Becoming a single mother by choice, through artificial insemination, adoption, in vitro fertilization, or other means, is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. Find out if you're really ready to become a single mother by choice with these key questions:
1. Who Are the People Who Make Up Your Support System?Before you even start the process of becoming a single mother by choice, you need to know with certainly who will be a part of your support system. Who are the people you can call upon in the middle of the night, with whom you can be completely honest about the ups and downs of bringing a child into your world?
2. How Are You Financially Prepared to Become a Single Mother by Choice?Many single mothers don't have the opportunity to reflect beforehand on whether they're financially "ready" to have a child, but you do. How much do you anticipate raising a child will cost every month, and are you currently bringing in enough money to cover those additional costs, plus unexpected expenses, such as medical bills?
3. How Are You Logistically Prepared to Become a Single Mother by Choice?Think about where you live. Do you have room, where you are currently, to provide living space for an additional person? And what about your schedule? Can you logistically handle either taking a leave of absence from work, or making child care arrangements so that you can continue to earn a living?
4. What Strengths Do You Already Possess That Will Enhance Your Role as a Mother?What about you already makes you an excellent candidate for successfully raising a child? This is important to think about, because there may be times ahead when you'll wonder whether you were really prepared, and being well-versed in your strengths will put your mind at ease and help you apply those same qualities to the challenges you face.
5. What Weaknesses Do You Need to Watch Our For?As human beings, we all possess weaknesses that can hinder our ability to be patient, loving, and self-sacrificing. Knowing up front what to watch out for will help you compensate for your weaknesses and begin the work of turning them into strengths.
6. How Have You Handled Stress and Pressure Well in the Past?Because parenting can be extremely stressful, it's important to know how you're wired to handle stress. Do you panic? Buckle down and apply yourself more fully? Shut down? Think about those times in your life when you've handled stress extremely well, and explore how you might transfer those growth experiences to the experience of becoming a single mother by choice.
7. What Calms You?Make a list of five things that soothe you. It might be taking a bath, reading a book, or talking with a friend. Think this through ahead of time so that you can plan to incorporate some of these calming activities into your life. Taking care of yourself in this way will help you be more present with your child and handle stress more effectively.
8. How Do You Envision the Involvement of Your Family and Friends?Do you want them to be very involved? Marginally involved? And how do they feel about their potential involvement? These are issues to discuss now, before you're in the position of facing unmet expectations. Similarly, if the child's birth father is in the picture (as in the case of a donor you know), what kind of role will he play in the child's life?
9. What Do You Imagine Will Be the Most Difficult? How are You Preparing for That?There is tremendous power in walking through situations you imagine will be difficult, and visualizing yourself handling them in ways that are proactive and effective. Take some time now, before you officially become a single mother by choice, to glimpse various situations you believe you will face, and picture yourself handling them well.
10. How Will You Respond to Questions Regarding Your Decision?Finally, there will be times when other people present questions that come off as rude or invasive. How will you handle those situations? Will you respond with words, or ignore them? And how might this change as your child grows old enough to grasp the content of what is being said? Thinking through your thoughts on this matter now will prove to be an asset down the road, when you're fully embedded in your role as a proud single mother by choice.