Becoming a Single Parent

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  • Considering single motherhood at 42

    (12 replies)

    Hi all, 

    I'm a single, queer, 42-year old woman who's been thinking about having a child on my own.  This is not how I'd hoped motherhood would happen for me, but I have enough of a pull to motherhood to be seriously considering doing this without a partner.  I understand this has been discussed a bit on the board, but I'm hoping for some fresh responses and for direct/off-board connections to single moms.  

    I would really appreciate connecting with other women who have chosen single motherhood in their 40's, or are considering choosing it.  I have concerns about $$, emotional support, my ability as a single mother to raise a child in as stress-free a home as possible, and child care - for a start!  

    I have family nearby, but am not sure how much I can depend on them for child care, financial help, or emotional sustenance (I have a decent job, but I also have grad school and some other loans to maintain for at least another 5-7 years, which are substantial; I have some good friends, but not super nearby).  So, I feel like I need to be ready to be totally self-sufficient, just in case.  

    If folks have experiences, resources, or advice they want to share on the board, please do.   As noted, I would also be most grateful to anyone willing to connect in person or by phone on this topic.  

    Thanks everyone!


    My starting situation was slightly different from yours, but I have raised my daughter alone for the past 14 years, since she was 3 (ex-husband moved out of state and neither of us made enough money that there was any support situation; I also have family close by who was helpful for holidays and emergencies). If you want a child you should totally do it! I can't imagine not being a mom; we are almost like the Gilmore Girls.

    Since I knew I couldn't "do it all," just as one adult of modest means, I focused on stability -- both of us getting enough sleep, mostly healthful food, and a safe, quiet home. Anything/everything else was just extra that either I could or couldn't make work for the moment, and we have thrived.

    At first I joined a single parents group but it really wasn't for me -- no one was happy or thankful for what they had -- I really didn't understand the bitch-fest.

    The first year is the hardest, not the baby, but the other things like laundry and cooking.

    Good Luck!

    Hi,  There is a large network of thinkers, tryers and single mom's out there to support you with your decision, logistics and process.  Look into "Single Mothers by Choice (SMC)."  There is a very active, supportive group in the Bay Area.   My son is now 17, so it has been a few years since I have been involved with the group.  Start with googling "Single Mothers by Choice" and looking at some books on Single Parenting and I'm sure there are current resources listed.  SMC provided so much of what I  needed in so many ways.  

    If you are wondering about how much your family will support you, ask them directly.  I moved to the Bay Area because I had family living nearby thinking they might be helpful.  They did not assist me much.  I realize now that talking more directly with them about my desire to have them be part of my son's life before I moved here might have brought about a different, more connected scenario.

    Single motherhood is the most wonderful, meaningful, difficult, intense thing I've ever done. 

    Grateful to be a 59-yr.-old single Mom to a now 17 yr. old son.

    I am a single mother. No family lives near. I was 46 when I adopted my little one. It has been so hard and Such a Joy!!! I am thrilled to be a mom. I have much less energy than I used to. I figured it out; what works changes all the time. Prioritizing the basics - regular healthy meals and regular enough sleep - for both of us -  has helped probably the most. Good Luck! 

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41 yrs old and considering single motherhood

May 2012

Hello, I never thought I'd still be single at almost 41 years of age and have to considering having a child on my own, but lo and behold this is where I'm at. I'm a heterosexual woman who has not had the good fortune of connecting with the right man, and I am growing increasingly worried (and very sad) about the very real possibility of never becoming a mom. This is something I have been pining over for awhile but have been 'holding out', as I really wanted to share parenthood with a loving partner. But I am very clear that I cannot wait much longer (if at all). I guess I am looking for advice from women in their late thirties or early forties who have intentionally/consciously made the decision to have a child on their own. I'm looking to understand any emotional, mental and spiritual issues that a woman who has made this decision has had to grapple with. I am also (very importantly), looking for the reality-based advice of how 'doable' this is. As *much* as I want a child I am nervous about doing it on my own. I want to have a better understand of what this is like, but at the same time realize that everyone has different situations of course. Would also be interested in knowing if there are any intentional single-mother communities out there, and if women ever choose to live and raise their children together in like-minded community. I have started to take some steps forward (instead of just spinning about this)...i.e. -- had a consultation at Pacific Reproductive Services (sperm bank) a couple of weeks ago, and went to get my hormone levels checked (FSH: 7 and Estradiol: 31.5), and I'm think I'm still in the 'normal' range. In general, just feel like I'm all over the place, but the gist of this post is that I am just really needing to connect with women who have had some experience in the range of what I'm talking about. I would even be grateful to connect in person or by phone if you feel so inclined. Thank you.

I am a single Mom with an adopted daughter. I would be happy to talk to you about my experiences regarding in vitro and adoption. v.
I was in your shoes just a few years ago and now have a 17 month old. I would love to talk with you about it. There are a few different national groups that also have local groups in the area (Single Mothers by Choice and Choice Moms). elaine
I see people post with great hesitation about being a single mother by choice. I would vote to go for it. The sad reality is almost everyone I know that got married and did everything ''the right way'' is now a single mother anyway. People get divorced, partners die, and kids are often raised just fine. Would it be easier to have a happy marriage. Yes, but I just see that being the minority. I did not think I wanted children and had my two sons at 41 and 43. It caused much tension in my relationship - but you know what- my sons bring joy into my life that no relationship ever could. If their father and I split, I will be fine with my two boys and would never regret it. Even at 3 years old my son chats away with me and has opinions, and I enjoy our conversations. It would help to have some of your friends or family ''volunteer'' to help out in the early years. My spouse helps a little, not much, but still makes things a tad easier. I work full time and am a little ''old'' but it was worth it to me. Myst
Hello! I am a 42 year old single mama by choice with a 4 1/2 year old daughter and felt compelled to write back to you.

The first thing I HIGHLY recommend doing is getting the book ''The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Birth and Parenting''. Yes, I know you're not a lesbian and neither am I (bisexual) but as it turns out this book is incredibly helpful for single women. It breaks down all of your options and everything you need to consider to have a child on your own.

There are tons of local single mama support groups in the Bay Area and I'm sure if you google them you'll have no problem finding them. Most people are scared of the financial burden and that is indeed challenging. You just have to learn to think outside the box. Same goes for childcare. While there are challenges, there are also bonuses that no one ever tells you about. YOU get to make all the decisions for you and your baby. There's no arguing with anyone because you're the decision maker. You and your baby become a ''team'' in a way I think you don't normally when there's another adult involved. You can focus on one relationship (you and your baby) instead of having to focus on maintaining 2 relationships (baby & partner). My sex drive left for a good year or two after my daughter was born (fairly common) and that was just fine since I didn't have a partner anyway.(Once my sex drive came back I started dating. Yay!) People tend to lend an extra hand to a single mama in ways they wouldn't normally to a woman with a partner.

I feel it's empowering and at the same time I've learned to rely on my community for support. As someone who really believes ''it takes a village'' it's been amazing to watch how this as evolved for me over the years. Because I utilize community I have WAY more childcare givers than most couples with children and this has resulted in me being able to have more respite than most couples.

There are plenty of single mamas out there looking for others to live with so you shouldn't have a problem in that arena. My biggest piece of advice is to keep open to all the options and situations you may not have even thought about! Smiles, Simona

First I want to say that I am not a single mom but due to my husband's crazy work schedule I am with the kids 90% of the time on my own. I live as if I were a single mom and if my husband can join us, great. Second I want to say that as a woman the same age as you who has a history of cancer, live your life!! Do not wait for the right person to start a family with, jump in now. I don't mean to scare you, but at 41 fertilty is waning and your labs look great. Don't waste another momemet--this life is all we have. You will be a great mom. There will be times you'll feel sorry for yourself because you don't have a partner but you'll have many more moments of feeling insane happiness and a deep knowing that motherhood was the best choice ever. You'll find support in other ways. If you truly want to become a mom, do it. Life is urgent. anon
I just had my first daughter at 40, just turned 41. Its a tough decision but I'm happy to say I don't regret it. Certainly if one doesn't have the means, it's a more difficult choice but if you do, then it really isn't a question. At 41 I am a better mother then I could ever have been at 21. Im calmer and more focused then I was when I was younger. Good luck! Sophia B
Hello, I felt compelled to write after reading the other posts. I am a single mom (got divorced when my kids were in middle school) and it is hard--REAL HARD!!! But I had to have kids and I'm glad I did it and would not have traded it for the world. I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it is so if you decide to do it -- all the best. Go Single Moms!!!
I was a single mom from the start - anonymous sperm donor, artificial insemination, pregnant alone, birth coach was a friend, child in day care from age 3 months as I worked full-time. My son is now 13. Some observations:

* When I thought about getting older and not having a child I was so sad I would weep so that was a sign to me that I would have enormous regret if I didn't do it.

