Listen to a reading of this article:
Lots of women and men today want to be parents, but they don’t want to get married. They could just live together and have kids. But that would be too much like marriage. Yet, single parenting is hard for both the mother and her child. After all, a child needs both parents.
A solution has been found. A woman and a man who are strangers to each other agree to have a child together. Without any kind of personal relationship, they conceive a baby, either artificially or physically. They have joint custody, with the father having visitation rights and providing financial support.
The man and the woman have no ties to each other, just to their child. They’re seeking shared custody of a child without the baggage of the prior marriage and the usual animosity associated with a divorce.
This new lifestyle trend is called “co-parenting.” “Cohabiting” means couples live together without marriage. “Co-parenting” means couples have children together without living together.
Melkorka Licea has written an article on the phenomenon for the New York Post. Co-parenting has inspired a number of websites that help match interested parties. In one TV show, “Labor of Love,” men compete to be chosen as a “dad.”
The reporter interviews Ivan Fatovic, who runs the co-parenting website Modamily. He says that 60–70% of the site’s users are women, while 20% are gay men. Licea also quotes an expert who sees co-parenting as an enduring trend: “Five years ago, people were really gung ho about ‘I’ll have babies for myself, I’ll raise them myself,’ but I haven’t seen that as much, if at all, lately,” said Emma K. Viglucci, a Midtown marriage and family therapist. “If anything, people are getting pregnant and choosing not to have babies because they don’t want to raise them [alone].”
This movement away from single parenthood is positive, but not if it motivates a woman to seek abortion.
Wanting to have children is a good thing. It is also good to recognize that children need to be raised by both a mother and a father. But children also need to be raised by a mother and a father who love each other. Children need to be part of a loving, committed family.
Co-parenting and cohabiting are both evasions of and poor substitutes for God’s design for men, women and children.
Marriage and parenting are both holy vocations. God joins together a man and a woman in a one-flesh union that is not to be put asunder (Matt. 19:6). This union is a reflection of Christ and His church (Eph. 5:22–32) that often leads, if God chooses, to the additional callings of father and mother (Psalm 127:3). And, by working closely together, they rear children who will be blessed (Prov. 20:7) and who will be a blessing (Psalm 37:26).
When things go wrong for couples, parents or children, we turn to Christ who loves us as His Bride, the church, and calls us to be His children (1 John 3:1).