15 Jan

I have recently joined a support group called Solo Mums by Choice (SMC) Australia. This is a community of women and their children who are at different stages of the conscious sole parent journey. While most members have chosen to use donors, others are looking at or have become mothers by adoption or other means. Currently there are about 400 active members.

I don’t know what took me so long – it is brilliant. There’s nothing like talking with and learning from women who have gone through or are currently facing the same challenges as yourself. The members of this group have been very welcoming and super supportive so far.

Today I met with one of the members for brunch. A real live woman embarking on a similar journey!

Choosing to be a single parent can be a lonely journey. There is always the gap of that ‘significant other’ and varying thoughts, feelings and doubts can play havoc with the solidity of your decision. Sharing experiences with other who can relate is so important and helps assure that most of these ups and down are natural and not out of the ordinary.

This new found support has led me to contemplate the other supports I have around me.

I moved to Sydney with my ex 6 years ago now so most of my long term friends and family are interstate. Fortunately, I do have some really lovely friends here who are immensely supportive and I am so grateful. And my ex is still a very good friend and very supportive too. I am very lucky. These people are my chosen family and I love them very much.

But the truth of the matter is – they have their own lives, own families and other friends. And like me, they are busy people. I love it when people (especially counselors) ask in a very concerned tone “Do you have enough support around you?” Of course they mean well but realistically the support declared by friends today may not exist tomorrow for a variety of reasons. This is life. And so many couples set off to have children together and by no direct choice of their own, they find themselves going it alone.

And there is the issue of asking for support! I’ve always come across as someone who can just cope and get things done for myself and that is mostly true. I also however find it hard to reach out and ask for help and often don’t like to burden people with my own issues or woes.

My darling ex used to ask all the time for me to be more vulnerable and let him help. It has been such a battle for me to do this. Fortunately, it is so much easier for me to be vulnerable these days but asking for and accepting help is still a challenge.  I love the quote from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte “Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves”. I agree and I definitely do not see pride, in this context, as a virtue.

I know how fortunate I am in that if I reach out and ask – there are lots of people in the world that love me and wouldn’t hesitate. Half the battle though is actually ‘knowing’ what kind of support to ask for. When going through IVF I have no idea what I will need. Distraction, a shoulder to cry on, company or pep talks!? I shall put the question to the SMC forum.

That’s the exceptional beauty of SMC. The forum is full of women who understand completely what you are going through. It really isn’t necessary to over explain things as there is bound to be someone who has faced the same issue before you.

And it’s nice to be part of a caring community.

If you are thinking about becoming a single mother by choice, check it out. I shouldn’t have waited so long myself.


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