* There is a strong support community in the Bay Area, a group called Single Moms by Choice, I made wonderful friends and we helped each other all the time.

* Married moms who say they are like single moms b/c their partner is away a lot don't get it - having someone to share the good and bad with, who brings home a paycheck, who you can consult with on big and small decisions - these are things the single mom does without.

* I think it's harder to be a single mom after divorce than from day one, b/c the divorced mom went into it thinking they had a partner, while the single mom by choice knew from the start they were on their own.

* The hardest part of being a single mom for me was the absence of someone to share the joy with, someone who loves your child the way you do and revels in their accomplishments. I don't regret it for one moment, having a child opened my heart. Jane

I'm 38, single, and I want kids

Aug 2011

Hi, I am a single 38 year old woman, and I want to have kids. I can afford to be a single mother, but I wanted to hear from other single folks or non-traditional couples any advice. I am thinking of both a sperm bank or adoption--I am not really sure if I can conceive,not based on any facts, just the scary info one reads about regarding my age group. But I am ready to adopt if not. I have been with a man I love for 8 years, but we have issues, which include his not wanting to have a baby. I am scared to be alone, but more scared to not have a baby. I am the single girl (woman) who everyone looks at sympathetically because I am a baby-child-(animal) magnet who doesn't have her own baby. Anyway, any thoughts are appreciated. Also to be clear, the man in my life isn't part of this question--I would love him to participate, but I don't think he is up to it, so I just want to proceed as if he won't be involved. single and baby?

There is a book and an online community that links you to local community for single mothers. The book and organization is called ''Single Mother's By Choice'' kaayla
I mean this in the most loving way: Stand up on your own two feet, and give yourself a long (longer!) hug. You have made the decision to have in life what you want. Now don't wait a moment longer. Put it at the top of your list. I had my first at 38, second at 41. Many of us do. Don't waste energy worrying about the possible problems. Sounds like you have resources. Single parenting is often much easier than ''co- parenting'' (with someone difficult). Go for it! One of many happy single moms
There is a nationwide organization for Single Mothers by Choice - - and Bay Area SMC support groups where you can talk about your concerns and desires. BASMC is organized as a Yahoo group, and they have meetings and play dates. I was a single mom by choice and I made many friends there, and was able to talk with other moms in my situation about how to deal with the big issues and the small ones.

For what it's worth, having a child by myself was the best decision I ever made, and I'm not exaggerating. When I pictured not being a mom, I would start crying. My child, who is now 11, is my joy. It's not easy being a single mom, but to me the alternative was not acceptable. Go for it! Jane

Hi, I'm a single mom who was on her own from conception on. It can be tough, there's lots of ways to get help and support, and as a single person I find there are areas I actually have it easier than my friends who are managing a family with two parents. If this is something you really want and are willing to commit to, I think it's completely do-able. Building a strong support network was really important and BANANAS was a great resource for me with free classes, experts, etc. I'd be happy to share my experience if you're interested. You can contact the moderator for my e-mail. Happy single momma
I remember hitting 38 and asking myself the EXACT same questions (including the male partner not interested in having kids). Yes, you can lead a rich and rewarding life without kids of your own, it's true. But boy, am I glad I decided to adopt as a single mother just 2 years later. Nothing I have done--travel, success at work, any of it-- has been as rich, meaningful, challenging, complicated, demanding, loving, philosophically and morally relevant-- as becoming a mother. This is not true for all women, but for people like you and me, who feel they are meant to be mothers, ignoring our instincts can set us up for a lifetime of unsatisfied yearning and an encroaching sense of missed opportunities.

People will have opinions about your life no matter what you do--you might as well do the things that matter most. Family, friends and complete strangers gave me the whole range of responses from ''how unfair to have a child without a 2 parent household'' to ''why don't you adopt from the Ukraine?'' Almost as bad were the two extremes: ''how selfish of you'' to ''how selfless of you''. Being a parent is a deeply personal decision--having a relationship with a child that you are responsible for changes everything in ways no one else can describe to you.

As a woman in the same boat, I just want to tell you my experience: it is all worth it, as scary and intense as anything you can imagine, but surpassing imagination in its joy, love, challenges and surprises. If you feel this is what you're supposed to do, don't let anyone stop you. Once a single mother, now just a mom

When you say you can afford it, does that mean you have passive income and don't have to work or can you afford day care on the salary you have now? I'm not saying it's impossible, just be aware time is money and you will have less than none of time. It's a double-time job that could cut into your sleep regularly for up to a year, or more, and demand sick days. If you need to work even if you have daycare or a nanny, and still have to do overnights with a baby yourself, the sleep deprivation will affect your energy level and possibly your work performance.

Having gone through it is like speaking an entirely different language and knowing most of it is lost in translation and that you can't really transfer what it's like to live on Mars anyway. Sleep deprivation is hell and a baby is not only a 24-hour job but takes over your life. You'll need that desire you naturally have and all the love you have and all the family and support you can find, for a long time. Also btw, if your boyfriend isn't on board this will break it up just because you'll be on a different planet. If all this doesn't stop you... go for it

Do it!! I'm not speaking as someone who did this, but as someone who was in your position a few years back. I had wondered whether I could do this, and at the time I worried I wouldn't be able to. I now know in no uncertain terms that if I had been in the position again I most certainly would have done it, and it would be fine. I know a couple of people (not well) who did this too. It will not be easy, and might even feel sad at first when you see the happy couples coming into the hospital. So you should make friends w/ people who have kids or are expecting, and enlist the help of a buddy to get you through the birth process (even a mom, who would LOVE to see the process from the other end, trust me). You'll need support and friends for babysitting, playdates, tradeoffs. What you won't have is someone that you can hand the baby to at the end of the day, and just go to bed early. But some of us with husbands don't have that either. What you WILL have is full autonomy to make your decisions about everything. And it's not impossible that you'll meet the right guy along the way who will want to make the journey with you (and will be able to see what it is firsthand.) Some of us with partners don't live the ideal life (nor will you-- actually most of us don't live perfect lives). SOme of us w/ partners are in the process of adjusting our expectations as we discover that are partners are not actually all that excited about every aspect of child rearing. I'm saying that mostly to say: you can do this, and you'll be fine. It won't be easy, and sometimes you'll think the difficult parts are because your single- sometimes that will be true, sometimes not. Sometimes just being a parent is hard. But if you want kids, you should go for it now. I'm sorry about the man who doesn't want to do it with you. I would move on too, if I were you, and I'd have NO regrets. I love my one kid-wish I could have more. I love kids & can't imagine a child-free life, even though it's often hard. Best of blessings to you.
I am the single mother of a 12 year old daughter to whom I gave birth using sperm from a sperm bank. The donor is willing to be known to my daughter if she wants to know him when she is 18.

I joined Single Mothers by Choice before I gave birth. Women in the group chose sperm banks and adoption. I have noticed several trends in the parents who are very satisfied being a single mom and those who are often overwhelmed with the tasks and responsibilities of child-rearing. I will start with the moms who are happy with their decisions:

The happiest moms are those that wanted to raise a child, not wanted to have a baby. They are the ones who do not get too attached to any phase. Moms were very clear whether they wanted to stay home with their babies/children or whether they wanted to work in their home or outside. Some changed what they first believed they wanted, and made that change after thought and preparation.

