It got me thinking that some of the advice is relevant for solo mums, but there are some specifics that apply for what not to say for someone who is considering solo motherhood. I reached out to the awesome Stork and I Mum Tribe to ask for their input to the main things not to say to solo mums and this is what we came up with:
About trying to find a suitable parter:
- My friend used (insert online dating site here) and that worked for them. Why don’t you give that a try?
- I’m sure Mr Right is just around the corner
- You’ll find the man of your dreams when you stop looking for him
- You need to get out there, they won’t come looking for you
In terms of how long to wait until you go it alone:
- Don’t worry you’ve still got time, Janet Jackson got pregnant at 52
- Are you sure you don’t just want to wait a while longer and try to meet a guy?
- You’re only (insert age here) you’ve still got plenty of time
About choosing to go through fertility treatment:
- Why pay all that money when you could just go out and have a one night stand?
- You should’ve just gone out, got drunk and had a one night stand, you’d have saved yourself a fortune!
- Can you choose the sex?
- How great to be able to choose your childs characteristics
- Did you use a turkey baster?
- How much did it cost?
- Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to adopt instead of bringing a child into a fatherless situation?
As a comparison to others situations:
- You’re situation isn’t that different to mine as my husband works late most night
- My partner doesn’t really help much anyway, so I’m pretty much a solo mum myself
About managing solo:
- Do you know how hard it is bringing up a baby, are you sure you want to do it alone?
- Have you thought of what you’re doing to the child raising it without a father?
- You realise you won’t have anyone to share responsibilities with right?
- How are you going to manage on your own?
I can’t even bring myself to comment on some of these! Truly unbelievable that people think it’s acceptable to ask some of these questions. On the other hand, I don’t want any of my close friends reading this to get the wrong idea. I’m very open and I’ve had in depth chat’s about my decision with friends, where we have covered some of these topics. The difference is it was done in a supportive and informed way.
I am happy to talk about my situation if people are curious, but there is a way to ask questions and most of the above are definitely not the best way!
In terms of what is the right thing to say is, there really is no clear cut answer, it does depend on the situation and your relationship with the person you are talking to. I actually love Alice’s advice from the article she wrote. Just be there.
My advice to anyone supporting a friend who is thinking of starting the journey of solo motherhood:
- Be there
- Acknowledge everyone’s story is valid
- Offer whatever support is required (mainly babysitting!!)
- Reminders not to worry what others think
- Reassurance that you’re not on your own. You might not have a partner, but your friends will be there
I’d love to hear if you’ve had any of these comments or others and if you have any other advice for people who are trying to support you. If you have anyone who is asking you inappropriate questions, share this article with them!