Photo Credit: Getty Images
The Today Show ran an interesting segment recently discussing the rise of women having babies out of wedlock. According to National Center of Health Statistics, almost 40 percent of babies born in this country are to unwed mothers, and a Pew Research Center survey found that 39 percent of women believe marriage is becoming obsolete. And it's not just unwed high school girls giving birth. A growing number of successful, independent women -- typically over the age of 35 who may or may not be in some kind of committed relationship -- are choosing to have children on their own, according to experts interviewed on the Today Show. One reason for the trend, they say, may be from seeing all the single moms in Hollywood pull it off (think Kate Hudson, Sandra Bullock and, of course, the goddess of all unmarried celeb moms, Angelina Jolie).
The single mom trend is fascinating, but I'm not sure the experts hit the nail on the head with their explanation. Sure, there are some women who choose to be single moms -- and I think it's important to note that many other moms who are part of this stat have partners but just aren't married (like Hudson). But plenty of them are probably more like me. I'm a single mom, and while I did make the choice to have my baby, it certainly wasn't because I saw Angelina saunter through an airport, pack of world travelers in tow, looking stunning and eerily calm. Simply put, I got knocked up. My contraceptives were part of that 0.10 percent that fail. My boyfriend and I had just broken up and I was 28, which I thought was too old not to take responsibility for my actions.
And seeing single-mom celebrities didn't make me think that people were going to be more accepting of my situation or that things were going to be easier for me. When I took those pregnancy tests (four of them), I stared at them, trying to will one of those damn lines to disappear. I was scared to tell my ex, my family, my friends and my coworkers. During my pregnancy, I felt like I had a sign across my belly: "I'm the poor, single girl who got knocked up." People were nice and supportive, but I still felt like the token single-mom friend. My situation certainly didn't feel widespread or common. Don't get me wrong: I love my daughter more than anything, but unless money were no object, I don't know that I would ever choose to get pregnant alone. And while my little peanut is worth every sacrifice I've made, I'll always have a sense that something was missing in the experience for both of us.
So while the numbers are going up, I don't think that it's all because of celebrities. In real life, being a single mom still seems unusual and uncalculated. A more realistic idea for the Today Show would be something on the single moms who didn't plan on getting pregnant, but did and learned to make it work -- without a personal chef and a live-in nanny. That's a segment I'd like to see.
Do you think the high rate of single moms is influenced by the celebs? Chime in below!