Moms have figured out what kind of childcare is best for them and their child and looked at childcare options BEFORE their children were conceived or applied for. The happiest moms took child development classes BEFORE having a child. The children of these educated moms are happier and have happier children, including those of two parent families.

The happiest moms know and pay attention to their children and raise their children in a way that works with and for the particular child. Moms and children who have dinner at home after cooking dinner together were very happy.

The happiest and most satisfied moms gave birth to their children, tested for prenatal abnormalities and chose to deal with any abnormalities before birth or made the hard decision to abort and become pregnant again.

Things to watch out for and to pay attention to:

Of 16 of us becoming single moms 7 adopted. Five of the seven children who are adopted have moderate to severe learning disabilities. Moms who are the least satisfied wanted babies, they did not think about developmental stages beyond age four or five.

Moms who are the least satisfied depend on the opinions of others and put their friends needs, opinions and time before that of their children. Moms who are least satisfied have not taken care of their weight, emotional- wellbeing, spiritual well-being and personal growth.

Moms who are the least satisfied where extremely insecure about having a childcare worker, or other person witnessing their children's ''firsts'' - first step, first word, etc.

One final thing - as hard as this is to say - I would not adopt as a single mom if I could not be home or provide the education, psychotherapy, time, and one-on-one attention that a child in great need would require. Happy Single Mom of a Happy, Well-Adjusted Daughter

I had a baby as a single mom when I was 37, and I can tell you for sure there are some good things about being single that I did not hear anyone talk about. For one thing, the bond between you and your child is incredibly intense, and for another thing, you get to make all the decisions yourself. In that way it is much easier to be a single mom. I will also tell you that it is hard, and even after 7 years, although it got easier, it was still hard. But I get asked for parenting advice all the time, because my child is bright and thoughtful and kind and a complete joy on a daily basis. Having a child as a single mom is the best decision I ever made.

Every woman who wants to have a baby should get to have one-- it's too big a thing to give up because your circumstances aren't exactly what you wanted. Good luck to you. Lucky Single Mom

It can certainly be done as a single parent if you can afford it. It can even be lovely if you can afford it. My advice? Get a full time nanny. You cannot do it by yourself without substantial help. If you try to go at it and force the unwilling lover/partner/spouse to help, terrible fights will ensue, the likes of which you would never have imagined beforehand. And you WILL need pretty good, hands on help, especially in that first year and a half - not to mention the first three months. At the minimum you will want someone to help tidy up, cook, do dishes and laundry. It all sounds really minor, until you are the sleep deprived mama.

I don't know about the logistics of including a partner who never wanted the parent thing in the first place. Doubtless he will feel very excluded, all the more so because he is not the baby's father. He will just feel like you have found a worthier love object to replace him - and he would be right. You really will see him very differently after you have a baby, and probably not to his advantage.

Good luck to you. My experience taught me that having a baby surpasses any other kind of love you may have thought was deep. This is the ultimate. Anon

Dear Single mom by choice. It can be done and it's really hard. I had money in the bank, two college degrees and worked as a fairly high paid child care provider($25 an hour) After confirming with the agency that I worked for that working with a small child in tow wasn't an issue, I quit my totally wretched job only to find out I was more or less not hiring material as a pregnant woman.Mistake #1. I had pretty stellar credentials and I picked up a part time gig at half my salary, zero benefits and agreed to take a $2 an hour reduction in salary AFTER I had the baby. (because you need LESS money with a child?) Mistake # 2

I worked weekends at a local restaurant during my entire pregnancy so I had some disability $ for six weeks post-partum, however I went back to work 20 hours a week @ 2weeks. My sister lived with me and was some help when my son was sick or at night so I could work, I managed the apartment building I lived in. I didn't ''pay'' for childcare as I took my son with me. I worked 40 hours a week at $10 bucks an hour. I ran a 36 unit building including maintenance for another 20 hours a week in exchange for free rent. Most of that was done while my son was asleep or strapped to me. I didn't collect welfare or child support as my son's father wanted out the second I was pregnant. I used the childcare at the gym so i could work out 5 days a week for 90 minutes simply as relief. I had a car note and insurance and health insurance and little debt. I still managed to empty my savings($20,000) and wrack up about 5K in debt. My social life as far as dating was non existent and my only adult time was when my girlfriends, mostly childless, would hang out with us on a weekend day. If my son was sick I stayed home with him, of course not paid. Childcare is the biggest stumbling block for most people. Infant care can easily run $800 a month at a center. Private in home care or a nanny share can be more. Neither of my parents were retired and able to help with that area except an occasional weekend day when I took a class. I was 34 at the time, so not really a child. If you are completely ready to give up your life as you know it, then by all means. If you still hope to meet someone, date or have asocila life-not so much the right choice. realistic single mom

As you explore whether being a single parent is right for you and for the child you will raise, I urge you to consider, as another poster put it, what it will be like ''to raise a child, not ... have a baby'' and to think about developmental stages beyond age four or five. I am the single mother by choice of a now-15-year old. Before I committed to becoming a parent, I did the math: I would be in my mid- to late 50s when my child was a teen. But did I really understand how different I might be physically & psychologically in my 50s and (soon) 60s? What kind of stamina it takes to parent a teen? What financial resources are required if that teen goes off the rails - even a bit - and needs therapy or other special support? I did not. It's easy to imagine caring for an infant, a toddler, an elementary school child, protecting him or her from the world. But will you be prepared to parent that child when the person from whom they most need protection is him- or herself?

From the time my child's infancy, I have been blessed with wonderful friends who are also single mothers, and our kids have grown up together. But as we adults struggle with our teens' risky and frightening behaviors, we're all frantically bailing out our own leaky boats and can't be of that much help to each other. Both my child and I need serious support from many, many other adults: for me, to ward off emotional exhaustion; for my child, to get a break from me and for the love, support and guidance of other adults. If you have family nearby and/or a network of adult friends who are committed to sharing the parenting journey with you, then go for it. If you don't, start building what community you can now and make it as big and diverse a network as possible. In 12 or 13 years, you are likely to need it. I don't mean to discourage you, just urge you to think beyond the nursery. Could use an armada

In my mid 40's, considering single motherhood

Dec 2009

I have recently ended a relationship with a man, because, though we loved each other a lot, he does not want to have a family. I am in my mid-forties and still feel the intense yearning to have a family, but have not found a partnership that feels right to me. I'm considering single motherhood.

I am seeking advice on how to plan and organize myself to make this transition to single parenthood. I am wondering how other single women make this work in their lives. Is it crazy all the time or can it be fairly calm and organized? I would like to have a fairly clear picture of what questions I should be asking and what money I will need to continue working and caring adequately for my child.

I live and work in Marin. I make around $80k/year. Some people have told me that it is impossible on this amount of money. I am still paying graduate school loans and some credit card debt. I don't want to feel so stressed that I am passing that anxiety and stress on to a child. Could you give me some suggestions, helpful tips and resources that make the planning for a child successful?
With gratitude,
A hopeful single mom-to-be

Hello there,

I have been a single mom for 11 great years. Being a single mother is hard work, AND you can do it.

I hear you about the money concerns--and I can say that $80K per year is plenty of money. Don't let people scare you into thinking that is too little; maybe they aren't aware of individuals who raise their kids here on $30, $40, or $50K. I was an undergraduate and graduate student with my child, and managed on $30K a year for don't let the cost scare you. Marin has great schools, so you won't have to worry about private ones. You will be fine.

In the Bay Area, where there is a lot of wealthy ''entitlement'' and where there are a lot of opinionated people, you really can get brainwashed into thinking that your child will only survive if he/she has the best possible parenting with 2 parents, years of therapy, all the zillion-dollar baby gear, and private schooling. The truth is that most of us got here as adults without all of that and we are okay. Lots of people in our world get by without excess, and grow up to be healthy, happy, productive, and admired individuals. I think if you square your values solidly around having a happy, thriving family, you will be able to identify what you HAVE to HAVE, what would be nice to have, and what you can get by without.

