Question for Single Fathers

Windwalker

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So, having been married for a long time,separated 10 years ago, and then divorced 2 years later, I’m starting to feel the miles click on.

It dawned on me that I’m going to be 50 in less than 4 years, and it was quite the jolt. Not that I forgot how old I am, but I kinda skimmed over how old I was getting, if that makes any sense.

Coincidentally, it was chipping that gave me the initial jolt. I was on a zoom with my estate planning attorney, adding the hoard of chips to my Will, when he asked me a question that has had me thinking for a while. He asked, “When are you going to get married and have children, so you have someone to leave this all to?”

I have been lukewarm on “relationships” for a while now, mostly just bee-flitting from flower to flower (sans pollen,) and the idea that I could find someone I love and trust, build enough of a dynamic that I ask her to marry me, decide if we’re going to have kids and then have them — it seems like a lifetime away. At the same time, I’ve been seeing what a joy kids are for some of my closest friends, and I have gotten to the mental state of really wanting my own offspring.

So, about 3 weeks ago, I started the discovery process of looking at anonymous egg donors and surrogates. It’s a fascinating world, where the biological mother of your child is someone you’ll never meet, and the woman who carries your baby is basically an oven — baking, if you will, for you. I really want to be as young as possible when I have kids, and I feel like I’m running out of time. There’s so much that I’ve been able to build that I’d like a proper heir for; so many things I have learned I’d like to teach. And while adoption is interesting, I am more motivated about the child being of my own blood.

My parents were aghast at the idea, but then again, they’re traditionally Indian, and think it’s almost blasphemous. My younger, single friends in LA don’t understand it at all; and my married friends with kids are concerned of a child growing up by my choice without a mother.

So, I wanted to pose the question in this relative veil of anonymity this forum provides: are there single fathers out there who have raised a kid or kids on their own? What does it do to one’s life, really? Does it make it harder, or easier to date? Any advice?

And, if by a miracle, someone has gone through this process themselves, I’d love to hear from you.
 
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I got divorced at 25 and got custody of our 2 children. Their mom was partying and non existent in their lives, which made life easy for me. I was a single parent for 5 years, remarried, and my new wife and I adopted 2 more children. But here's my 2 cents, in hindsight, about being a single parent:

1. Having kids when I was younger was way easier than when I was older the 2nd time around. I had a ton more energy. Dumb as shit young, but never tired. But if you're new to the kid thing, that will likely give you the energy you need because it's new and flat out AWESOME!!

2. My dating never really suffered. I always made it clear that the kids come first. For example, when my boys had Saturday football....that always came first. Some girlfriends loved going to games and running up and down the sidelines cheering my boys on. Others would prefer to party all night Friday....sleep in....and skip the Saturday game. Having kids actually helped me weed out the ones I really wanted to spend time with long term and the ones that I preferred to not wake up next to.

3. This might be a bit unfair, but I did find that dating women that had kids of their own was a pain in the ass. I typically found that their kids were spoiled and in charge. I ultimately re married to a woman who did not have kids of her own and became the mother my boys deserved.

My biggest advice. When you finally do have kids, and you meet that special someone. Sit her down....draw a dot in the middle of a piece of paper and tell her that is your child/children. Then draw a bigger circle orbiting the children and tell her, "that's us." Finish with, "our lives will ALWAYS revolve around the children." And be honest with her that she should let you know sooner rather than later if she is not okay with that.

Last piece of advice. Just do it!! You will be fine!! :)

Best of luck!!
 

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Can only speak from experience of having a child (a bit late myself), but with my wife. I can't imagine doing it on my own, to be honest. Our daughter is, as @Seeking Alpha Social Club said, the center of our world, and has turned our pre-child life on its head. But in a good way. Dating, as you know it, as well as the freedom to pick up and do whatever, as you please and when you please, will dramatically change.

Keeping up with a baby, then toddler, now 4-year-old has been the light of my life, but exhausting as a 40-something.
 

Perthmike

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+1 for fuck having to do all of that on your own lol. I love my daughter so much but I'd be in serious struggle town if I had to do it without my wife.

