On Being Unable to be A Single Mother by Choice in Turkey


  • Hanife KAHRAMAN PhD, Ege University, Department of Educational Sciences, Division of Guidance and Psychological Counseling hanife.pehlivan@ege.edu.tr, ORCID: 0000-0002-4798-3150




Single Mother, Single Mother by Choice, Feminism, Motherhood, Turkey


Motherhood, which seems to be a women’s issue in principle, has always been a phenomenon that needs to be regulated through various practices by the rulers, in order for the patriarchy to sustain itself. This affects especially the lives of women who are not married but want to have a kid in many ways. In this research, the women in Turkey who want to but cannot have a kid because they are not married were asked semi-structured questions. The research evaluates why these women want to have a kid, what the psychological and social effects of being unable to have a kid are, how they cope with this situation, and whether they prefer to be a mother in a society where gender equality is ensured and single motherhood by choice is possible. In the research, case study, which is a type of qualitative research design, and homogenous sampling, which is a purposive sampling method, was used. Twenty women who were single and over 30 years old were interviewed face-to-face. The women were asked 16 questions. Then content analysis of the responses was done. The findings reveal that the women who cannot have a child have serious psychological and social problems.


Ajandi, J. (2011). Disrupting dominant discourses of the family through social justice alternatives. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 3, 410–431.

Baber, K. M. (2009). Postmodern feminist perspectives and families. In S. A. Lloyd, A. L. Few, & K. R. Allen (Eds.), Handbook of Feminist Family Studies (pp. 56–68). Los Angeles, CA: Sage

Berger, P. L., Kellner, H. (1994). Marriage and the Construction of Reality: An Exercise in the Microsociology of Knowledge. In, G. Handel, G. G. Wittchurch (Eds.), The Psychosocial Interior of the Family. (pp. 19-36) New York, Taylor & Francis.

Berger, P. L., Luckmann, T. (2008). Gerçekliğin Sosyal İnşâsı, Bir Bilgi Sosyolojisi İncelemesi, (çev. Vefa Saygın Öğütle). İstanbul, Paradigma Yayınları,

Bartky, S. L. (1990). Feminity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression, New York, Routledge. pp. 63-82.

Bock, J. D. (2000). Doing the right thing? Single mothers by choice and the struggle for legitimacy. Gender & Society, 14(1), 62-86.

Burton, N. (2017). Should we have children? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/

Chodorow, N. J. (2003). “Too late”: ambivalence about motherhood, choice and time. In: A. M. Alizade (Ed.), Studies on Femininity (pp. 27-40). London: Karnac.

Coontz, S. (2000). The Way We Never Were: American Families and The Nostalgia Trap. Basic Books: New York.

Coontz, S., (2005). Marriage, A History: From Obedience to İntimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage. New York: Viking.

Davis, A. (2012). Modern Motherhood. Women and Family in England, C. 1945–2000. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.

Freedman L.P. & Isaacs S. L. (1993). Human rights and reproductive choice. Studies in Family Planning, 24, 18-30. doi:10.2307/2939211

Gittins, D. (1985). The Family in Question: Changing Households and Familiar Ideologies. Red Globe Press.

Golombok, S., Zadeh, S., Imrie, S., Smith, V., & Freeman, T. (2016). Single mothers by choice: mother–child relationships and children’s psychological adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(4): 409–418.

Graham, S. (2012). Choosing single motherhood? Single women negotiating the nuclear family ideal. In D. Cutas & S. Chan (Eds.), Families: Beyond the Nuclear İdeal (pp. 97–109). London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic.

Graham, S. (2014). Stories of an absent “father”: Single women negotiating relatedness from donor profiles. In T. Freeman, S. Graham, F. Ebethaj, & M. Richards (Eds.), Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction: Families, Origins and İdentities (pp. 212–231). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Graham, S., & Braverman, A. (2012). ARTs and the single parent. In M. Richards, G. Pennings, & J. B. Appleby (Eds.), Reproductive Donation: Practice, Policy and Bioethics. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Greenglass, E. R. (1982). A World of Difference: Gender Role in Perspective. Toronto, Canada: Wiley.

Gustafson, D. L. (2010). Single Mothers. In A. O’Reilly (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Motherhood. California: Sage Publications.

Hertz, R. (2006). Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice. How Women are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

Hertz, R., Rivas, A. M. & Jociles, M. I. R. (2016). Single mothers by choice in Spain and the United States. In Constance L. Shehan (ed.). The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Family Studies. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. DOI: 10.1002/9781119085621.wbefs005

Jadva, V., Badger, S., Morrissette, M. & Golombok, S. (2009). Mom by choice, single by life's circumstance...' Findings from a large scale survey of the experiences of single mothers by choice. Human Fertility, 12:4, 175-184, DOI: 10.3109/14647270903373867

Kandiyoti, D. (1989). Women and Islam: What are the missing terms? Dossier, 5(6), 5-9.

