I’m going to be a dad within the next couple of months, which is incredibly exciting. This is also the start of single parentdom as well; I don’t have a partner, and don’t intend to any time soon – my focus will be on my son.
The reality is that I want to be a father; it really is as simple as that. I’m amazed to hear occasional reactions where people are surprised that I will be raising a child by myself – and by choice, rather than because I was involved in a breakup.
It never occurred to me that this would even be an issue, and so it catches me off-guard when I discover that other people are thinking differently. People are, of course, entitled to their own views, but to have such old-fashioned sentiments are eye-wateringly depressing. We have evolved as a society to a point when single mothers are becoming more acceptable – slowly – but single dads, perhaps because of their comparative rareity, are still a cause for some surprise.
When I first began exploring the possibilities of becoming a dad, I was pleasantly surprised by the response from the agencies I approached. None of them had any problems with a single person becoming a parent; in fact, they didn’t bat an eyelid, and I had to actually mention it first before it was even referenced. Barnardos – the agency I went with – obviously discussed it with me during the assessment phase, but it was more around how I would cope; what was my support network like, they wanted to know, and accepted that it was different to a couple’s network. But there was never any criticism, merely a difference.
I have always been reassured by this, and the positive responses of people whose opinion I value. No-one has been alarmed or worried, which is positive, and I’ve been able to explore my own strengths and weaknesses during the assessment stage. This has been a brilliant opportunity to reflect and savour the chance to really critique myself, and it’s something that I wish everyone had the opportunity to do; it really is such a healthy thing to do, and I wish I’d had the opportunity to do it sooner.
So yes, single fatherhood beckons – but I will never truly be alone, as my own support network is strong and resilient. This is one of the strengths you get from the assessment; you realise who is important in your life, and ehat they can offer to you – and vice versa. It’s an excellent reminder of what is valued and valuable. People’s true colours come out of the woodwork, and you know how much relationships are needed.
Knowing that a child will soon be joining you to form a new family is incredibly exciting, and that puts everything else into perspective. I get to be a dad, and to have been judged worthy of a raising a child by myself is a a double honour – and a privilege.