When you think of single parenting by choice, do you think of a one-child household? In my experience, most people do. The trope goes something like this: A successful woman has always wanted to become a mother, but can't seem to find her Mr. Right. She's strong, brave and ready to go it alone—so she becomes pregnant. In the end, she has her baby, is finally a mother and all is right with the world. She may even find her perfect partner some day down the road.
This story isn’t one I mean to poke fun at—it’s entirely valid and a reality for many people. However, when partnered women have their first child, it’s rarely assumed that they’re only going to have one. But a one-child family seems to be the expected norm for single-moms-by-choice.
Women who choose to become single mothers tend to be a bit older. But when I decided to become a single mom at 29, age wasn't a deciding factor. It was more about health and resources. When I was pregnant with my now-almost-five-year-old daughter Anna, I realized I'd eventually want a second baby. I just felt intuitively that this wouldn’t be the only time I experienced pregnancy. When Anna was about 18 months old, my urge to get pregnant again intensified. But given that I didn't (and still don't) have quick access to methods of conception, I couldn’t easily act on the urge. So eventually, this strong desire settled down to a more manageable hope lurking at the back of my mind.
When I consider having another kid—which I very much want to do—these are my three main considerations:
My health: I have endometriosis, for which I had surgery before attempting to get pregnant the first time. I got lucky that time, but have no idea how much it’s come back, or how it could affect the possibility of my getting pregnant again. I take medication that helps the pain a lot, but I'd need to go off it for a few months before trying to conceive again. Not having this medication to regulate my pain would be a big deal.
Money: I don’t think babies need to cost what they often do, but diapers and daycare (and formula if you’re not able to breastfeed) are expensive. I had a stable job when I got pregnant with Anna, but I don’t have one now.
“The ingredients”: As my daughter says, I’d need some “ingredients” to make another baby. Would I go the same route as last time (at-home insemination with a known donor)? Who would be my donor this time? What would be the pros and cons of having a different donor? Would we need to do legal contracts again? And so on. This process was not quick the first time and is an ongoing thought process.
There are other considerations, too. I think about how good my daughter is now with babies and younger children—but this wasn't always the case. And I remember a period in my life when I was quite depressed, so I took the thought of having a second child temporarily off the table. I knew I wasn’t in a state to make any big life decisions.
I don't want to rush into anything. But now that my daughter is already going into her second year of school, it’s hard for it to not feel pressing.
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