The best advice I ever got when I was pregnant was that it doesn't cost a million dollars to raise a kid. If you have friends and family who can help and support you so you'll get some down-time (and who will also love your child), I say go for it. You won't regret it. EB

Hi, I'm not a single mom, or dad, and I can't believe how people do it given there are two of us raising our child. *HOWEVER* they do, and seem to be very very happy. My wife has 3 good friends (out of I'd say 7 or so) who have all gone the single parent adoption route, all from abroad. These friends all sound like you - well educated, not super-rich (or poor either), and want to give a child a life. From what I've seen I won't suggest its a bed of roses or easy, I think the most important thing is to have a group of engaged friends around you who can help when things go wrong. Best wishes. Anon
Dear Single Mom to be,
$80K is not too little money; 40 is not too old.

The hardest part about being a parent - and that's double for a single parent - is organizing your life so you can be 'there' for a child. That means 40% of your time goes for child-related everything - from buying diapers and arranging babysitters, to caring for a sick child, to getting baby/child/teenager fed and off to bed, arranging playdates, volunteering at school, etc etc. All that's not bad. It is just what comes with being a parent.

Get some resources lined up early -- a good babysitters list is worth its weight in gold, a teenager who can help while you make dinner, a good pre-school you get on the list for early (our family praises Step One in Berkeley), a pediatrician you like.

Enjoy your parenthood. mom at 45

First I would say that I was making a lot less than 80K when I got pregnant and managed to make ends meet. However, i didn't have huge debt at the time. Without knowing the particulars I would say you are making enough money to single-parent. That said.... It is incredibly hard to be a single/sole parent. Not a parent with a partner who doesn't live with you or even a single mom who got pregnant and didn't stay involved with the father of her child. I wouldn't change one single decision I've made but there is no denying that it's hard on me and it's hard on my child.

As a sole parent you are on 24/7, no real relief in site. Adoption and Donor sperm choices will both present their own challenges as well. I would never go back and my boy is the light of my life, but it's a complicated life path for sure. single mama

I'm sorry to be so direct, but aren't you putting the cart before the horse? Or did I misread your post? Do you have a child already? Of course you can live on 80K a year as a single mom. Many large families live on that and less. Good luck to you. anon
I've been a single parent since my daughter was about 2 1/2, though her father has always been very involved in her life. She's now 11.

I think that if you feel you really want a child, you should make that happen for yourself. There are many sacrifices to be made, and I recommend you get serious and realistic about your budget and figure out now how you can budget for child care till your child is ready to go to a free public school. Also, if you have family around who are willing and happy to be involved it will be an incredible help.

I would also suggest that you consider adopting a foster child, as there are so many children out there who desperately need homes -- even very young children and babies.

One more thing: For an extremely realistic view of what it's like to be the truly single parent of an infant, please read the wonderful book ''Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year'' by Anne Lamott. This is the best book I've ever read about parenting a baby. Lauren

Make sure you have some emotional support and logistical helpers as well (fam, friends, postpartum doula). While I'm not single, as a new mom I severely underestimated the demands of the first fewmonths (coming up on a year and simple things like sleeping and making sure I eat each day are still a struggle). You don't really know what kind of challenges may come with your babe till they show up. I've seem other really ''easy'' babies.... But as a momma of a nonsleeper, the emotional support has been key for getting through it. Good luck! It's worth it, even though it's hard work. Non single momma
The Sperm Bank of California and Single Mothers by Choice are great organizations for getting pregnant and for support. They give free, detailed information about donors (one guy: available Washed Inventory Dutch, Italian Fair, Creamy skin, Medium Brown, Curly hair, light brown eyes, 6' 0'', 155 lbs, O+ blood is the short info, more by opening a two page profile). They also were the pioneers of identity release donors, whose information is given to your child when he or she is an adult. We used them and were happy with the high fertility of our donor and with the excellent customer service. They're in downtown Berkeley. We have two great kids from The Sperm Bank of California.

Think of all the families who get by on your income for four people and then know you can do it. Don't let money stand in the way. - happy mama

I too decided to become a single mother after my ex-girlfriend and I split up. I make less than $50k. My son and I are doing great. It depends on a lot of factors. I'd be down to talk and share what my process has looked like if that would be helpful. teresa
You might find what you're looking for at AASK--Adopt a Special Kid. They offer a great deal of support and information throughout a child's life. A few of the children needing fostering/adoption are developmentally delayed, but many are not, they're just in special circumstances. To learn more, go to:

Being single is not a barrier, neither is your financial situation. I recommend you contact them and ask to attend one of their basic evening orientations. It's a safe way to dip your toe in the water and learn something. I did as a complete beginner exploring mid-life motherhood. It's a low-risk way to get some basic info--I was not pressured in any way or made to feel uncomfortable. ---Still exploring my options

Whether you are single or fully supported with extended family, it's NOT possible to be ''fairly calm and organized.'' At least not on a regular basis. One of the tenets of parenthood is that the chaos can be completely overwhelming, and with an infant you will be thinking in 20-minute increments. It's crazy and stressful. It's not perfect. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that something from your post tells me you want to do this. Being a parent has been most insane, life-changing thing I've ever done. It's a permanent change, and I've never regretted a moment of it, even though I've had moments of really learning how to withold the urge to slap my kid silly. I've reinvented myself on a regular basis (w/ an invent, every 2 weeks--7 yrs later, every 6-12 mo).

There have been times when I've almost longed to be a single parent, because then at least I would have no expectation of help (I don't get as much as I need from hubby)and nobody screaming at me b/c I can't fulfill his needs. When I was in a new baby group, we were in awe of the single mother by choice-she could do what she saw fit without consulting with anybody. It would be easier to be alone than to be cleaning up and organizing and planning while your husband flips TV channels. That said, it IS much easier with help, especially in terms of being able to go out w/o a babysitter, being able to participate in school (taking time off work, school things that assume 2 parents), or just being able to go out on a run Saturday morning (which is even hard as a married parent). But seriously, you'll figure it out. I think, if anything, you'll want to develop a network of friends/family--preferably close ones that will be happy to help with babysitting, and be closely involved. And cozy up to folks you respect who have younger children so it doesn't seem completely mysterious and overwhelming. But the good news is that, because you're on your own, you'll learn quickly to trust your own judgement. Especially since there's really nobody around to question you.

Hi- I just want to say that it is totally possible to be a single mom and be organized etc. I have two children that I have raised by myslef on a salary wayyyy less than what you make. You can do it easily with that amount of my money in my opinion. For me the hardest part of being a single mom has truly been the money part. I make about 50K a year, and with head of household, dependant care benefits etc. you have lots of tax savings. I think it would be incredibly sad to look back on life and be alone without children b/c you were scared it would be too hard.Many , many women do it alone even without planning to be alone they do end up alone and are able to raise happy healthy well adjusted children and themselves be happy. I bleive that this is somethign you have to go with your own gut on and not rely on others to convince you of one way or another. Women so many times don't believe in their own abilities to do what they want b/c of what others think, say or are ''supposed'' to do in a certain way. Good luck single mom and happy fine
I'm a single adoptive mama living in Berkeley on less money than you're making and also paying off debts. I'd say that the calm and the chaos come and go in waves for me but that overall I am so, so happy to be raising my kid. Sometimes it IS very hard and overwhelming, and sometimes playing on the (dirty) kitchen floor is the unexpected very best part of the day. I worry a lot and sometimes wish for a partner to just share the load-- worry, laundry, any of it-- but overall I would never trade my situation and hope most at the end of the day that my kid feels loved and cherished. Would I have more money and a ''perfect support system'' right nearby? Of course. But I am grateful for what I have and for the unexpected ways in which people have been supportive of my entirely impractical yet vital choice. I wish you the best. Happy single mom
I adopted as a single parent late in my 40s and have never regretted it. Yes it can be calm and organized, most of the time, in any case it's worth the effort! I do it on half of your income, since I work part-time so I can be home afternoons with my child. The most expensive thing about having a child alone is the cost of daycare. The hardest thing is feeling lonely. But you probably won't be single forever... which has different benefits and challenges! good luck to you
I don't think you'll get any responses from single parents who will say ''It was the worst decision of my life.'' It was absolutely the best choice I have ever made, and every single parent that I know will agree.

