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We are racked with anxieties — and rightly so.’‘In your teens you envisage marriage and two children,’ she says.‘Then my 20s were career-focused and I got to my 30s and hadn’t met a man good enough to be a father.‘I had several unsuccessful attempts at IVF using my own eggs and donor sperm, and the next stage was to use an egg donor.In England you sometimes have to wait three years, and because I didn’t know if it would work — and time was not on my side — I went to Spain, to a clinic recommended by the London hospital that had been treating me.In the last 30 years or so, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in how society views single, unmarried parents.While stigma and perceptions vary by cultural group, and changes in acceptance have occurred at different paces, it’s now commonly accepted that there are unmarried people who have children seeking love and companionship.
During art activities, they’re encouraged to draw their family trees — and my child’s tree has only one branch.’But the debate will continue, and in the final analysis, only children like Millie Rae, Freya, William and Max — all of them beloved by mothers who went to exceptional lengths to have them — will know the answer.
‘Like many women, I had long experienced a tremendously powerful maternal urge, but I never dreamt I’d wind up in a situation where I had to make such a devastating life-choice: to remain childless for the rest of my life because Mr Right hadn’t arrived, or to actively bring a child into the world without a father. Not a day goes by when I don’t agonise about the consequences of my actions.
And every friend of mine who’s done the same, says the same.
Whatever the perception, the majority of single mothers and single fathers want to date, find loving happiness with a great partner and build a solid companionship that makes them and their children happiest.
Anthony, a single father of three, says that being a man with children by multiple women carries a stigma of him being irresponsible and incapable of fidelity and commitment. For a man, he says, dating with children is often easier when the woman of interest has a child too.