Also, I'm not sure boats, hoes and baby has the same ring to it lol.

Ultimately only you know the answer.
 

LotsOfChips

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Will you take the first year or two off work to raise the baby? Will you hire someone else to raise the baby? Will you be available (both emotionally and physically) to deal with everything that a growing child needs for the next 16 or so years? Will it be fair to the child if you are not? Do you have a support network (not hired help, but actual friends and family) that can help you out and provide support and guidance when required?

Not saying that it can't be done, or that you shouldn't do it, but please think about the logistics, and how it will affect both your life and the child's life.

Good luck on an important decision.
 

davin

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+1 for fuck having to do all of that on your own lol. I love my daughter so much but I'd be in serious struggle town if I had to do it without my wife.

Also, I'm not sure boats, hoes and baby has the same ring to it lol.

Ultimately only you know the answer.
+1 to this, there would be no way i could raise a child on my own with my crazy hectic work schedule, my girl is 4 years old and with all the mood swings and sas im so happy my gf is a strong patient women. This is truly something to really soak in and think about, and i wish you the best
 

Windwalker

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Dating, as you know it, as well as the freedom to pick up and do whatever, as you please and when you please, will dramatically change.
This is something I’ve thought about, and am not sure it isn’t a really bad thing. Dating in LA can be exhausting, mostly because people have more ADD here than any other place I’ve seen. There’s just so much going on and so many options, it can be exhausting in itself. I’ve had one long term relationship after my divorce, which ended a little before the pandemic, not for any other reason than it wasn’t the right “forever” fit for both of us. She’s turned into a great friend, and is a fantastic wing woman now, but even with that all that, there’s a “triviality” dating in LA that’s very frustrating.

Also, I'm not sure boats, hoes and baby has the same ring to it lol.

LOL. Fair point, but I’m not that much of a party person, as my incessant chipping habits should show. An occasional boat never hurt anyone. ;-)

Seriously though, your notion of it being difficult to do yourself has been the biggest concern.

Will you take the first year or two off work to raise the baby? Will you hire someone else to raise the baby? Will you be available (both emotionally and physically) to deal with everything that a growing child needs for the next 16 or so years? Will it be fair to the child if you are not? Do you have a support network (not hired help, but actual friends and family) that can help you out and provide support and guidance when required?

My work schedule is non-traditional, and I have a ton of help around all that, but every piece of literature I’ve been reading says I should commit at least the first 6 months to a baby, which I believe I can do.

The question of non-hired support is important. Unfortunately, my family is extremely small — just parents in their 90s who live on the other side of the globe, and a sister who lives in Dubai. My brother passed fifteen years ago. I have no family in the US at all, but I do have a tight-knit group of friends that I consider family who I’m sure would be an excellent support system.

The question of being fair to the kid — that’s been my biggest mental hurdle, and definitely requires further thinking.

Thank you!
 

FDLmold

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Kids are resilient. Like so much more than we give them credit for. With proper structure, they can rise to almost any level of expectation we set for them.

I am a teacher. I could show you a hundred examples of kids raised by good single parents who turned out better than a hundred others who were raised by two shitty parents their whole lives. At all income levels.

Children require a whole lot of love before they provide any back to you or anybody else, but when they do, it’s about the best thing in the world.
 

Highli99

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Kids are the most wonderful thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. My wife and I got married young, and went 10 years without kids due to a medical issue that it took some good docs at Hopkins to iron out. So my wife and I were in our mid thirties when kids began. Now we have 3 and the Latest one is 8 months old. My wife does 90% of the heavy lifting and despite that I am exhausted by the end of the day when they go down. I know there are a ton of single parents out there and I have a ton of respect for them, but I have no idea how they do it. The truth is parents find the strength to handle what they need to, and kids are pretty resilient or our species would not have survived thousands of years of “parenting” (~whenever homosapiens emerged until roughly 1985). that would unequivocally be considered child abuse in 2021.
 

ImCrossland

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I’m not a single father, but I’m the oldest of 6 kids from 4 different men. Each of our fathers abandoned us when we were young and we were left in the care of our grandmother and mother.

