Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Who disapproves? Here's who...

One woman on the Choice Mom discussion board noticed a pattern -- that others have agreed with -- about who tends to disapprove of the Choice Mom path, and who does not:


I've started casually telling family and friends that I'm planning on starting to conceive or adopt by myself w/in the next two years. I've gotten a range of responses, some negative and some positive.

The people who have responded negatively so far (some single parents and some married) have launched into these shrill lectures about how being a parent is such hard work and being a single mom is basically IMPOSSIBLE and about how it's going to "ruin" my life and probably end up with me getting fired from my job.

The people who have responded positively (also some single and some married) have told me that while parenthood is hard, they have faith that I'll love being a mom and that I'll be a good one, and that I should totally go for it!

I have noticed, though, that the negative reactions have tended to come from married and single moms who never particularly wanted to become parents (and became moms by accident or because of spousal/ family pressure, etc.) or who never particularly enjoyed being parents themselves (unfortunately my mother is one of those people). And the positive responses have tended to come from people who just really enjoyed parenting, either with or without a partner.)

Has anyone else noticed that? That people's reactions have had more to do with their own attitudes about/experiences with parenting and less to do with choice/single motherhood in general?

Responded one woman:

I have noticed the same thing. Most of my responses were positive...even from my dad. I think he just wanted to be a grandpa. But, a few of the negatives were from people who didn't appear to enjoy being parents themselves (or were jealous that I had the money/guts to do it alone when they didn't). My one aunt, who now has an 8 year old who she does every thing in her power to avoid, was definitely not positive. She thought I was insane and that "there was no way" I could pull it off.

Well, I have my almost 3 year old daughter now. And I adore her. Even when she always rearranges the ornaments on the Christmas tree! I love being with her...and yes, it has changed my life and it is definitely hard...but I wouldn't want it any other way. Of course, that same aunt says that she got "stuck" with a bad kid (he has asperger's) and I got an "easy" child. Well, that may true but I would be trying to work with/help my child regardless of the challenges.

I think most people react based on their own feelings/experiences. You have to do what you think is best for you.

What about you? Have you noticed a pattern in the people who tend to disapprove of this choice, whether they are focusing on issues that affect a relatively small percentage of kids who grew up in a divorced or highly stressed environment, or whether they are focusing on how hard it would be to parent alone?

12 comments:

kameya said...

I have definitely noticed this. For example, my ex-husband already thinks it's unfair for my daughter that I'm a single mom. So he really didn't think it was a good idea when I decided to get pregnant again, this time on purpose using a donor. But his discussion points have nothing to do with how happy my daughter and I are or what type of mother I am (an AWESOME one if I do say so myself!). Instead his points seem to stem from his own childhood which was filled with an absent father (crime, federal prison) and an alcoholic mother. It's important to take others opinions (especially the negative ones) with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

I've shared the news that I want to be a single mom (at 40)with some friends and my parents. All of my friends, married and single, have been supportive but unfortunately my parents are not. They say they are worried about my health being pregnant at 40 but I also think there's an image concern about having an unmarried daughter who will be using donor sperm.

Sara, a thinking choice mom said...

I've found this to be true too! Some of my close friends with kids were discouraging me from the single mom route, even though they know how much I love kids and they want me to have kids in general. I was trying to figure out why they were so negative, and this post totally applies! While I know that both of my friends definitely love their kids, I can't say that either one of them truly enjoys parenting or really wanted to become a parent.

Thanks for reminding me that other people's opinions have more to do with the other person than they have to do with me!

wsxwhx661 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

A wise business teacher once told and showed us that any advice and criticism that people give is speaking a lot about themselves.

Vega said...

I told a couple of my friends [thats who I currently have] and my sister and my mom. I have split responses: Total silence on the matter from my mother no questions no comments positive or otherwise; my sister is only keen to know if I trust her to find a spouse for me and has made no reference to my wish for DI/IVF; one of my friends asked if I had the funds necessary to go through with the process and whether I had secured familial help for the initial period; the second one said why are you still talking about it, get on with it already!

feefifoto said...

Found you here: http://www.blisstree.com/solomother/single-moms-by-choice-judgement/

I'm the single mom of a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year old girl. I believe I lost at least two friends over my decision to become a single mom, but everyone else I knew was supportive, with one interesting exception: quite a few men. Many men I spoke to seemed, what -- horrified? At least uncomfortable; I think it was because they felt displaced. Even my sister's husband, who was completely aware of how much of a failure I felt I was at dating, inquired if it wouldn't be better for me to look a little harder for a husband. My father asked the same question. Once my kids came along, however, both of them were (and always have been) completely supportive.

Don't let anyone talk you out of it.

Mama Melissa said...

I completely agree with your assessment. I would also add that there are those people who have the idea that Single Parenting of any kind is bad or negative. And don't get me started on how others see Adoptive parents...

Melissa
Another Single Mom By Choice

Anonymous said...

I think single motherhood is an honorable quest. However, a friend of mine has decided to become pregnant through sexual intercourse with a stranger and not tell them she is having their baby. I am trying to be supportive of her pregnancy and choice to be a single mom but am morally torn as to her choice not to tell the father. Any thoughts?

Choice Mom said...

Re: May 13 post...
ooh, this is NOT a path to endorse. I know it happens, often by accident, sometimes on purpose. Knowingly not telling the father is definitely not ethical. Picking a stranger is dangerous in so many different ways. A Choice Mom proactively builds a family in a way that supports the health of her child. What will she tell the child someday about his/her origins? Lying/misleading are NOT the path to a healthy relationship with your child. The end result is not simply to have a child. It is to have a trusting, open family relationship. Isn't that what all of us want?

Mikki

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with you! However, she is already several months pregnant. Do you know of any literature or have any advice on how I can discuss this issue with her? I don't want to lose her friendship but I do want her to know that I don't agree with her choice. She becomes very defensive and thinks I am attacking her when I tell her my views. I want to encourage her to tell the father yet support her throughout pregnancy and motherhood. How can I do both??

Choice Mom said...

Ah...this is difficult then. I'm opening up this discussion to the wider community on the ChoiceMoms.org website for input.

Join the discussion here:
http://www.choicemoms.org/blog/123/getting_pregnant_with_a_stranger

Mikki