Don't worry about the money; you have plenty. 80K is a substantial income.

I haven't found it to be unbelievably difficult to raise a child from infancy. You'll just adapt to be able to do it. You'll will give up some freedom and things you like to do, but the trade off is immeasurably worth it.

In the planning of it, one of the things I did was to stock-pile vacation and sick leave so that I could take 7 months off at full pay. If your employer will let you do it, start planning now. If not, make sure that you have enough saved to get you through your maternity leave.

Good luck and God bless! Been there, doing that

hi, you can definitely be a single mom if you want to. but the nature of having young kids is chaotic for all of us. with your income, you'll need to watch your money carefully. family daycares are the most affordable, but i think are still around $1500/mo. you can get most of your gear used.

one challenge you might have if you want to have the baby yourself (as opposed to adopt) is fertility. you say that you're in your mid-40's, which are a challenge on average and have higher rates of downs and other chromosomal abnormalities. IVF is very expensive.

have you considered adopting a foster child? the state then helps you with health care, and some other parts.

bottom line: people do it every day with less, alone or with help. it's a big commitment but worth it if you really want kids. i say it's the best and hardest thing i've ever done. anon

I'm a single mother of a two year old. I also have incredible student loan payments ($1000 per month) and a mortgage, car payment, etc. with a decent but not excessive salary. Though the financial burden is tough, it is doable with some planning. You will need enough income to pay for childcare while you work. This is by far the biggest burden. The main thing is finding childcare that is loving and safe -- and that does not always mean the most expensive. If you have people around you who can help, by all means recruit their help, change your work schedule if you can to work from home more etc. I was usually paying between $600-1100 per month on childcare, just to give you an idea of the cost. As for reducing chaos, set a schedule and stick to it. Don't let other people tell you you don't need to be so strict with your scehdule. You do. You will need to get the baby on naptimes, which will allow you time to nap yourself, or do laundry or clean up. Have a good regular sleep schedule at night so you have time to yourself every night. The schedule may not always work to your plans, but it will get easier. Be prepared, you probably won't get much sleep for a while and you will marvel at how well you can function with little sleep! All of that will pass soon enough and it will get easier. I don't know who is telling you $80k is not enough money and what they are basing it on (private schools? Expensive strollers?). Kids don't need much in material things. If you have enough income left over every month for diapers and childcare, you will be ok. Have a baby shower, ask for hand-me-downs, and find cheap things on BPN. What always gets me is single mothers who are out there in legions raising 2,3,4,5 kids on their own. They are making it work in quiet, unfancy ways. I remind myself of that when I'm feeling tired, overwhelmed or sorry for myself. Good luck. You can do it. Don't let any of those fears stop you from being a parent. I had all of those fears but am so glad I ploughed through anyway. It's been the best decision I ever made! P.S. I adopted a foster child, a route to parenthood I would urge you to explore. There is a lot help there financially (no adoption expenses and some financial help as well as medical care). A Better Way in Berkeley is a great place to find out more. Good Luck!
I decided to go it alone two years ago -- absolutely the best decision I ever made. I can't even put into words how deeply fulfilled and happy I am. You mentioned money...that's easier to put into words. Cost-wise, I pay $1650/month for daycare, and $200-300 each month for diapers and food/milk. Preschool next fall will be slightly less than daycare, actually. I've been very fortunate to get a lot of hand-me-down clothes, so haven't had to spend much on clothes. I work 4 days/week and my life doesn't feel crazy or stressed -- but I do feel as if my days are incredibly full and busy. And the most banal things are sometimes the most challenging now: e.g., coordinating a trip to the grocery store is surprisingly tricky! I buy as much as possible online these days. Anyway, I would encourage you to try to attend one of the monthly ''Single Mothers by Choice'' meetings -- other women thinking about it attend, as well as those who are trying to conceive and those who already have kids. It's a great place to get a lot of other women's opinion all at once. There's actually a meeting this coming Sunday in SF. Don't know if there's a group in Marin -- probably is. There are also several books on single motherhood by choice -- browse around on Amazon or in a library to see what's out there. Good luck! happy single mom
I became a Bay-area single mother in 2007 after deciding to keep an unplanned pregnancy. When my son was born, I was making about $55,000/year and I now make about $70,000. Yes, it is do-able--yes, it is totally worth it-- no, it is not easy. These have been the greatest challenges:

--Childcare is a crazy expense in this area--I pay as much for childcare/month as for rent. In my case, I needed to find a roommate so I could afford good childcare, but that's turned out to be positive in unanticipated ways (beyond the $$$).

--Babysitting/support has been an issue. I don't have family close, but I do have very close friends nearby who also have children--I've had to get over my fear of asking for help and have had to learn to trust folks to draw their own boundaries!

I work in a female-dominated field, and have found my co- workers and bosses to be extremely accomodating and helpful--I am allowed to ''make up'' lost workday time at night from home, and that has been invaluable. You'll definately need some amount of flexibility at your job to make it all come together.

Yes, I'm happy. Yes, I'm dating. Yes, this was the right decision for me. Yes, I was terrified at first, but everything has changed because of my boy--and while my days are now PACKED to the limit, my tolerance has increased, my ''standards'' have become a lot more flexible, and I have so much more joy and wonder in my life! Fellow SingleMom

For great advice - See the Choice Moms website

Its for women who choose to parent on their own. There is lots of advice on fertility and choosing a sperm donor as well as adoption (I am a Choice Mom via adoption). You can also sign up for her Yahoo discussion groups which are really good for ''thinkers'' and ''Tryers''.

I think Mikki - she wrote the Book Choosing Single Motherhood and she runs the website - is going to be back in the Bay Area for another conference this year. I went to one 3 or 4 years ago and its great to meet lots of other women who are on the same path. SingleMominCA

I was a single mother (anonymous sperm donor) until my child was 6 years old, when I met my partner. Yes it's hard but it's so incredible to have a child that it's all worth it. I learned quickly to ask for help. Also there are support groups out there, I was a member of Single Mothers by Choice.

I was 42 when I gave birth, and I lived on less money than you make. The first five years are very expensive, childcare being the largest expense. Once your child goes to school, assuming it's public school, expenses go down a lot.

This is very doable, especially in the Bay Area, where there are many single moms and dads and many places to go for help. You can do this. Having a baby was the best decision I ever made. anon

38 and single, should I get pregnant??

Oct 2009

Hi everyone, I'm single and reaching the end of my childbearing years. Educated and smart but working for a nonprofit, so I don't have a big income. I'm in a wonderful relationship, but my sweetheart has decided he doesn't want children. Yes - I'm in that awful place of deciding whether to be an older, single, working mom, or childless in a relationship that otherwise fills me with feelings of being loved, being safe, being cared for (something that has been lacking for me most of my life).

I am worried as well of course about the risks of pregnancy at my age - I'm in great health but I think having a special-needs child (seeing my friends who do), without the emotional or financial support of a partner, would completely undo me.

I wonder if I would be happier keeping the relationship and sacrificing the gamble of having a child on my own.

I do know about Parents without Partners, but if there are single older moms out there who have two cents to offer (or older moms of any relationship status that can share about their pregnancy, birth and parenting experience, and about their child's health) I would LOVE to hear it.

Thank you all so much! 38 and Childless

Lots and lots and lots of us... and the numbers are only growing. When I became a ''single mother by choice'' it was a much more unique reality; not so at all in this day & age, in our area. You will defintely not be alone!

All of that said, it *is* hard, however. Good for you if you have a social support network set up (though many SMC's find that those relationships fall away or change significantly once you join the ranks of ''moms''). You'll likely need help of various sorts; doing it on your own is probably more-than-twice- as-hard as doing it w/ a partner.