Mom was an alcoholic and drug addict who passed away a few years ago at 39 years old. Grandmother died on May 18, 2020. At 25 years old, I was the oldest living member of my family and became the legal guardian of two of my siblings.

While I didn’t choose to have the kids, I can speak to what the last year has been like as their only parent. It has been hard with both being in high school and all that comes from it. Every week there seems to be a sporting event, driver’s ed, needing a ride to see friends, homework due, supplies to get, etc.

As a 24 year old single guy, the world seemed at my finger tips. I could go anywhere, anytime I wanted, and never needed to ask permission or “tie up loose ends” before doing it. That is no longer the case. Even as high schoolers, you’re now limited from doing all the things that seemed to be thoughtless before having them. Your interests and priorities will no longer be the priority every single time.

But when you look in that kid’s face and hear the sound of their voice, it makes all those “sacrifices” all worth it. There is no better feeling, nothing more fulfilling, satisfying, or worthwhile, than looking in someone’s eyes and knowing they trust and love you.

As a kid growing up, the only thing that ever brought me down was seeing my friends with really good dads. I played sports, made straight A’s, got a full-ride football scholarship to a Division 1 program, worked for Members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, became the first member of my family to graduate college and sit 4 courses away from completing my graduate degree.

At first, I worked to accomplish these goals with the false hope that it might incentive my father to want me back. Now, I do it to inspire my siblings and show they don’t have to be a victim of their circumstances.

Although I’m only 25, being a parent is the best thing to ever happen to me. I can promise you it will be the best thing to ever happen to you. That child will need you, make sure you’re ready to live up to it.

I have no doubt you will be great at it.

-Triston
 
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FordPickup92

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While I don't have my own children, I can give a perspective from my own childhood growing up. Similarly to what @FDLmold said above, children need alot of love while they are developing, lot of patience, time, and a balance of structure and freedom. Around age 8 or 9 my parent's relationship began crumbling, it was not a good environment to be in. My dad spent alot of time away from home and my mother was heavily using drugs. I was about 12 when my dad finally moved out and filed for divorce. Growing up with a single parent was super tough, particularly one that was hardly capable of handling herself. I missed alot of key developmentental lessons in a very important time of my life. I needed a dad, and didn't have one. While my mother loved me she wasn't able to show me that, and I learned how to be detached, angry, and blame other people for mistakes or problems in my life. I guess my point is I would've rather lived with my father, but was never given the choice. While he was never good at showing emotion or care, he did provide structure and education. While I think children can be raised by a single parent, it's extremely important to understand the bond and trust you must make with them. If you have a girl, you must be able to help her understand puberty and be comfortable discussing sex when she becomes of age. For a son, it would likely be a bit easier to discuss those things. There's also a fine line between parent and friend, and establishing a line of respect along with trust and love. As I've gotten older and understood more things I've had alot of opportunities to reflect on the past and where certain things were missed and why some pieces of my past were my fault and others were not.
So while I do think being a single father is not only doable, but can be successful, I cannot stress enough how important it is to fully understand all the aspects of what a child needs. Not just changing a diaper, making them breakfast, and sending them off to school.
While relationships are not identical to raising a child, there are some similarities. Like Kevin said above, children are not a part time thing. When they reach the age of a young adult and now need a different type of structure or a different expression of the same love, it's not something that you can walk away from and say this isn't the forever I had in mind. I know my parents were so angry with me many times, I was not a good kid for a part of my life. Having a child is a dedication you must be completely mentally and emotionally prepared for.
Hopefully there's some insight in this, I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other, just trying to provide some insight from a different perspective.
 
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This is something I’ve thought about, and am not sure it isn’t a really bad thing. Dating in LA can be exhausting, mostly because people have more ADD here than any other place I’ve seen. There’s just so much going on and so many options, it can be exhausting in itself. I’ve had one long term relationship after my divorce, which ended a little before the pandemic, not for any other reason than it wasn’t the right “forever” fit for both of us. She’s turned into a great friend, and is a fantastic wing woman now, but even with that all that, there’s a “triviality” dating in LA that’s very frustrating.



