Stacy is a 22-year-old single parent with a 15-month-old son. She had some complications before delivering her baby and spent about ten days in the hospital. Those days alone gave her time to think and make the decision to be a single parent.

Why did I choose single parenting? The circumstances I was in at the time were not ones that made it good for me to get married. I knew that both my baby and I would be better off without his father around, because our relationship was not a healthy one. I do want to get married eventually, though, and have more kids, although dating isn’t really an option right now.

And some other choices available just weren’t right for me. Abortion wasn’t an option. People just don’t realize what that does to a person physically, spiritually, and emotionally. While adoption is a good option, it was just not a choice I felt I had the strength to make at that point in my life. I thought I had some experience and I could handle the responsibility of parenting, but there was just no way I could have anticipated just how difficult things would be.

One of the hardest things about going through a crisis pregnancy was deciding how I was going to find a solution to my problem. Making decisions has always been hard for me and this situation forced me into making big decisions on my own. You really just need time to yourself to think everything out. It takes time to make a decision, and you should always fall back on your principles and values if you are confused. Also, if any decision is important, it does not need a rushed answer—don’t give in to pressure from others to decide quickly or to make the decision that they want you to make. Just take your time and think seriously about what you really want to do. That’s what I did. I had toxemia and was in the hospital for about ten days. No one could come in the room unless I wanted them in there. The only way I was able to deal with it and make a decision was to have some quiet time to myself.

Single parenting is not an easy task. Some things are really hard – like having to get up at all times of the night and knowing that no matter what you do, you can never sleep in. Also, when you have someone who is constantly dependent on you every minute of the day, you don’t get a break especially without a husband to help take care of the baby. On the flipside of that, when things are really great, there’s not always someone around to share it with.

There are good things about it, too. Everything is new to my baby. I am amazed at the joy and happiness he gets out of the littlest things. Give him a spoon and he’s happy. It’s also nice to have someone who loves you as unconditionally as a child does. But, I know that those are selfish reasons for parenting. I often wonder what it will mean to my child that I don’t have the time or resources that a two-parent family might have.

I could go on forever about the ups and downs of single parenting—some days it’s a walk in the park, other days it seems like nothing could be worse. But one thing I do know is that being a single parent is a lot more difficult and full of responsibility than I ever could have imagined. It is always hard to know what is best for the future, but looking back on it, I think my decision was based more on what I wanted than what was best for my baby.