The journey to parenthood encompasses twists and turns, as it’s not a one-size-fits-all experience. In today’s culture, more women are becoming single mothers by choice to fulfill their desire to be parents.

What Is a Single Mother By Choice?

A single mother by choice, or SMC, is a woman who decides to have a child independently. Whether through natural means, a donor, or adoption, choosing to experience motherhood solo has grown in popularity recently.

While society has traditionally viewed single parenthood, especially single motherhood, negatively, researchers have discovered that perceptions are shifting. According to a 2023 Pew Research Center study, 78% of Americans find it acceptable for a single parent to raise children on their own. More people are also opening up about their journey of becoming a single mother by choice, which may contribute to this shift in perspective.

Ebony K. Williams, a lawyer and “Real Housewives of New York City” alumna, is among the celebrities who have announced their choice of being a single mom. In June, she shared the exciting news with PEOPLE Magazine before posting the announcement on her Instagram page.

Her Instagram post was a carousel of stunning maternal photos, including several of her posing solo while holding her growing baby bump.

“Thank you, God,” the soon-to-be mother wrote. “Abundantly blessed and so excited to welcome my daughter to this world. He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4.”

Why Do Some Women Choose This Route?

Many reasons lead women to choose single motherhood. Some value being single but also desire to raise children. Others don’t want to wait until they find a partner to have a child. Additionally, future single mothers may want the responsibility of being the sole provider for their child’s upbringing.

In her exclusive interview with PEOPLE Magazine, Williams revealed she didn’t want to wait to be in another relationship before having kids. When she visited her fertility doctor to start the process of unfreezing her eggs, her engagement was over. But she didn’t allow a breakup to prevent her from becoming a mother.

“It [single motherhood] is not the shame-ridden narrative that it used to be; that’s steeped in poverty, that’s steeped in scarcity, that’s steeped in rejection — that’s steeped in all of these heartbreaking, sad trauma points,” Williams’ said. 

She added, “That is not this story. These innocent, little babies are so desperately and lovingly wanted that they have mothers who invested exorbitant resources (by way of money, by way of time, by way of what we put our bodies through, etc.) to bring them to this Earth, and to shower them with all the things that all sweet babies deserve. That’s love.”