Spurred on by the profound regret of an older friend who'd searched high and low for the perfect father only to run out of time, I decided to take control of my own fate. Not for me waiting for a knight in shining armour, while my eggs, already in short supply, dwindled.
At first I considered a sperm donor clinic, but then a serendipitous meeting presented a different route to my dream of single parenthood. When a strapping young man of 21 happened to cross my path and give me a second look, I had a lightbulb moment.
What if, in the heat of the moment and emboldened by alcohol, we found ourselves having unprotected sex? What if I didn't spell out the risks of pregnancy? And what if he said he didn't want anything to do with the resulting child? Then all the better.
I really wasn't interested in a long-term relationship, and as an independent woman with a career in the financial sector, I felt I would do a far superior job of raising a baby on my own, thank you.
Now 42, I have a beautiful four-year-old daughter, Hannah, and am happier than I could ever have imagined. There are no regrets. [Didact: Uh, not for YOU, maybe- but did you ever stop to think about what your daughter might think?]
Some will criticise my single-mindedness or say I've deprived my child of a loving father.
But what of the one in three marriages that end in divorce? At least Hannah is spared the painful decline of her parents' relationship.
[T]he nuclear family is in sharp decline: we have gay couples having babies, transgender parents, 'blended' families with biological and stepchildren. The new generation is much more open-minded. [...]
I have a strong personality and not many men can handle that. I can't stand shrinking violets; they need to have backbone.
It was never my intention to trick Ben, but did I point that out sex was risky? Did I mention I wasn't on the Pill? Did I try to warn him I could get pregnant? No, I didn't. [...]
Mum actually said she was proud of me for 'going out and getting what I wanted on my own'. There was no admonishment about not being married or fears over my child not having a father. [...]
She is now four and we are very happy together. There are no rowing parents for her to contend with. It is all very peaceful. She has never asked about her daddy, but I know the time will come when she does. I haven't planned exactly what I will say, but it will be age appropriate.
Meanwhile, I don't worry about Hannah lacking a male role model. We are sociable people and have lots of male friends.
Females who lose their fathers to divorce or abandonment seek much more attention from men and had more physical contact with boys their age than girls from intact homes. They also tend to be more critical of their fathers and the opposite sex. These females constantly seek refuge for their missing father and as a result there is a constant need to be accepted by men from whom they aggressively seek attention (Grimm-Wassil, 1994, p. 147).
Girls with absent fathers grow up without the day-by-day experience of attentive, caring and loving interaction with a man. Without this continuous sense of being valued and loved, a young girl does not thrive, but rather is stunted in her emotional development. The coping mechanisms that adolescent girls whose parents are divorced develop in response to the absence of their father include the following (Lohr, Legg, Mendell, and Reimer, 1989, p. 352)
Studies show that females with absent fathers often have diminished cognitive, development; poor school performance, lower achievement test scores and lower IQ scores (Grimm-Wassil, 1994). Cognitive development affects how children perceive and interpret the information they are presented, thus making it difficult for them to excel if cognitive development is impeded.