I read a question from an EP woman who clearly wanted to sleep with a man in order to get pregnant and have a child--because she was overwhelmed by the need to have a family.
I told her I thought it was selfish to do this and that the health and welfare of the CHILD had to be the most important thing--not her needs. She angrily replied that doing this was okay because there might be a bad marriage, or abuse, or something.
I tried to tell her that I had been raised by a single parent and that as the child in that situation you always feel that something is missing and wonder why your family is different than other families. Nothing moved her and it is clear she is determined to carry out her plan.
Yes, there are arguments for single motherhood: a) better to have a single happier mother than a married unhappy mother; b) unhappy marriages can mean child abuse; c) single mothers can arrange for a 'male presence' to balance out children's experience; d) women are better equipped to act as a mother and father; e) women are more nurturing, and better raise children to be more compassionate and egalitarian adults.
Here's my argument:
--people should wait until about age 30 to even consider getting married, and should be thoroughly prepared emotionally and financially
--you can't 'replace' a male presence any more than you can a female presence
--while women are needed more in the early development of children, fathers are needed more during teen years to properly protect and guide children toward adulthood
--children need to know how to make decisions that are a balance of emotions and logic, and not just the former where mothers tend to excel
--children need to incorporate a balance of masculine strength and compassion into their identities, something they can only do with a mother and father around
And, there are some alarming realities for families with only one parent:
Children who grow up with only one of their biological parents (nearly always the mother) are disadvantaged across a broad array of outcomes. They are twice as likely to drop out of high school, 2.5 times as likely to become teen mothers, and 1.4 times as likely to be idle -- out of school and out of work -- as children who grow up with both parents. Children in one-parent families also have lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations, and poorer attendance records. As adults, they have higher rates of divorce. These patterns persist even after adjusting for differences in race, parents' education, number of siblings, and residential location.
In addition single mothers are more likely to go on welfare, have self esteem issues, have alcohol +/or drug problems, and have employment issues due to an unsustainable schedule.
Fatherless daughters are particularly susceptible to a whole host of dysfunctional behaviors, especially in the teen and young adult years. This is well documented.
Do some women do this and have a ‘relatively’ good outcome? Yes, but there is no way to calculate the impact of a child knowing that his/her mother just ‘decided’ to not have a father in the picture has on that child, but we can be sure it's a negative one. Common sense says that, ‘I must not deserve to have a father’, would be a part of such children’s thinking.
In essence, women seem to feel that good intentions, and lots of supportive and loving words will be enough for fatherless children. But, study after study has shown that children need to SEE and EXPERIENCE their mothers and fathers interacting to develop a full sense of self. Words are not enough, period.
Even in this age of technology and 'flexible morality', a single mother's love is definitely not enough when it comes to raising a well balanced, happy, and healthy child. It may be wonderful, but it’s not enough.
I have compassion for women who haven't found a partner and are at the mercy of their biological clock, but creating an 'instant' family to fulfill this quite understandable desire is still not fair to the CHILD. No matter how we might imagine circumventing all the well documented disadvantages of single motherhood, it is just the wrong thing to do.
Women will counter that this is 'their choice', and that may be the biggest point; it is a CHOICE that has negative consequences, which one cannot undo—with any amount of therapy—once done.
I am the product of a single father. What I lost by not having a mother there is incalculable and unimaginably damaging.