This post is not going to cover women who leave their spouse for another man or woman because that is not a choice to be a single mother. That, rather, is a choice to bring another person to mix into the family. This post will cover women who decide to be single mothers for a reason. They are called single mothers by choice, which I am going to make a rather broad term.
There are three main reasons women choose to be single mothers by choice:
1) Some women decide to remain single after being left by a spouse.
2) Some women are abused by a spouse with addictions–physical (adultery, domestic violence) or chemical (drugs, pornography, alcohol, media), so these women leave in an effort to keep children and self safe from harmful behaviors. And yet, they remain single after leaving their spouse.
3) Some women decide they want to have a baby, but they have found no man who is willing to commit to a life-project, so they find the means to have a baby without having any attachment to the man. They can either do this by having a conjugal relationship with a man or by going to the sperm donation centers.
The first two have been commonly accepted behaviors of women for the last several decades, although it is not without its stigmatization. However, we are also seeing a push for women to remarry which has been in large part done with advertising by dating services.
Now it’s time for the questions:
Is it just another aspect of humanity that is being used for profit or do women really want to remarry? Is it an attempt to re-balance the financial devastation to middle class accounts caused by divorce? Whatever the reason, remarriage is WIDELY accepted, and for the most part, today, it is expected.
Perhaps, this is because single mothers just make people uncomfortable. Is it an attempt to bring some normalcy back into their lives? Does being a single mom feel wrong? Is it the added burden to the community, so the community looks to her as the encapsulation of the problem since she is the one being the parent? Is she a stigma? I have to admit that people treat me differently unmarried than they did when I was married, but that will be a topic for another time (remind me to tell you sometime).
There are so many factors, it is really hard to make a generalization as to why there is such a push for remarriage post divorce.
So, let’s move on to the third kind of single mother by choice, which ironically is going against that push for remarriage or marriage for that matter. The third kind of single mother decided to be single before she even had her child. She doesn’t want to be married. This is actually a new trend.
Why is this new phenomenon occurring? With all the piles of research done showing the bad effects of single parenting, why would women choose to have a child on their own? Is it because she is so disheartened by the tragedy of divorce that encircles her? Is it seeing parents fight over children? Is it seeing parents be at first loyal to their family, then move to do nothing that is in thinking for their family? Is it seeing the children being split in half? Are they trying to avoid the pain of a broken family?
The first two kinds of single mothers have the advantage of knowing what a married life is like. In many instances, married life is not so bad, then something goes wrong. So the pain of divorce hurts because they know what is missing. They had something good if even for a breath. The third type of single mom avoids this kind of pain all together. She doesn’t know what it is like nor will she ever have to know what it is like to be hurt or left.
At first, when I began to see this phenomenon of single mothers by choice (the term in its limited usage), I just could not understand. Why on earth would any woman want to have a child on her own? But maybe that is because I have been married, and I know that married with children is easier than not married with children. Sure marriage has its difficulties, but it just isn’t as hard as having to do everything on your own. But me knowing marriage, that is where I differ from these other ladies. They just choose to go the harder route from the beginning without knowing how good marriage can be.
So then, I wanted to know why. I began to read some blogs, and I discovered that these women had tried to have serious relationships with men, but the men wouldn’t commit. They were getting past their phase of fertility; they had been successful in their career; and they wanted a family. What is a woman supposed to do when most of the men just don’t want to have this type of responsibility? What is a woman to do when she is afraid of the pain she sees in so many women being left? What is she to do?
So, I went from extremely mystified and perhaps even a little angry about these women to feeling extremely sorry for them. They are alone. They are afraid. They are trying to protect children that they want to have from a future harm. They want a family.
And that’s where my hope sparked. Okay, so if the new trend emerging is women wanting to have children, even if that means on their own, then that means they are ready to embrace life and responsibility. It is impossible for a family to be made without a woman. That was the crime of the past five decades–women didn’t want to accept their part in bringing life into the now and for the future (Manicheism). But it seems as if women are now wanting to do just that, even if that means choosing the more difficult way. Now if we can just get the guys back on board, the rest of this ship might be actually turning around. What do you think? I mean, it’s not the most healthy way to have a family, but at least it’s a turn in the right direction.
Okay, okay, okay. I am not suggesting that this is a good idea. Children who are born without knowing their dad have been shown to have major identity issues. So sperm donor children end up feeling like a piece of them is always missing. I have heard it is even worse than having a dad who has left because rather than a distorted piece being there, there is just nothing there. All humans are a part of history, and it helps a person know their identity if they know where they came from–who made them. In the end, it is actually quite sad, not only for the child but also for the mother and father.
And then dangit all, if seeing this phenomenon didn’t make me so grateful! Yes, I am so grateful! I, for my part, am extremely grateful for my husband. He left. Yes. But those moments of creating these boys were pretty darn special. Those moments when I told him that, yes, I was going to have a baby. Those moments that we discovered we were having another boy. Those moments when he was there for their births (3 out of 4). Those moments he held those boys in his arms for the first time and had tears in his eyes. Those moments he giggled as he told everyone we had a boy. That one moment after seeing our first son born when he said, “I don’t know why I ever thought an abortion was a good idea.” Those moments are priceless!
Moments like that are so full of love, you just feel like you are existing in a miracle. No. You are living in a miracle, and when you see that miracle change another person if only for the smallest moment, you know that every single pain was worth it. Even if he turns into the worst kind of man, you still have those moments, those breaths of love. And you know what? So does he. No one can take that away from you. No one. Not even him. You have taken a chance to bring love into the world with another person, and, man, all those hateful moments that came later, they pale in comparison.
So if anybody asks me if I would do it again and get the same result with him leaving us, I would say, “Yes! There is nothing like it. I would do it all over again. But next time, instead of four boys make it ten.”
So, here I am again looking at these phenomenon of single mothers. The single mothers who should be making the choice to stay single for the sake of fidelity to marriage are being encouraged to remarry while single mothers who should be encouraged to marry are staying single. Is that from feminism? That one I just can’t pin down especially since feminism used to be about avoiding the burden of children. It seems to now be about wanting the challenge. Mmmmm…If this challenge can be accepted for the sake of being able to love one, then can’t the next step be……
Language exploration on conjugal from MacMillan Student Dictionary
1. conjugal–having to do with marriage or marital relations (Latin conjugalis, con-together and jugum-yoke with reference to marriage as yoking together as a team).
2. conjugate–to give the inflections of a verb; biology–to fuse in conjugation; joined together, esp. in pairs, coupled; of words, derived from a common root (Latin conjugatus, conjugare–to join together, marry)
3. conjugation–act of conjugating; being conjugated; grammar– a) inflections of a verb to indicate tense, person, number, and mood. b) arrangement of the inflections of a verb. c) group of verbs having the same inflections.; biology–temporary fusion of two cells with an accompanying transfer of hereditary material, occurring among some protozoans and algae. contrasted with fission, or asexual division, it is sometimes considered a primitive sexual process.
How does society view a conjugal relationship?
The seven factors indicative of a conjugal relationship (Canada) for business law, common-law arrangements.
Common-law marriage from Wikipedia
How does the Intelligent Designer see a conjugal relationship?
I have not finished reading these next two. Could my resident theologians tell me what they mean? A little bit deep.
READ Theology of the Body!