But again, many of us do it. Look into the organization ''Single Mothers by Choice''; there are others (organizations) out there, but I believe SMC is the largest.

Good luck! SMC of a teen daughter

Whoa?! 38 is not a death blow! Even at 38 the odds of a birth defect are very low. I say have a baby - this guy isn't meant for you if you can't agree on a very basic issue (as it seems to be for you at this age). Two cents. Peanut Gallery
I am not a thirty-something single mom, but I am the twenty-something daughter of one who made a similar decision when she was close to your age.

Her story was more: she got pregnant, she was older, she was financially stable, and my Dad did NOT want her to have a baby at all. She decided she was going to keep me, and he and her went their separate ways.

We have talked at length about why this was a difficult decision for her, and how ultimately she knew she wanted to be a mother more than she wanted to keep her boyfriend. And she, much like you, knew her biological clock was ticking.

Granted, she got pregnant the old fashioned way, her situation was very similar. She was older and alone. But, her and I had the best life, and even though I know things could have been easier if she had a partner raising me, I wouldn't change a thing. We are still very close, the best of friends, and she is such an important part of my life. I know she has regretted many things, but having me was not one them.

If you know deep down that you want to have a baby, do it. You'll never regret listening to your heart. Oh yeah, and 25 years later, her and my Dad are back together. weird huh? daughter of a 38 and single

Dear 38 and considering single parenting...Ouch! I'm so sorry that you find yourself in this painful dilemma.

Great that you are reaching out for support, yet I think this is a therapy (or coach or spiritual advisor) worthy issue. (I wonder if couples therapy would be valuable, too, to look at how this is impacting the relationship, and whether there are any relational issues impacting your partner's decision.)

I would worry about your grief if you leave and your resentment about losing the motherhood option if you stay (I've seen this happen, especially when the rel. ended some years later and there was no going back to rechoose).

In any case, I suggest you check out Single Mothers by Choice as one way to explore the single parent life. there are also quite a few books out there now. And there are lots of us SMC's, many of whom still hope to find partnership, but aren't/weren't willing to lose the opportunity for childbearing or parenting through adoption. It's very hard to be a single parent, but I have no regrets about having decided to take the terrifying, wonderful leap! (Then again, I didn't have to choose to leave a relationship.) wishing you clarity

I gave birth to my first baby two years ago at age 40. I had a wonderful, easy pregnancy and a lovely straightforward home birth. My daughter is beautiful, healthy, and normal. I'm a doula and work with women primarily over 35, often over 40. While it's true that my clients are typically healthy, I'm not noticing a difference between my over 30 and over 40 clients in pregnancy, birth, and health of babies (it is very rare that a baby is not healthy in the population I work with). Betsy
I was in a similar situation at age 38 and decided I really had to have a baby. On some level I still feel bad that the man I was with, whom I really loved and wanted to be with, never changed his mind about wanting kids. But as luck would have it, I met the most amazing man who I married and had kids with very quickly and I am extremely happy. Remember that if you choose to have a child alone, you may not remain alone - single parents get married all the time. Anyway, the way I made my decision was to pretend I'd made it (either way works) and see if I found I was trying to talk myself out of it. Good luck to you. Mama
This is an enormous decision that you face. I hope that you get responses from women who have handled this type of situation in varying ways, so that you can hear many perspectives. I was 35 and very single when I decided to begin working on having a child on my own. I finally had that child, by a known donor, when I was 40 and still single. I am now 50. I LOVE being a mother and feel it was the best decision of my life. I have also been very fortunate: my son's ''donor'' has turned out to be a very active, dedicated, involved, and loving father (but not partner). I have many single friends and acquaintances who had children in assorted ways and don't know any who regret their decisions. One of my closest friends decided that having a child was more important to her than the relationship she was in at the time. She left the relationship and ended up having a child with a co-parent when she was 40. I also know a few older, childless-by-choice couples who are quite content. Several acquaintances and friends had babies well into their 40's, albeit often with assisted technology. I wish you luck with your decision! Anonymous
You'll probably get some real life advice but here's my 2 cents. I have a very supportive partner but even w/ that my first was very challenging. It's totally life changing yet wonderful too. If someone were to have a baby single I would recommend that they have either very strong family and/or friend support. People you can count on 24/7. Alternatively, have good financial means to hire help to assist in that first year. I think once you get through the first year it gets a tad bit easier to manage on your own but it's still a challenge. I had my babies at 36 & 40 so I wouldn't fret about your age at this point too much. If you delayed then you might run into some issues. Anon
When I was about 35, I was grappling with the same thing. My advice to you is to do what is best for YOU and not wait for the ideal situation. I was very close to getting sperm from a sperm bank. These days, there are all kinds of tests you can take to determine the health of your unborn child - of course they are not 100% but you can get a good idea of what your risks are. If it is meant to be, you will attract a partner to share both your and your child's life with, when it is meant to be. Meanwhile, I would think long and hard about whether to compromise my ultimate life goals based on possibilities. Take charge of what you can control - the rest will fall into place. As for me, I married at 38, got pregnant at 39, gave birth at 40. I had an amneosentisis test and blood tests. The surprising thing is that it took me over 6 months to get pregnant and while doctors were advising drugs and procedures based on low FSH levels - it turned out to be an unfounded reason for intervention, and I got pregnant naturally. But, I may have chosen a different path to having a baby and I know lots of people who do and there are many ways to make a family - do what is best for you! Optimist
You have several options to decide amongst. You can skip the child and stick with the relationship, have a child by your present partner with the understanding you will raise the child alone if he wishes not to particiapate. The hope there is he will come around and find he can't stay away. You can also find a new partner that like you wishes to start a family. But time is running out so you would have to be able to find somebody that matched you as well as the one you have now and get rolling. You could adopt a child to deter the fear of heath issues using your present partner to qualify but leaving him the opt out option as in the other option. Lots to decide upon. Having children is so wonderful. I was never sure about having them and lost a couple before my daughter, but now I regret not having more and couldn't think of having a life without children. Even at 55 I am still pondering at least one more. Good luck whatever you decide on. You sound level headed and have well thought out you situation and options. Time now to make a plan and carry it out. If you feel you need to be a mother than do so. I suppose you could even have a child and have it in foster care for a time until you are in a perfect place/relation to recover parenting, if such a wild idea is possible these days. Lots to decide on. Best wishes , a dad. anon
Girl, I have a feeling you're going to get a lot of responses.

It all comes down to this question: Which would you regret more, loosing a lover or not having a kid? Breaking up is hard to do, but having been there I'd say missing out on being a mother trumps that. You have no idea the love you're going to feel as a mother...its honestly the best.

I had a baby pretty much on my own at 37. I wasn't in a relationship with my babies father...our daughter was a miracle. He's not around so I'm raising our two year old daughter solo while working part time. Its hard work. I've gone four months straight without a break. We're totally broke all of the time. But you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. My daughter makes me whole and gives me a greater purpose that I have ever had. She makes me proud, excited, and able to appreciate the simple things in life. No man has ever made me feel that way.

I feel like men have more of a choice when it comes to parenting or not. Women sometimes cannot deny their biology. If your current partner is hell bent on missing out on life's greatest experience, then either let him go or stop using birth control and see what happens. You don't have to miss out because of him!! That's my two cents. Hope it helped. chandra

Well Im 20 and a young single mom but I do have perspective. You can do it. It is possible and it is rewarding. But there are many exhausting nights where you just need an hour of sleep and you can't get that. Your sanity can sometimes go out the window but children are wonderful. I guess you really need to take a good look outside and look at all the single mothers that are your age. Then take a look at all of the married women that are your age. My mom had me late and she says that the energy level is lower, and your easily tired. After childbirth you have a worry for the rest fo your life. They are your child. Often conflicts can arise that normally wouldn't with family . What I do enjoy about being a single mom is that I can make the rules. But there are the days when she goes to her fathers and end up playing in the toilet bowl. To summarize my random advice, I would say that for the childs sake, have somebody there even if its your cousin or mother.Children always need role models and just because they are yours doesn't mean they choose you. Think of the child, its not only you,you would be bringing a human being into the world, if you have enough love,time,and money. Go ahead.Goodluck Nehla's Mommy
Only you can make this decision, but I will share my own experience having kids with a partner at 39 and 41. I don't regret it but I had a hard time getting pregnant both times and had some serious medical complications. post partum, I love my kids and my family, but I could not imagine being a single parent and will fight and work hard to keep my marriage in tact. It's hard. I know people do it, but it is hard.

