Are you a woman who does not have a supportive partner in the picture to speak of, but you nevertheless want a child in your life more than anything?
Then head over to Amazon.com and check out Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood (1997) by Jane Mattes.
It's the very first handbook of its kind for women in the United States who are contemplating bringing a child into their lives without a partner. It's written by Jane Mattes, who is the director of Single Mothers by Choice, a national organization for women who chose this lifestyle.
Mattes' book is not just a guide for those considering the lifestyle. It also helps women untangle the issues that will arise once they've finally taken the plunge, too. Arguably the most helpful part of this book, however, is the appendices that list heaps of tools and resources for single moms all over the country. There are lists of local meetings for single moms by choice, information about the mentioned national organization for single moms, sample legal agreements, further readings, and more.
What to Expect Under the Cover
Single Mothers by Choice is packed with loads of technical goodies for single moms who chose the lifestyle. It answers all the questions moms may have in great detail, starting with issues pertaining to adoption – open or closed, US or foreign, and other problems that single mothers must solve to get their babies into their arms.
The adoption issue segues into the second part of the book, which deals with what you should expect when you choose to be a single mother. For those who had a baby naturally, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum issues are explored, including how to deal with going through those first few weeks at home with the Baby alone.
Then, the book delves into what it calls “The Daddy Issue,” a chapter devoted to dealing with problems and concerns that surround a missing father figure. Such topics are discussed for preparing for questions about an absent daddy, what to do when a toddler starts asking about daddy, and questions about dad at later ages, stage by stage. This is a fantastic addition to the book because it helps shed light on the different ways the situation should be approached depending upon the gaining maturity of the child in question.
The Daddy Issue doesn't stop there, however. It also talks about how to deal with the logistics if you happened to conceive your child with someone you know – whether or not they're in your life now. There are also special concerns that the book addresses for mothers who have elected to conceive their child using a sperm donor. Daddies are important for children, but the absence of one is not detrimental to a child's development. That's why the next chapter looks at special child development issues for children of single mothers by choice. There are separation issues to consider, understanding the importance of a man in a child's life, and ways to discipline with only one parent on board.
The final two chapters tackle legal and moral considerations. The legal chapter discusses what to do if the father knows about the child, how to handle the situation if the father does not know about the child, and inheritance rights. There is also an additional section especially devoted to the many different legal aspects of adoption that a single mom will encounter in her life.
Finally, there is a chapter about social life, the all-important missing element in any single mother's busy existence. Married moms know just how hard it is to get a break in order to go out with their friends or go on a date with their partner, but the fact remains that they have a partner there to fill in time so they can have some fun.
This is a luxury that single mothers simply don't get in their lives. That's why this chapter concludes the book – because giving time to herself is the only way a single mother will be able to stay sane, no matter how much she loves her children. The chapter covers the single mother's social life with other adults and with other parents and children. It also talks about dating and considerations she must make if she decides to marry down the line.
Real Women Talk about the Book
Women who have reviewed this book on Amazon.com have raved about its applicability to their specific situations. For example, one woman pointed out that she thinks anyone who is considering becoming a single mother but feel like they can't entirely make the leap, this is the right book to read.
She says that the book offers many positive aspects of single motherhood even without the right person in the picture. It's a helping hand, a window into what to really expect if single motherhood is chosen. She says that the book makes no bones about the fact that some situations are difficult – and often times painful – but that simply goes with the territory. She was pleased because the book presented the problems alongside solutions instead of the problems alone.
Another woman who reviewed the book said that she was happy that it was so easy to read. For her, it told stories to which she could easily relate – that's something she said she couldn't find in other guides on the market today for single mothers by choice. The best part, she said, is that the book comes complete with a list of local support groups for single mothers by choice in many major US cities. She also noted that this was the only book she could find about deciding to become a single mother as opposed to just being one.