Kazemi, F. (2000). Gender, Islam and Politics. Social Research, 67(2), 453-474.

Klett-Davies M. (2007). Going it Alone? Lone Motherhood in Late Modernity. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Macintyre, S. (1976). ‘“Who wants babies?” The social construction of instincts’, in Sheila Allen and Diana Leonard Barker (eds), Sexual Divisions and Society: Process and Change (pp. 73-150), London: Tavistock Publications.

Major, B., & O’Brien, L. T. (2005). The social psychology of stigma. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 393-421.

Mattes, J. (1994). Single Mothers by Choice: A guidebook for single women who are considering or have chosen motherhood, Harmony, ISBN-13: 978-081292246

McEwan, K.L., Costello, C.G., & Taylor, P.J. (1987). Adjustment to infertility. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 96(2), 108-116. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.96.2.108

Morrissette, M. (2005). Choosing single motherhood: the thinking woman's guide. New York: Be-Mondo Publishing.

O’Brien, M. (1981). The Politics of Reproduction. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Dixion-Mueller, R. (1993). Population Policy and Women’s Rights: Transforming Reproductive Choice. London: Greenwood Publishing.

Petchesky, R. P. (1980). Reproductive Freedom: Beyond "A Woman's Right to Choose". Signs, 5 (4), Women: Sex and Sexuality, 661-685

Peters, C. J. (2010). Marriage. In Encyclopedia of Motherhood (ed. Andrea O'Reilly). California: Sage Publications,

Reekie, G. (1998). Measuring Immorality: Social Inquiry and the Problem of Illegitimacy. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Rich, A. (1977). Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. Voices from Women’s Liberation. Lesley Tanner (Ed.). London: Virago.

Smith, M. (1997). Psychology's Undervaluation of Single Motherhood. Feminism & Psychology, 7(4), 529–532

Saadawi, N. (1990). "Woman must own her body." People (IPPF) 17,4:16.

Sandelowski, M. (1990). Fault lines: Infertility and imperiled sisterhood. Feminist Studies, 16 (1):33-51

Sanger, A. (2004). Beyond choice: reproductive freedom in the 21st century, New York, Public Affairs.

Sever, M. (2015). Kadınlık, annelik, gönüllü çocuksuzluk: Elisabeth Badinter’den Kadınlık mı Annelik mi?, Tina Miller’dan Annelik Duygusu: Mitler ve deneyimler ve Corinne Maier’den No Kid üzerinden bir karşılaştırmalı okuma çalışması. Fe Dergi 7( 2), 72-86.

Shanley, M. L. (2001). Making Babies, Making Families. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Solinger, R. (2002). Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States. New York: Hill and Wang.

Repuclic of Turkey Ministry of Health (2018). Üremeye Yardımcı Tedavi Uygulamaları ve Üremeye Yardımcı Tedavi Merkezleri Hakkında Yönetmelik. https://www.saglik.gov.tr/

Ulrich, M. & Weatherall, A. (2000). Motherhood and Infertility: Viewing Motherhood through the Lens of Infertility. Feminism & Psychology, 10(3), 323–336.

Utrata, J. (2015). Women wıthout Men: Single Mothers and Family Change in the New Russıa. Ithaca and London: Cornell Unıversıty Press

Usdansky, M. L. (2009). Ambivalent acceptance of single-parent families: A response to comments. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71(2), 240–246. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00596.x

Welldon, E. V. (2006). Why do you want to have a child? In M. Alizade (Ed.), Motherhood in the Twenty-First Century. London: H. Karnac Ltd.

Weinraub, M., Horvath, D. L., & Gringlas, M. B. (2002). Single parenthood. In M. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting: Vol. III. Being and becoming a parent (pp. 109–140). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Wiegers, W. A. & Chunn D. E. (2015). Stigma and resistance: The social experience of choosing sole motherhood in Canada 1965–2010. Women's Studies International Forum, 51, 42–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2015.05.001

Williams, M. E. (1997). Toward greater understanding of the psychological effects of infertility on women. Psychotherapy in Private Practice, 16:3, 7-26, DOI: 10.1300/J294v16n0302

World Health Organization (2010). Mother or nothing: the agony of infertility. Bull World Health Organ, 88: 881-882.

Yıldırım, A. ve Simsek, H. (1999). Sosyal Bilimlerde Nitel Araştırma Yöntemleri. Ankara: Seçkin Yayınevi.




How to Cite

KAHRAMAN, H. (2021). On Being Unable to be A Single Mother by Choice in Turkey. WORLD WOMEN STUDIES JOURNAL, 6(1), 18–34. https://doi.org/10.46291/wwsj.v6i1.38