Short answer: it’s entirely up to you. If anyone tells you it goes against the sanctity of marriage or some religious hogwash, then banish those people from your life. They probably weren’t adding anything anyway, if they are stuck in ancient beliefs.
However, that being said, it is your choice so you are also 100% responsible for the wellbeing of your child. Whether it be adoption or through fertilisation.
That wellbeing will depend on a number of factors that you -and you alone- will be responsible for. A couple of those could be financial wellbeing, emotional support, physical wellbeing, education, social behaviour, reward and punishment, …
If having a child as a couple is stressful, it is double that for a single parent. I’m not talking about children after divorce, they still have two parents. I’m talking about you and you alone creating or adopting a child.
There has been a significant rise in single parenthood and studies have shown that children raised by them are doing really well. If anyone wants to talk you out of it, let them read this article.
What do you need to consider for yourself first?
Are you financially able to support a child alone?
This is a question that any adoption agency will ask you as well and it’s pretty hard to prove that you are, without a large stack of cash to wave at them.
Truth is if you are currently having issues making ends meet you should not be adopting or bearing a child at all. There is no reason to push an innocent life into potential poverty, dragging yourself along with.
I would say you’re in the safe zone if you can afford to spend double the amount that you are right now. So if you’re on average spending 1000$ a month now, you should be able to scale that up to 2000$ without any issue.
Having a child is always a heavy cost and even though you will get some government assistance, the bulk of it will come from your paycheck. Which also means you will have to work full-time to keep it up. Unless you are rich, in which case just go for it.
Some very common costs that you must carry alone
- Food & Drinks
- Clothing (this can really add up as they grow)
- Increased utility bills
- Gifts/Seasonals (birthdays, x-mas, …)
- Hobby / Fun / Entertainment (tv, laptop, games, books, instruments, …)
Don’t read that list and think “maybe my parents can help me with that” or something similar. This is an exercise in seeing whether you can cope with handling everything on your own.
So be very honest with yourself and consider your finances in a very neutral way. Don’t THINK it will be fine, write it down, calculate it and verify it. There is a potential life depending on your honesty and integrity.
Are you emotionally ready to become a single parent?
Everybody with children will tell you that it’s taxing. The joy they bring may be greater than the work put in, but it’s still going to give you stress and fatigue.
Those things can weigh heavily on the mind. That’s why couples often rely on each other to take over as one party recovers mentally. When you’re raising a child alone, this becomes harder to do.
Sure there are alternatives to give you some much needed alone time, but they all depend on either paid third parties or willing friends and family members. In other words: you won’t be sure whether you can get some time off when you really need it.
And then there’s the part of dealing with other people’s prejudices about single parents. There are still [insert cuss] people who refuse to believe that relationships, marriage and being a parents aren’t obligations. They are choices.
They will confront you with their irrational beliefs in many ways. Either directly through verbal means that are wildly offensive, in a shameless manner. Or even worse, they will be talking behind your back about the choices that you made and try to put you in a bad daylight.
This is another thing that requires a strong person to deal with alone.
Also, don’t worry too much, I’m giving you the worst of the worst here, in reality, it probably won’t be that bad – probably. Again, if you’re feeling anxious while reading the possible negative sides, you need to think hard about the choice you’re about to make.
Is having a child more important than having a partner right now?
If you’re absolutely, 100% sure that you will never get married or want to be in a relationship but you would love to raise a child, then skip this section.
If you’re feeling a biological clock ticking and you just want a child a.s.a.p you probably should take a step back and think about the reason.
Is it more important to you to have a child first and then potentially a partner later on? Or is it worth waiting to find a partner first and then having a child together?
This is a tricky question without a single doubt because there’s no right answer. There are no certainties you’ll find that right partner any time soon and you may miss your chance to conceive. On the other hand, raising a child as a couple is easier to pull off and maybe worth the wait.
Another good thing to think hard and long about, don’t skip it.
Do you want to conceive or adopt?
For you men reading this: you can’t get pregnant. Or at least not without severe medical risks. You can, however, talk to a surrogate mother who will carry the child until birth and then disappear. This still gives you the advantage of DNA, as opposed to adoption.
For the ladies, you will need a donor if you want to give birth. These are unanimous and you will never come into contact with them. They are also screened and you can be sure of the quality. That being said there is always a risk that the fertilization is a dud and needs to be tried several times, which can have a severe emotional impact.
In either the case of surrogate mothers or IVF, you are opting for a 50% DNA option. Your child is in other words as close to natural birth as possible, no matter what fanatics claim.
Now consider adoption for a moment. Now we are talking about an unfortunate child that had all its chances taken away by sloppy parents. They probably never considered the things I was writing about earlier.
You have the opportunity to save an innocent human being from certain disaster. Kids that are raised through orphanages and have to hop from foster home to foster home don’t have the same positive outcome that a child that grew up in a loving home has.
If you have the option to choose between artificial conception and adoption, I would implore you to consider both. Here’s a link that will give you more information about adopting as a single parent.
Do you have good external support?
If you’ve read everything up to now, congrats, and we’re also done with trying to scare you. Nobody can or should do everything on their own, they should just be capable of doing so when the need arises.
So talk to your friends and family before making the decision and listen to what they have to say. Answer all their questions honestly and make a fair assessment of their ability to help you out if needed.
Because you won’t be having a lot of spare time, your friends should also be made aware that you won’t be going out or seeing them as often as you did when you were just a childless single.
Most single parents will often turn towards their own mothers and fathers for support, as that is the natural flow of generations. Most of those singles are also receiving enough aid to be able to cope.
Friends and family should be your first targets for all kinds of support. After that come the government and private instances.
Two examples of why you need people on the ready
Example 1: Say you are at work and there is an impossible to miss business meeting coming up very soon. Suddenly your phone rings, it’s the kindergarten saying that your child is very sick and needs to go to a doctor as soon as possible.
You are, however, far away and currently unable to leave your job. You need someone who can go to the kindergarten and even immediately go to the doctor.
Example 2: The reverse scenario. You are stuck in bed after you broke your leg. You tripped over one of your kid’s toys (ye I went there) and are not unable to walk around and do your normal chores.
You need someone who can actually come over to your place, take care of both your and you. On top of that, the helping hand preferably would assist in the chores.
What to make of all of this?
It’s really, really, really simple:
If you can financially handle raising a child and you are completely fine and confident in your abilities as a single parent, you should just go for it. Adoption or semi-natural means, it doesn’t matter, you will enjoy it every minute.
Never let anyone talk you out of it because it doesn’t fit their view of the world.
You make your own world and you create the best possible one for your child.
Luckily times are changing and the old stigma will eventually fade.