LOL. Fair point, but I’m not that much of a party person, as my incessant chipping habits should show. An occasional boat never hurt anyone. ;-)

Seriously though, your notion of it being difficult to do yourself has been the biggest concern.



My work schedule is non-traditional, and I have a ton of help around all that, but every piece of literature I’ve been reading says I should commit at least the first 6 months to a baby, which I believe I can do.

The question of non-hired support is important. Unfortunately, my family is extremely small — just parents in their 90s who live on the other side of the globe, and a sister who lives in Dubai. My brother passed fifteen years ago. I have no family in the US at all, but I do have a tight-knit group of friends that I consider family who I’m sure would be an excellent support system.

The question of being fair to the kid — that’s been my biggest mental hurdle, and definitely requires further thinking.

Thank you!
Honestly my friend...you have resources that will make this a success...guaranteed!! I married a WONDERFUL woman that raised my/our boys. You will totally have everything you need covered, and will do awesome!! We all come at it from different angles, and I can't imagine that you won't concur a squaking mini Krish...LOL. Although...they will own your heart strings!! :)
 

timinater

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mostly just bee-flitting from flower to flower (sans pollen,)
This made me lol.

I can't give you advice in the context of what you are asking, but I can add that lots of people raise kids as a single parent, either by choice or by circumstance and do a damn fine job of it. I have no doubt that anyone going into this with a thoughtful approach would be a good parent as well.
 

upNdown

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My wife and I separated (and ultimately divorced) when our children were 5 and 2, just before my 2nd year as a full time law school student, at the age of 35. We split custody 50/50. I arranged my classes, my internships and my extracurriculars so I could be a full time dad half the time and a full time everything else the rest of the time. People constantly told me how impressed they were with me dedicating so much of my time to being a dad, when I was a full time student. My genuine response was always that I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

The last 12 years have gone very much the same way. I’ve put my career and any hopes of accumulating wealth on hold, so that I could dedicate half of my time to being a dad, and working as much as I can in the other half of the time. The bills get paid, but there isn’t much left over. Socializing happens from time to time. And again, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

I’ve been a single parent for 50% of my time for 12 years. I won’t say it’s incredibly hard, because it is what it is, and I never really had any other choice. But it hasn’t been easy.
I think the best way to raise children is with two parents. Not everybody has that luxury. There are different parenting styles - some people are fine with daycare, some people are fine with only seeing their kids on weekends, and a lot of people don’t have a choice about those things. And for all of us, I say you can only do the best you can, and hope for the best.

But my personal philosophy has always been this - I only have 18 years, give or take, with these little miracles. I haven’t been able to do the family thing that I signed up for, so my pivot move was to dedicate every minute that I could, to them. God willing, I’ll have another 30 or 40 years, after they’re grown up, to do whatever I want to do. It’s been amazing. But I never would have chosen to do it alone.

Edit - I never would have chosen to do it alone. But looking at things in retrospect, my kids are everything, and I’d 100% choose THEM. The other “choices” are negligible.

Edit #2 - even though I’m 100% parent 50% of the time, it’s not that simple. My ex is still their parent the other 50% of the time, but it’s always a team effort. My kids have turned out amazing, and that’s 50% on her. I can certainly imagine dedicating more time to parenting, but I don’t want to imagine how our kids would have turned out without her influence.
I’d never tell you not to have kids, just because they won’t have a mom. But what kids get from a second parent and a second set of grandparents etc is immeasurable and invaluable.
 
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Señor Tony

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It might be a cultural difference thing but please don't think that the only way to raise children is to have them be at the centre of your existence from the minute they pop out of your rental oven.
 

