Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re considering pursuing motherhood without a partner.
You are probably in a place where you never imagined you would be. Single, and probably on the wrong side of time as far as your fertility is concerned. Motherhood is something that we often presume will just happen. It seems to be the most natural thing in the world, yet for many, it’s just not that simple.
It can be a very confusing, disappointing, sad, stressful and lonely place to be. I know because I have been there.
So you’ve started thinking about going for it alone. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about it already for many years. From my own personal experience, and also from the many women that I’ve worked with as a Motherhood Clarity Coach, the path to solo motherhood can be an emotional roller coaster.
There are many different emotions that come and go when we’re in this space. Coping with these feelings, including disappointment, doubt, sadness, and isolation, can severely get in our way to finding the clarity that is needed to make a decision, one way or the other - will I give it a go, even though I’m scared as hell. Or, will I decide that solo motherhood is not for me, and get on with my life with clarity around that decision?
If there was one word that I would use to summarize the internal chaos on this path, it would be overwhelm.
This is why it’s so difficult to make the hard decision of pursuing solo motherhood. We are so overwhelmed.
Overwhelm leads to procrastination, to doing nothing. This in turn leads to anxiety, exhaustion, and even depression. This roller-coaster of emotions, combined with the new reality that you are faced with, it’s no wonder that making the decision to pursue solo motherhood is probably the most complex, and painstaking decision that you will ever make.
From the time a woman begins to contemplate the idea of solo motherhood, to the time that she firmly makes a decision to try, or not, can be long. For many women, this may be anything between 3 and 10 years or more. For me personally, it took over 10 years, until I took the first step to try and make my dream a reality.
From procrastination to clarity
Getting to a point of clarity is usually a long road and arduous road.
So how do we get to that stage of clarity? This is different for every woman. Here are some insights I’d love to share that may help guide you towards clarity, as well as manage the overwhelm that is common.
Think of this as a new journey you are going on. It will be an emotional, as well as a practical discovery voyage. Get a dedicated notebook and write down your feelings. Journaling will be so helpful to get thoughts, emotions, any insights, relevant conversations or discoveries, out of your head. Even if it seems pointless at the time, this is very valuable as it will help you get clearer with time.
Solo motherhood, while much more commonplace now, remains a “road less travelled”. This poses more uncertainty, therefore more questions, and fear, than the “conventional” route to motherhood – ie with a partner. It’s therefore really important to get some support. Explore who can best support you on your journey. A good coach, or counsellor / therapist, who can help you figure out your own best decisions along the way, will be valuable. Somebody who has walked the path before you will be in a good position to support you.
The time will never be perfect. You may believe that you need to have certain things in place before you seriously consider it. However, bear in mind that if you wait for the “perfect” time, you may never even try.
Re-framing the reality into a more positive light, is so important. It is easy to get caught up in the many negative feelings around the idea of solo motherhood, yet there can also be many positives to consider. For example, many women believe that they will never meet a partner once they become a solo mother. Yet you may well be more attractive once you have your baby! You are no longer waiting for the right person to share your dream, you don’t have a “baby” agenda anymore. You no longer need to have “that” conversation. Instead, you are a woman who knows her own heart and mind, and has had the confidence and courage to pursue your most important dream. The right person may come along later.
This is a deeply personal journey, involving the most personal of decisions. Be mindful of sharing what is on your mind with others. Do not look to anyone else for the answers, because you really need to dig deep here and figure out what the best decision is for you. Only YOU know what you are capable of, and how important your dream is. This is your life, and your decision. Again, get the right support.
The right qualities for solo motherhood
What are the qualities needed for solo motherhood? In my own experience, as well as through my work with women contemplating this path, I believe that there is one thing that we all share – a deep longing to be a mother. Many people have told me that I’m very brave. I think that I have always been adventurous rather than brave. I have always tried to follow my heart. It does take courage to follow our heart, in anything in life. It can be challenging to find the clarity we need, to know what our heart is telling us. Yet, when that clarity is found, courage will follow, as well as the confidence to feel positive, excited, and even empowered, about the decision. Fear and our comfort zone It is always scary to get out of our comfort zone. Yet it can be very exciting too. Ideally, a healthy dose of fear, mixed with excitement and hope are the best mindset ingredients you will need as you decide to go for it. Is solo motherhood for you or not? Only you know the answer. Intuition, wisdom and clarity What I do know, is that once you can connect with your own deepest wisdom, you will learn to trust your intuition. You will learn to know when fear is there to help keep you “safe” in your comfort zone, and when to lean into the fear and move through it, to reach for your dream. Maybe this dream is worth pursuing, even though the path you take to get there is different to the one you had always dreamed of. Or maybe after deep and honest reflexion, you will decide that solo motherhood is not for you. Either way, making a decision will allow you to live your life, and be at ease with where you are. I believe that living a life full of regret, of “what ifs” is not a fulfilling and peaceful way to live. What path will you take?
Wherever you are on your path – whether you are starting to think about solo motherhood, or you’re further along the path and you have even made the decision to give it a go but you are still feeling overwhelmed – I would love to support you. I know how lonely it can be.
Please get in touch for a free discovery consultation. I would love to hear from you. Confidentiality, compassion, empathy, non-judgement, and understanding guaranteed.
About the author
Kerry White is a Motherhood Clarity Coach, supporting women who are contemplating pursuing an alternative path to motherhood.
She is also a Workplace Wellbeing Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, Shiatsu Therapist and Yoga Teacher. Kerry is especially passionate about supporting women feel well on every level - physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.
Read more about Kerry's story here.