I have a child. I had the child by myself. Not in the ‘we all die alone’ sense. But in the ‘I want to have a baby so I am going to make that happen’ sense. The ‘I may be on my own but I can make life more the way I want it to be’ sense.
I was single when I conceived one evening in a very nice doctor’s office. I was single when I gave birth and I remain romantically unattached. But I feel false when I declare myself to be a single mother. I am a single person, but a solo mother. Single mother somehow suggests the slight trampiness of a ‘mistake’ or the slight tragedy of a break-up. Neither of these things happened. I just chose to proceed. Solo. A solo voyage.
There are five solo mothers in my address book and two more going solo almost as we speak with many, many more considering it. This is the crest of the wave. We are about to be everywhere. Not lesbian couples. Not gay men using surrogates. Just women – sexuality put entirely aside for now – choosing to override romantic circumstances in favour of parenthood. For now, I stress. For now. This isn’t a spinsters-with-kids club.
We need to claim the phrase. Solo Mother. It needs to belong to us because we have made a big, bold, brave, beautiful choice. These babies are the opposite of accidents. They didn’t happen to us. If anything we happened to them.