Also, when you talk about getting pregnant, I hope you don't mean to do it with your partner who does not want kids. I think this would be unfair because he would be tied to this kid no matter what and I think that would be very unfair.

I also think that having kids is not the end-all/be-all to fulfillment. No matter what you choose you'll always wonder how things would have turned out if you had opted for the other.

I love my children dearly. But, there are times when I worry about the fact that I had my kids at an age when I was really into self reflection, creating more art, making great money at my career. All that stuff has to take a back seat and that's tough and I worry about that. My career has suffered and I have no time for my own things. You need to be ready to give that up or understand that that will change.

Good luck. Having children is wonderful but it's not a requirement. I think you need to examine how you feel about your current relationship. I don't know if I would have broken up with someone who didn't want kids. I never could think of having kids in the abstract. anon

HI There- well I had a child with a man I was with when I was 30, things didn't work out...he was a deadbeat, I raised my kid alone without any support or involvement from him. When I was 37 I thought ''I really want another child and my time is runnign out'' so I got pregnant and had another baby at age 38. I have been single doing it alone and it isn't easy but I am able to do it and LOVE it.It was something that I knew I wanted no matter how hard it was going to be. I know that there are some women out there who would never consider having a child w/o a man, and forgo the experience b/c of that...which quite frankly I can't relate to. My maternal instincts and my independant nature I guess guided me in that direction. It sound like if you had a child then you would break up with your boyfriend however, who is to say you will be with him forever anyways, and then perhaps it will be too late ot have a baby. If you want one I think you need to start now b/c your odds of having a baby in the cradle really drop after late 30's a lot. Only you can decide that. It's not like a horrible thing to have a baby and do it yoru's a joy, it really is, and it's a hella of a lot of work and committment but if you want it you can do it. I did. good luck on whatever you decide. single mom and happy!
It's hard to be a single mom with a baby, and hard to be an older mom, and really hard to be both (speaking from experience). On the other hand, a friend who was in your situation chose the man; time went by, they split up, so now she has no man and no kid, but some regrets, I think. Cynically, I'd say you can always get a man, but you only have a few more years to have your own child, or even have the energy for a young child at all (if you opt to adopt). You might consider couples counseling to see if your man will reconsider, or if you're really all that compatible. If it's so important to you but not to him, what does that say? Or, maybe you will decide it's not so important to you after all. A good counselor might help make things more clear. --good luck!
This is something only you can decide. Never sure if I wanted a child I was really torn, but ultimately felt I could handle just one. I had my son at 41 and of course now wonder how I could have been really enjoying life without him! I have a nice income and could afford to raise him on my own, but I do have a partner which eases things a bit. Daddy is not the most supportive financially or emotionally to me, but he is great with our son....(I am the sole caregiver for the overnight shift - so a little like being single). And, I was blessed with an easy mellow baby - 14 months now and just a joy. But I too was terrified throughout pregnancy that I would have special needs, or a difficult child. You just can't know for sure what will happen. I'm happy with my decision and he is the most important thing now. I don't even really care too much if my partnership does not work out because I now have this child, but if you go that route you need an alternate support source (family/friends) because sometimes you do need a break or some help. Good luck. m
The circle of friends I met during my son's babyhood (age 4 now) includes several wonderful ''single moms by choice.'' There are SO many in the Bay Area, it seems. The women I knew made a well- researched, very conscious choice to have babies on their own in their late 30's-all planned carefully to build themselves financial and emotional safety nets, and career contigencies. Some adopted (county, fost-adopt, and private agencies), a couple got pregnant. One ended a relationship when the partner didn't want children-she's doing great with her son. They are some of the most well-adjusted, stable, resilient parents I know, by a long shot. If you adopt, you can ''choose'' (as much as anyone can-health can change) the level of health or other issues you feel prepared to deal with. Do they pine that they don't have a partner to share the joys and responsibilities with? Nah, not really-they are fully functioning families just as they are. All the best to you.
There are two great resources for you -- MAIA midwifery has a prospective single parents group that meets every two weeks. Also Single Mothers By Choice. 38 is really not that old to start trying or to have a healthy normal child! Lots of us are doing it. singleveganmama
This is obviously a very personal question and I have no idea what value your relationship with your boyfriend holds for you. I will speak to my own experience. I am a plastic surgeon with a busy career, a wife with a husband who is my best friend and a mother. By far, being a mother is my most satisfying and wonderful role. Not all women would feel this way. I knew I wanted to be a mother way before I knew I wanted to be a surgeon. As a young woman, I never thought I wanted to be married either, but I knew that when I was financially and emotionally ready to be a parent, I would have a baby. And that was that. It did not work out that way, I met my husband and wanted to raise a family with him, but I have no doubt that I would not have given up motherhood because there was no man in my life. Elizabeth Lee
I can't answer your overall question, but I can say that you're likely not too old to have a baby. I had my first son (and only) at 40. Although the birth experience was a nightmare (ending in C-section because the Kaiser midwives did not act like true midwives), having a baby is wonderful and he incredibly healthy and good-natured. If you're fit, as I was, and you're ready to care first and foremost for someone other than yourself (or your partner), having a baby is great.

We older moms definitely suffer from lack of sleep more than we would have in our 20/30's, but I find I'm so much more patient and sensible; I was really ready to become more house-bound and internally-focused. Everything takes a bit longer (often the birth itself, recovering your body afterwards - I still have my tummy & an extra 8 pounds, etc) but otherwise, there are a lot of us older moms out there. We're even contemplating a 2nd child - I'll be 43 if we do that.

I will say that raising a baby on your own is really tough; I have a partner and it was tough! It's nice to be able to hand off responsibility to someone else after a long day or night. Best of luck!

I was moved to write after seeing earlier responses. Most of them seemed to be about how the child made the respondents feel, enriched their lives, etc. I didn't see much that addressed the actual needs of the child as he or she grows. I prefer a functional two parent family. Gender of parents irrelevant, but they should be contractually committed to foster commitment and stability. Of course not all marriages work. My parents' certainly didn't. I thought hard, and decided that my priority would be to find someone I loved and trusted, and build a secure marriage; kids would be secondary. With a partner whose interests are aligned with yours, it is possible to have kids later, within reason. They could be from donor eggs. They could be adopted. I didn't get married until 6 years older than you are now. My kids don't look like me but call me mama. I adore them. anon
Being a single mom at any age isn't easy and often difficult financially. I had my first son at 34 and worked 3 jobs(2 nanny gigs and an apartment manager) He was with me 24/7. I opted out of seeking child support because his birth father-my long-term permanently uncommitted BF wanted no part of a baby. I met someone, had another baby @36 and got married. I did pre-natal testing both times because I didn't think I could deal with a special needs child.My boys are 9.5 and 7 and they are great.My marriage, not so much but my kids are happy so I'm taking one for the team. I had lunch today with three gf's who are childless by choice and just passing the 40 mark. All are either married or in long-term relationships yet none of them seemed vaguely enthralled with having kids as my 7yo tossed his cookies all over my kitchen floor today. It's an all or nothing deal so if you are conflicted maybe a little counseling is in order? My biological clock WASN'T ticking nor did I want kids, I was a nanny and all my warm fuzzies were fulfilled with other people's kids. I got pregnant due to birth control failure and chose to have my son. I don't regret a minute of it but it''s not for the faint of heart. Good Luck. mom to great sons
The ''SHOULD I get pregnant ?'' question is not something I can address, but ''HOW ?'' - - - ''HOW ?'' is also important.

As my children grew into adults, I watched as they and their cousins made choices about marriages, families, and how to be in their lives. Not everything worked-out as planned.

