How Do You Know If You Should Have a Child on Your Own?

How Do You Know If You Should Have a Child on Your Own?

The Real Housewives of New York City's Tinsley Mortimer is 43 and the clock is ticking. 

By Marianne Garvey

Tinsley Mortimer is in a really tough spot. She's broken up with boyfriend Scott Kluth, but she's also trying to figure out if she wants a baby. The thing is, she's 43. And although she's frozen her eggs, there's no guarantee that will work. As Bethenny Frankel says, "Not everyone is Janet Jackson and Halle Berry" (aka who can have a baby later in life).

When The Real Housewives of New York City socialite had a lunch with Bethenny and Ramona Singer, the point was raised that if she wants a baby, she needs to forget the man. That's not what Tinsley had in mind, so what is she supposed to do? (The ladies remind her that even waiting six months at her age will work against her.) Even her mom is willing to help Tinsley out and help pay for a surrogate and care for the baby. (Watch in the After Show clip above.)

Experts say the hardest thing about having a baby alone is actually making the decision to do it.

Dr. Carrie Gottlieb Ph.D., who has a particular interest in family building and infertility, told Personal Space it's a complicated decision for many reasons, so there are many places that you can turn to for support. 

"Being a single parent is a wonderful route towards building a family, but certainly can be complicated. Parents-to-be can gather a lot of support and information from other single parents and can learn about their journeys, concerns, and obstacles," Dr. Gottlieb said. "There are active single mothers or fathers by choice groups that operate online and in person and can be a great place to start. A skilled therapist can be helpful in providing support and guidance to individuals thinking of taking this step. Issues such as potentially mourning or grieving having a child with a partner and deciding what family building option is right (adoption, donor sperm/egg, surrogacy ) are all issues that might arise in therapy."

Therapist Claudia Oberweger says having a child with or without a partner is "a big undertaking, a huge responsibility."

"It would be very important to be sure that there is a community of support, like family, close friends, others who will stay connected to the parent and the child under any and all conditions," she said.  "Human babies are dependent on adult caregivers for a long time. They require connected  and committed adults for their survival. As was said, 'it takes a village' to raise a healthy, functioning human. I believe this is the most important consideration for having a child without a partner."

Motherhood Clarity Mentor Ann Davidman, who helps women decide if they truly want a kid or kids or not, told Personal Space, "[With] any decision being made, one has to know first what they want and why, and also what drives it before they can entertain a decision."

"After they are clear they want to pursue single motherhood and know why they want to — then it’s about setting up your life to make it work for you. What kind of support do you need etc., and all the practical details," she added.

SF Women's Therapy has drawn up a list of questions to ask yourself or a friend who is considering having a baby on their own:

Do I want to be a mother?   

Why or why not?

How do I feel about being a mother?

How do I feel about not being a mother?

How might outside pressure and influence be affecting my desires?

Do I feel judged for my choices?

How can I release this judgment and find what’s underneath?

How might my own childhood be influencing my desires?

What does it mean to me to be a mother?

What does it mean to me to choose not to be a mother?

How will my life change if I have a baby? In the next year? The next five, 10?

What will be different if I choose to have a baby?

How do I feel about a lifetime commitment?

What do I think is needed to be a good parent? Emotionally, mentally, physically, financially.

Is there anything in my life that I need to change before I’d feel ready to have a baby?

Do I believe I need a partner to raise a child? Or do I believe I’m fully capable of doing so on my own?

What if my child has mental or physical challenges? How do I think I would handle it?

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