PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Single mothers are not often single by choice.
Through divorce or an unexpected separation, they have to face the reality of raising children alone. But things are changing. More single women in their 30s and 40s are choosing to become mothers, regardless of whether they have a partner.
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times. Successful women like Stephanie Barbour and Summer Hibard are refusing to settle, just because they can.
“I just wasn’t finding the right guy,” said Barbour.
Barbour is a local pharmacist and decided she no longer wanted to wait for the “right man.” That decision, though, wasn’t easy.
“What I didn’t want to happen was I wait until 40, meet the man of my dreams, go to get pregnant and [learn] I can’t get pregnant,” Barbour said.
That was when she decided, in spite of the stigma that exists against single mothers, to become a mom. Later, she gave birth to Donovan.
Barbour said she doesn’t feel alone. She’s surrounded by a growing generation of women who are becoming single mothers by choice.
Another woman, Hibard, froze her eggs a few years ago. Now at 38, she’s going through in vetro fertizilation (IFV)
“I got pregnant in October 2016. It was my first round of IFV, and I was very excited. [I] had a due date, June 23, 2017, and it didn’t work out. I miscarried at [nearly 10] weeks, much to my surprise,” said Hibard.
The disappointment isn’t stopping her. It’s that kind of determination that’s setting these women apart.
Dr. Paula Amato at OHSU said that’s because women are now more independent economically and socially.
“The data supports more women are choosing to have children alone,” said Amato. “One, it’s become more acceptable in society, and two, marriage rates have gone down.”
This idea of needing a partner to start a family is no longer an expectation they’re willing to sacrifice for.
“I don’t want to settle for just whatever comes by, just to make this work,” Hibard said. “Does that cut down on the number of potential partners? Yes it does. And that’s life.”
More information: Single Mothers By Choice