Opting for single parenthood is not to be taken lightly

DEAR ABBY: This letter is regarding "Second-Guessing Myself in New York" (June 9), the young single woman who wants to have a baby by artificial insemination and thinks her dad will be a great role model. My sister had the same idea.

Shortly thereafter, I had my first child. My beautiful daughter was born with multiple birth defects and required many surgeries and hospitalizations. Thank God, I was married, and my husband was very supportive. I had to quit my job and stay home to care for our daughter. She is much better now, but will always require some help.

Our family had no history of birth defects, and my pregnancy was perfect. No one had any idea that my daughter would have problems. It was a big wake-up call for my sister. It made her realize that, as a single parent, she would have been unable to take time away from her job to care for a child with intensive (and expensive) needs.

Readers who are considering the prospect of becoming single parents by choice should remember that sometimes not everything goes as planned.


DEAR MOTHER: Thank you for adding your personal perspective to this issue. The responses I received about the letter from "Second-Guessing" were balanced and thoughtful. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Four years after my first marriage, I decided that if the right man had not come along by the time I was 30, I would have a baby on my own. Then came Steve, the man of my dreams, the one I wanted to share my life and have children with. We began trying to have a child. When it didn't happen, we explored other options, but Steve said he didn't want to raise "someone else's child." I prayed that eventually I'd conceive and my dream would come true.

Three months ago, without warning, my "wonderful" husband of 22 years told me he was no longer in love with me. He had fallen for someone else (who has children, by the way!). The shock is still painful, but the truth is, if I had stuck with my original plan I would have my child. Now at 53, I have no children and my biological clock has stopped ticking.

If "Second-Guessing" is financially and emotionally prepared to have a child by age 30, she should not deprive herself of something she desperately wants.


DEAR ABBY: At 28, with no potential husband in sight, I was worried that I would never get to have a baby. It was something I wanted more than anything, and couldn't see happening unless I did it myself.

Just before I turned 30, I met my husband. At 31, we were married, and a year later I had my first child. We have been happily married for eight years with two wonderful little boys. I cannot imagine doing it on my own. I have a loving spouse with whom to share all of this joy.

I, too, was worried about the high divorce rate and unhealthy relationships I saw around me. My husband and I sought counseling together before our wedding to make sure we were starting out on the right foot, and to learn how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way.

My advice: Hang in there and work hard to find the right partner. It is worth the wait!


DEAR ABBY: I am the only child of the most loving, generous, hard-working, inspiring single mother in the world. She always wanted to have a child, got pregnant at 30, and made the decision to raise me by herself. My mom and I are a complete family, and I wouldn't trade my relationship with her for anything.


DEAR ABBY: Has "Second-Guessing" thought about adopting or fostering a needy child? While I am sure that most people think they have something extraordinary to add to the gene pool, the sad fact is that there are countless thousands of children in this country who need a stable family.


Dear Abby is written by , also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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