As of 2011, there were ten million single moms raising kids under 18 in the U.S. -- nearly three times as many as there were in 1970. But is there still a stigma attached to single motherhood? HuffPost Live’s Abby Huntsman was joined by HuffPost Parents senior columnist Lisa Belkin and other community members for a discussion on the topic.
“I think that 'single' came to stand for 'lesser' because for a long time it was," Belkin argues. "It was automatically less money and often children had at a younger age, often fathers that deserted families. I think the newest trends mitigate that some. We have a good percentage of women who are choosing to have children on their own… I don’t think there is a stigma anymore.”
Hugo Schwyzer, a writer and gender studies professor who was raised by a single mom, says there are some who will “cherry-pick” the data available to “find a way to support the idea that anything other than a one-man, one-woman marriage… will produce negative outcomes for kids.” Shcwyzer says this simply isn’t the case. “There is a problem of causation and correlation we have to look at here. There are many issues of what kind of treatment that say, a father might have inflicted on a child before the divorce or separation happened.”
Nancy Dowd, author of "In Defense of Single-Parent Families," says that it's a question of function, not structure. “If you’re a good parent, whether it’s one or two, that makes the most difference. We have a diversity of family forms, but while we’ve moved away from condemning single parents… we don’t support all the other kinds of families and often privilege the marital family.”
Speak Hispanic Communications CEO Elianne Ramos was also raised by a single mother and believes that “the fact that there is such a variety of single parent households now, maybe because there is so much divorce, maybe because it is more commonplace” has made our society more accepting, but what hasn’t changed is a need to search “for solutions that support the single parents. We still have to work on that arena and address the socioeconomic issues behind it.”