Bethany found a sperm donor and a fertility clinic, and in June 2019 welcomed her son, Watson. After becoming a SMBC at a younger age than most she had heard about, she yearned to connect with others but struggled to find them. One Facebook group for SMBCs even declined to let her join because she was under the age of 35.
So Bethany decided to become the resource that she had needed. She started a YouTube channel and Instagram page, both called “The Littlest Blueberry,” where she documents her journey to becoming a mom to Watson and her second child via the same sperm donor, daughter Collette, born in 2021.
“I want to help women if they’re thinking about this, [to] know that it’s a viable option for them,” she said.
Nicole, a 38-year-old teacher who is expecting her first child in December 2022, also craved more information about the process. Nicole, who has remained anonymous online and asked to be identified by her first name for privacy reasons, told me that becoming an SMBC was “the hardest decision I have ever made.”
“I was able to find plenty of general news articles about women who had chosen this path, but I wanted more,” she said. “I wanted to read about the daily life of a SMBC, and all of the steps taken in the journey.”
Nicole decided to start a blog, Once Upon a Bebe, and an accompanying Instagram, with the goal of normalizing “choosing the crib before the ring.” Both Nicole and Bethany said they have been amazed by how many women messaged them and commented on their posts. It seemed to Bethany that there were many SMBCs and people who hoped to take that path, all hungry for more information and to connect with each other.
“It’s not even just American women who are contacting me. I’ve talked to women from Brazil, and women from Canada and England, Australia, all over the world, who are going on these journeys,” she said.
Nicole said the support and commiseration from fellow SMBCs has only made her more confident in her decision.
“Being able to share your life experiences with other women like you allows you to feel seen and understood,” she said. “While my family and friends are supportive of my path to motherhood, I don’t think anyone truly understands what it feels like to not have a partner yet want to be a mother so badly and know that your time is limited. Fellow SMBCs share that feeling and we can connect as a community in a very special way because of it.”
Scrolling the hashtag #singlemombychoice on TikTok shows women from all over the country who proudly declare themselves SMBCs and answer questions about their path to parenthood.
One of the top conversation topics on the SMBC internet is how to deal with judgment, whether silent or overt, from friends, family, or the community at large. Many say they feel empowered rather than ashamed, discussing how confident they felt once they made the decision to have a child on their own, knowing they could support them both financially and emotionally. Others discuss their friends who have had children with men and find themselves burdened with a partner who doesn’t pull their weight when it comes to childcare.
In one video, tagged #lgbtmom and #singlemombychoice, a woman frowns. Text on the screen reads: “When they assume you in a relationship with a man because you pregnant.”
Then the text changes. “Nope still GAY and SINGLE if you were wondering,” it says.