Mindset Shifts–How To Make Difficult Choices (Like Becoming A Single Mother by Choice) Feel Positive
Do you ever wish you could shift your mindset and make becoming a single mom by choice feel like an empowered choice? When I talk to many women who are trying to decide whether to take the leap to single motherhood, they feel regret about not having found a partner. They feel like they’ve been backed into a corner and don’t feel like becoming a single mother is a choice at all.
But it is possible to shift your mindset and improve how you feel about the journey. But it can take some work. Here’s what I’ve learned from my podcast interviews about this process.
In a recent podcast interview with Signe Fjord, a fellow single mom and coach, I asked Signe if she regretted anything about her journey.
She responded that she: “would have worked around my mindset to begin with in order to turn this into this is a really good idea and look at all the positive things and not see this as a plan B. I wouldn’t see this as a failure. I wouldn’t say to myself okay, if I can’t have this fairy tale, this is a second best chance. Instead I would reframe it. In my mind.”
I often say I’m on a crusade to make the choice to be a single mom be a legitimate first choice–not a backup plan or last resort so I love the idea about shifting our mindset to feel like we haven’t failed at something but instead got to pick a great option from many. And, I now see the need to use an egg donor as a necessary part of the process that I am now proud of and grateful for.
But, changing your mindset or perspective isn’t easy. No matter what crossroads you are facing– still contemplating the choice to be a single mom, faced with having a non-biological child, or already parenting, how do you shift your mindset and suddenly see your choice as an empowered or positive option when you’re in the thick of dealing with the sadness and grief about your path not turning out the way you had always expected or in the daily grind of raising a kid alone?
For some women, hearing someone say that it was an empowered choice can be enough. I remember in one of my support groups, I expressed how much I love being a single mom and talked about why it’s been an amazing choice for me. One woman immediately shifted her perspective. A light bulb went off and she embraced the idea the possibility and was able to begin embracing single motherhood as something to be proud of, rather than as some sort of failure.
But if you are like most people, it’s just not that easy. They don’t feel empowered right away and it’s a lot harder to flip a switch and change their perspective. The mindset shift just doesn’t happen as easily. So how can you approach trying to shift your mindset if you’re struggling with the choice?
As a coach, I love giving people actionable practices to help them shift their mindset and make lasting change. One of my favorite exercises for this is what I call The Head, Heart Gut Approach. It’s a great way to give voice to all three aspects of a person’s being–the cognitive, emotional and somatic centers. I think in our culture we’re really focused on the head and we think of that as supreme, but really we have three knowledge centers that provide different wisdom. This exercise helps give voice to all of those.
I always start with the head because it’s important to have the facts and knowledge to make a shift or big decision. We need to satisfy that part of the brain. In this case, I would read articles and research studies. Here’s a new one that just came out about how kids born to single parents are doing just fine. Or this article I wrote that summarizes a lot of research that’s been done about being a single mom.
And, I would do things like listening to my podcast where I interview a different mom or an expert in the field every week so that you can hear women saying over and over again that they have no regrets–they fully embrace how their path turned out. Many of them even say they wouldn’t do it anyway other way because they love how it all turned out in the end. It’s powerful and inspiring to hear that message over and over again from so many different women.
Another trick is to practice opening to the possibility that becoming a single mom by choice could be the best option. Say to yourself: “What if this was actually the best thing I could ever do,” or “what if there’s a reason that this is happening?”
When you ask these questions, can you allow the answer to percolate up? Just allow yourself to answer–you might be surprised by the response.
After satisfying the head with some knowledge and perspectives, it’s time to turn to the heart. I find it really helpful to put your hand on your heart, take a few deep breaths, feel into your body, feel your heart opening and try and connect to the question: Why do I want to be a mother? Connect to your love and desire to be a mother.
In my podcast interview with Jill Costello she kept asking herself: What would love do? Everytime things were difficult or she felt she could not keep going, she connected to the love of her future child and that really got her through.
In this case, how can connecting to your desire and the love you want to share with a child to help you shift your mindset about embarking on the path to being a single mom?
You could also try to connect to gratitude that this path is even an option — that, that we have the technology and that people are open minded enough to allow women to do this. Connect to the gratitude that you’re in a position to be able to consider this choice.
Finally, we turn to the gut. Ask yourself, what shape would my body take if I felt empowered about this choice? If you were walking down the street and felt like an amazing, empowered single mom who could do it all, what would that feel like in your body? How would you walk? What would your body feel like when you were telling family and friends about your choice if you embodied it as an amazing, positive choice?
Really let it seep into your bones.
It Takes Practice
This mindset shift isn’t something that’s necessarily gonna shift overnight. But with practice your mindset can start to shift. I recommend coming back to this process over and over again. Let all three centers speak and practice the the feelings over and over again.
Will you try it and tell me how it goes? Tell me what you think in the comments below. What works for you and what doesn’t? What other ideas you have about how to shift your mindset around your choices?
If you’d like to join a group of like-minded women grappling with the thinking and trying process, join me in my Thinkers / Triers Support Groups. These groups provide a forum to empower women who want to become single moms by choice. If you are interested, please reach out. I’m happy to discuss if it feels like the right fit.