Windwalker

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While I don't have my own children, I can give a perspective from my own childhood growing up. Similarly to what @FDLmold said above, children need alot of love while they are developing, lot of patience, time, and a balance of structure and freedom. Around age 8 or 9 my parent's relationship began crumbling, it was not a good environment to be in. My dad spent alot of time away from home and my mother was heavily using drugs. I was about 12 when my dad finally moved out and filed for divorce. Growing up with a single parent was super tough, particularly one that was hardly capable of handling herself. I missed alot of key developmentental lessons in a very important time of my life. I needed a dad, and didn't have one. While my mother loved me she wasn't able to show me that, and I learned how to be detached, angry, and blame other people for mistakes or problems in my life. I guess my point is I would've rather lived with my father, but was never given the choice. While he was never good at showing emotion or care, he did provide structure and education. While I think children can be raised by a single parent, it's extremely important to understand the bond and trust you must make with them. If you have a girl, you must be able to help her understand puberty and be comfortable discussing sex when she becomes of age. For a son, it would likely be a bit easier to discuss those things. There's also a fine line between parent and friend, and establishing a line of respect along with trust and love. As I've gotten older and understood more things I've had alot of opportunities to reflect on the past and where certain things were missed and why some pieces of my past were my fault and others were not.
So while I do think being a single father is not only doable, but can be successful, I cannot stress enough how important it is to fully understand all the aspects of what a child needs. Not just changing a diaper, making them breakfast, and sending them off to school.
While relationships are not identical to raising a child, there are some similarities. Like Kevin said above, children are not a part time thing. When they reach the age of a young adult and now need a different type of structure or a different expression of the same love, it's not something that you can walk away from and say this isn't the forever I had in mind. I know my parents were so angry with me many times, I was not a good kid for a part of my life. Having a child is a dedication you must be completely mentally and emotionally prepared for.
Hopefully there's some insight in this, I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other, just trying to provide some insight from a different perspective.
Really helpful and insightful, Brie. Thank you.
 

davislane

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It is, but I have a deep desire to have a child they carries my bloodline. I don’t think one is better than the other, just a personal desire / preference.
1623039298825.png



Definitely understand the desire to want to pass on your own genetic material. I currently have some close friends going through the challenges of trying to fall pregnant and have been involved in some of their discussions around potentially using donor eggs or adopting so they can start a family and the feelings around either 1 or 2 of the parents not sharing the same genetic material as their "child".

Personally, I think its take more than the contribution of genetic material to be a parent or to be considered family.
 

Jhoov2412

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So I’m reading through this thread and it’s only fitting that while I’m sitting on my half finished deck (which is because I am building it and I have a child) having a drink and cigar after working 30+ hours in the last two days my two year old wakes up screaming. He fell at the pool today and scraped his knee so he kept saying my knee hurts, my knee hurts over and over. I got him some milk, changed his diaper and sang to him for about 20 minutes until he calmed and fell back asleep.

I never intended to have kids. I actually broke up with a few women because they wanted them and I didn’t. I became selfish in my 30’s and saw from friends how much work being a parent was. My son was an alcohol induced accident but by far the best accident I ever made. He is also exhausting!

My girlfriend had the better job and we didn’t want a stranger raising him as an infant so I have been the full time caregiver during the days and worked nights and weekends. I had my son at 39 and was actually in the best shape of my life and taking care of a baby left me totally drained. As an infant he was awake every 2-3 hours and needed to be fed, changed and put back to sleep. I couldn’t imagine having to do all that without help. Then he started crawling and walking and I realized that while I thought I had baby proofed I really hadn’t. Now as a toddler he runs without looking where he is going, climbs on everything and then tries to jump off it and loves to try to ride the dog. I’m convinced he wants to give me a heart attack so he can get my chips.
I am legit more tired then I’ve ever been but when I see him smile at me I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world (even your amazing chip hoard). Bringing my son into the world is the greatest I’ve ever done and will ever do. I knew all the reasons I didn’t want to have a kid before I had him but after having him I don’t know how I didn’t want to have one.
90FAB3F4-E400-4ABD-BF37-965B25E1AEBA.jpeg
A115458B-9E91-498A-94BA-7EDD861B76B2.jpeg
 

