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Single Motherhood - Research Paper Example

4 pages
894 words
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Single motherhood has been on the rise in recent times. A single mother is a parent without the support of the husband in the raising up the child or children. The mother is responsible for the emotional, material and financial needs of the child. Single motherhood results mostly from the death of the husband due to several reasons like diseases, conflicts among other issues. Single motherhood results from the death of a partner, divorce, choice of the mother to take care of the children herself.

Literature review


Divorce is the termination of the marriage. Divorce has been on the rise in recent times, and it is apparently the leading cause of single motherhood. Divorce happens when there is an issue between a couple that cannot allow them to continue staying together. More than 40% of new families are more likely to end up being divorced according to recent statistics (Duncan, Edwards, & Edwards, 2013). The subsequent marriages that follow also may end up in divorce, due to several emerging issues that have made marriage more complicated to maintain. Mothers who remain with the children after a divorce face financial, emotional and physical challenges in raising the children. Divorce affects children in the process more particularly if it happens when they are still at a very tender age or in their adolescent period (Angel & Worobey, 1988).


Death is the most common cause of single motherhood. Death of husbands leaves women to take care of a family alone. Death as cause of single motherhood has decreased over the current years due to improved health measures, reduction in wars, and other things which would claim mens lives in the past. Strict observation of a healthy lifestyle has helped reduce the number of deaths caused lifestyle diseases. The US, like many other countries, have lost a significant portion of men in wars outside the country. But the countrys reduction of involvement in armed conflicts in foreign countries has reduced death rates of its soldiers, who are also a significant contributor to single motherhood.

Unintended PregnanciesSingle motherhood also comes about through pregnancies that were not intended to occur, and where the lady either intends to keep the pregnancy or is never in terms with the father of the child. Unwanted pregnancy happens mostly with unmarried women who later choose to keep the baby. The situation forces women to bear the burden of single parenthood. Single parenthood also comes through especially when the partner shuns responsibility of taking care of the child thus leaving the mother with no choice but to take care of the unintended child herself.


Some ladies choose to be single mothers by choice. They might not feel the need of having to settle down and raise a family together with a man but think that they need to have children of their own. It might be due to the type of work they do, education, biological reasons, getting the kind of man they want to settle down with, to issues like barrenness which leads to adoption or even surrogacy and prefer to remain single after that. Single motherhood also exists through the adoption of children to their lives (McLanahan, & Sandefur 1994). Women who are unable to conceive their children might consider adopting a child that they can call their own and experience parenting in their lives. Women might not want to settle down but want to experience parenthood, so they choose to get pregnant and bear a child or children that they raise on their own. Some women might not find the right kind of person they are looking to settle down with so they opt to conceive their child and raise it thus single motherhood comes into play. Some women who practice lesbianism might feel the need to have a child, therefore, opt to adopt a child to experience parenthood (Duncan, & Edwards 2013). Surrogates might choose to be single mothers to do their job efficiently in carrying other peoples children to avoid marriage altogether.


Single motherhood has been on the rise in recent past, and there is a need for society to embrace it though it comes with several challenges. Single motherhood arises from natural causes like death to other social issues like divorce, the choice among others. Single motherhood, especially from divorced families, leaves the children with emotional damage potentially leading to an adverse effect on their life.

Single motherhood through divorce leaves the mother with a heavy burden of having to take care of the family alone financially, emotionally and materially. The mother might not be in a position to provide for all this and might pose challenges to the mother, and even her children. However, single motherhood can also lead to personal advancement in careers without the pressure of marriage. It is, therefore, something which comes with responsibilities, challenges and still, advantages. It mostly depends on the reasons behind it, making it hard to label it good or bad. The world is already embracing it, and unlike the past, it is becoming a more common way of parenting.


Angel, R., & Worobey, J. L. (1988). Single motherhood and children's health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 38-52.

McLanahan, S., & Sandefur, G. (1994). Growing Up with a Single Parent. What Hurts, What Helps. Retrieved from

Duncan, S., Edwards, R., & Edwards, R. (2013). Single Mothers in International Context: Mothers or Workers?. Routledge.

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