Some girl-cousins ''married'' just in time to have babies before their baby-clock alarm put them out of range to carry a baby themselves. Mostly, those marriages did not work. Years of nasty, expensive warfare over custody and money and who's-right/who's-wrong ensued.

One of my wonderful daughters, adopted herself, adopted children as an almost-forty well-established home-paid-off unmarried adult.

Another of my wonderful daughters, also an almost-forty well-established home-paid-off unmarried adult, chose to have biological children through sperm donation.

My other children are happy adults in long-term marriages. Some had babies, some didn't have babies; their choice for their reasons.

Both our single-moms have struggled with child-care issues, how to keep pace in demanding professions, and the loneliness of being a single parent - - - but there were no battles with a another parent. My daughters' children are not torn between disgruntled adults. These children with their single-moms are happy, well-balanced, well-traveled, sophisticated, and growing-up far too fast ! Loving grandparents

i did not see the original post... but i figure you don't have a bottomless pit of cash to pay for help, nor do you have a commune or kibbutz to back you up.

as a dad of college aged kids, divorced when kids were adolescents. i had full custody of kids, and made a very good living and it's REALLY hard work.

kids are a huge commitment and i totally understand sometime you just gotta make them. but, the romantic ideal that you can make this in an easy way is totally nuts! being a real single parent is very hard unless you have an amazing support system. if you don't have that backup/support system in place and stable for the next 20, lets stress TWENTY YEARS, your life will be hard. the woman who is 'taking one for the team by staying in a marriage for kid's support is a good example.

i sometimes think what life would be like without lids, maybe a bit more shallow? maybe a bit lonely? maybe i would have found some other passion to devote my life to...

the woman who took on kids with her partner at 40 something used her head AND her heart. i ask you to do the same. love does not conquer all peace, dad

Dear 38 and single, I have been a single parent for the past 15 years and have a perspective you should consider. Raising children in the Bay Area is extremely expensive. Unless you are independently wealthy, have a generous and local family, or genuinely supportive friends with no life of their own, you will be paying for childcare. Should you stay single, the reality is that you will be working to support you and your child, and paying someone else to spend time with that child. Please make sure you consider this if in fact it would apply to you. All the best. anon
I say go for it!! I am 31 and I am choosing single motherhood by choice. Becoming an SMC doesn't happen overnight so you will have plenty of time to think about it. If you're still in the Thinker stage there are subsets of forums just for you. Try Yahoo's Single Mother by Choice group, Choice Moms, the forums at, or the forum at Net54. There you will find support, encouragement, and you can read about some issues SMCs face that may be unique to our situation.

After talking with friends and family, it seems the biggest expense is daycare. You can use a home daycare, nanny share, or family to help offset that cost. Also, have a backup/emergency daycare provider in case the primary one gets sick.

I've had experience with Pacific Reproductive Services in SF and Rainbow Flag Health Services in Alameda, both were friendly and helpful. Best of luck to you! Right There With You

Pregnant Single Friend

Jan 2003

I need some advice for a friend. She is single and she just found out she is pregnant. She just moved to the area and recently got a good job. She has been wanting a baby for the past year or so, but not without a partner. I don't feel like I can give fair advice because I was single with my first pregnancy, but I had my sisters supporting me and I met and started dating my current husband while I was pregnant. She does not have a very supportive network here and she is terrified of being alone through her pregnancy and then beyond. She is already thinking of this pregnancy as a baby and though she is pro-choice, she does not think she can go through with an abortion. Do you have any advice? Either how to help her make her choice, or some resources for single pregnant women? seeking advice

I was in a similar situation as your friend with my now 3-year- old daughter. I lived far away (in Hawaii) from any friends or family (in California), and although I was with my daughter's father, having him around was worse than if he weren't around at all. Right before my birth, my friend flew in from California to give me much-needed moral and physical support, and actually helped me in the birthing room. Seeing as you're concerned enough about your friend to ask for advice, would it be possible for you to provide her with the support she feels she needs? Just one caring friend is enough, in my own experience. And while raising the baby by herself will be the toughest thing in the world, if she can handle that, she can handle most anything in life. FYI, I am raising my daughter by myself with basically no help from her father, going to school full-time and working part-time; she and I have the most incredible bond, and I don't regret having her for one second. A Single Mom
When I discovered I was pregnant and on my own, I found the following resources to be most helpful: doctors (my primary care physician, OB-GYN, and a family psychologist I quickly got a referral to), my family and close friends, and library books on single motherhood. Less helpful to me, but another possibility, are meetings of the Single Mothers By Choice support group (look up on the Internet or call Oakland Public Library). If she decides to go ahead with the pregnancy, I highly recommend she join a mother's group as soon as the child is born. The reference desk of a public library could also help her find contacts. Anonymous
Check out Single Mothers by Choice. There is an active Bay Area chapter, and a great list serv. The national website is I also just saw a group called Single Mothers - by Chance or by Choice - might be of interest but I can't vouch for them - Anon
Feel free to help her in ways she needs help with the pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and otherwise; but the decision on if she is going to keep the baby or not is entirely up to her, not you. If she is thinking of the pregnancy as a baby (rightly so) abortion is probably the last think she is thinking about anyway, pro-choice or not. ellia
I want to say, first, that I am pro choice so you'll know there's no agenda to my message. I think it might be helpful for your friend to schedule time with one of the open adoption agencies around. She will then be able to decide if this is a route she might consider. If she does, she'll get some of the support throughout her pregnancy that your family provided for you. If she doesn't decide to go this route, she'll at least have peace of mind that comes from knowing she checked it out. Anon Here are some internet sources. For helping make the decision: Kaiser has therapists for this, teh one I saw didn't turn out to be helpful. Planned Parenthood does this type of counselling and they certainly didn't steer me one way or the other, they were very sympathetic or empathetic or whatever they were supposed to be but I don't think they actually understood what was going on for me. It turned out for me that I had already made my choice and the pain and agony was assoicated with what losing what I had chosen against. If your freind would like to talk to me, post again and leave a number or post anonymously and I will post my number. anonymous female Berkeley resident
Has your friend considered open adoption? We have two kids through adoption and we are in touch with and visit both sets of birth families. There is a strong adoption community here that is supportive of openness as being best for everyone, and especially for the child. So far, we have found that to be true. There are many good agencies who help pregnant women consider this option in a supportive way. I recommend Adopt in Redwood City. anon
As a single mom, doing it with-out the dad, but with family and friend support, I'd say having my baby is the best thing i've ever done. I read some of the advise, suggesting that you tell your freind about open adoption options. I am pro-choice, but once I felt my baby's presence, I knew I would have her. I did not feel supported by folks who chose to tell me of my ''options.'' I'm an adult and I knew my options. It sounds like if your freind is choosing to go through the pregnancy, it is to have a baby. I would let her explore her options without suggestions and support her decision. By the way, being a single mom I have met some of the most wonderful men. My daughter is almost two, and I am in my best relationship ever. a single mom
If your friend is looking at the question of single motherhood, there are a few local chapters in the Bay Area of Single Mothers by Choice (a national group). Monthly meetings bring together single women with kids, those still pregnant, and those who are still in the ''considering'' stages or actively trying. They (we) are very supportive people - your friend could call me about details on how to get to a meeting. A list-serve is active and has useful postings too. Kate
I've been single since my second trimester, and while I wouldn't wish being left while pregnant on anyone, there are some great things about being a single mom that no one talks about. The main thing your friend needs to do is to connect with other pregnant women. They do NOT have to be single. Tell her to take a pre-natal yoga class, even if she thinks it's stupid, and join a birth class. The people she meets there are potential sources of help and support. The women from my birth class still do childcare for each other, more than two years later, and they were willing to take care of my kid with no reciprocation on my part, since it would have been harder for me to take care of two kids at a time than it would be for the two of them. After the baby is born, join a mom's group. Join two. Yes, the first year was hard. But it gets so much easier after that and while I wouldn't mind more help, I am in no hurry to share parenting with anyone else. Happy single mom