davin

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Kids are the most wonderful thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. My wife and I got married young, and went 10 years without kids due to a medical issue that it took some good docs at Hopkins to iron out. So my wife and I were in our mid thirties when kids began. Now we have 3 and the Latest one is 8 months old. My wife does 90% of the heavy lifting and despite that I am exhausted by the end of the day when they go down. I know there are a ton of single parents out there and I have a ton of respect for them, but I have no idea how they do it. The truth is parents find the strength to handle what they need to, and kids are pretty resilient or our species would not have survived thousands of years of “parenting” (~whenever homosapiens emerged until roughly 1985). that would unequivocally be considered child abuse in 2021.
It is, but I have a deep desire to have a child they carries my bloodline. I don’t think one is better than the other, just a personal desire / preference.
+1 to this, if you going to put the time and love in this , I agree with you it should be part you and have your own
 

davin

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And also try and see if you can have twins!!! They will need a play partner. I wish I had another kid close to my own so they could grow up together and keep each other busy, I feel like 1 child is hard as you have to give them full attention whereas if you have twins they will build a bond with each other and entertain each other. Also keep in mind a kid will be there to take care you when you’re old and why not have two!!!!
 

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Wow, what a thread. Lots of personal revelation going on. Credit to those sharing those personal accounts. While I'm 42 and have no children or plan to ever have any, not married, never been married, the thought of having a child has always crossed my mind. However, coming from a completely broken home changes some and changed my perspective to the point where I just don't want to have kids. Both my younger sister's have children. I feel that later in my life I will regret this decision, maybe not.
 

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You've already noted the point, but it is vitally important to consider.

Your parents are of advanced age and you only have a sister on the other side of the world. Your child may have a very lonely life. You noted close friends - but unfortunately they're still not family. As you've stated, a blood relation is just a very important bond.

If something should happen to you, do you have someone in your life that you trust to protect, care, and raise your child?
 

Moxie Mike

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What does it do to one’s life, really? Does it make it harder, or easier to date? Any advice?

The way to approach parenthood is this: When you have kids, your life no longer belongs to you.

Currently, you can do whatever you want without consequence to anyone relying on your existence to survive. That immediately changes when your kid is born, whether your in an LTR or not.

As far as dating goes, being a single father is certainly going to be perceived as baggage by some women. So by that virtue the dating pool is about to shrink. It also changes how you vet potential partners for an LTR. You may have considered whether someone would be a good parent before, but now that quality basically moves to the top of the list for anyone that's more than a casual.

From a utility perspective, everything is going to be more 'difficult' because your kid is always going to be your first consideration. Anytime you want to do anything independent of the kid, you have to make sure that they are provided for before you do anything else. It applies to basically everything... want an evening out? Gotta find a babysitter. Last minute weekend trip to Vegas? Only if you can find someone to watch the kid while you're gone. Does the kid have food allergies? Get ready to read labels religiously. Simply stated: say goodbye to the freedom you currently enjoy.

So the question isn't do you want to acquire a kid because your biological clock is ticking. The question is do you want to change your life in this way?

As to whether you should do this sans partner... much has been written/studied about the effects of a single-parent household vs. those with two active parents. It's something you absolutely need to consider. That isn't to say a child from a single-family household can't grow up to be a highly effective adult. But they're statistically less likely to.
 

Coyote

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My friend Krish I 'm afraid you 're looking to cure your own wounds.
I can fully share your feelings, 'cause I avoided having children when I could, out of immaturity and wantonness, and now I won't have anybody to remember me or to inherit my great-grandfather's humble home in the village.

Children are no pets. Have respect for their feelings. They need both a male and female parent, and one parent (ideally the mother) to be 24/7 attached to, for the first 12 months of their life, even if that means they 'll have to accompany that parent to war. Actually, the most important months are after the 4th one, when the human gets the fear of death for the first time.

Don't rush into a socially convenient marriage or planned single-parent-ness (half-orphanhood for the child) for the sake of having a child. Happy children, i.e. eventually happy people, can only be the fruit of true love.

Again, people can still remember you if you write a book, plant a nice tree or donate for a good cause.
The truth is that, by just having children, after 2 generations nobody remembers you anyway. All I know about my great-grandfather is his name, that he was a horse caravan driver and that he finished building the house in July 1895.
 
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