed. Yet, I view the lack of a man as yet another obstacle in the long journey of my life and begin to develop a work-around. Donor insemination to the rescue, something that's been kept in the closet for unfortunate couples having issues with fertility is now my saving grace.
I like thinking of myself as going down the road towards being an independent mom, because I do not plan to be dependent on social assistance. Save it for the single, UNwed mothers who are UNemployed/UNderemployed and UNable to provide for their children/self and Dependent on others for their needs.
I may be single and thus unwed as I approach motherhood, but I am also independent and will be an independent mom!