Families come in all different shapes and sizes, and every single one deserves to be celebrated. But that unequivocal truth hasn't stopped some people from believing kids need two parents in order to thrive. We all know that's not true—shout out to all those amazing single parents!—and now research confirms children raised in single-mother-by-choice households excel just as much as their peers.

In July 2017, researchers from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Belgium released a study that shows children raised by women who choose to be single mothers (women, for example, who became pregnant using a sperm donor), are as well off as kids in opposite-sex, two-parent households.

Here's what the study found:

There were no significant differences in emotional involvement or parental stress between family types. Single-mothers-by-choice showed significantly higher scores on the social support they received, but also on wanting more social support. There were no significant differences in the children's internal and external problem behavior (well-being) between both family types.

In other words: All of the kids are alright.

Of course, there's a lot of research talks about why single-parent households aren't ideal for children. But those findings could be contributed to dynamics, not make-up, investigator Mathilde Brewaeys, one of the study's researchers, suggests to Science Daily.

"The assumption that growing up in a family without a father is not good for the child is based mainly on research into children whose parents are divorced and who thus have experienced parental conflict," Brewaeys said. “However, it seems likely that any negative influence on child development depends more on a troubled parent-child relationship and not on the absence of a father."

More and more women are choosing to be single parents nowadays because they know they want kids and they refuse to let other people's stereotypes get in the way. Of course, some family experts have raised alarm bells about the growth in single parenthood, but this new research starts to allay those concerns.

It suggests that if you become a single mother by choice—your kids are going to be just fine.

Really, in the end, every type of family is pretty awesome—whether you're a single parent, a blended family, in a marriage or just a really awesome aunt.

We live in a day and age that recognizes all the amazing ways that families are made—and that's so beautiful.

[Originally published July 13, 2017]

Having a newborn is challenging at the best of times, but during forced isolation and in a climate of fear and uncertainty, it can become overwhelming.

The coronavirus pandemic is setting up our communities for genuine mental health concerns. This may be especially true for new parents. When will 'normal' life return? How will I pay for diapers and baby food? Will my mom be able to help us now? What if my baby or my family get COVID-19? Unfortunately, no one knows the long-term impact or answers just yet.

Most families have built a network of social support by the time they have their first child—if they don't already have a support system, they develop one through various baby classes and groups set up for parents. The creation of the village can be instrumental to the mental health of new parents. Social distancing, the lockdown of cities, and isolation will inadvertently affect the type of support available.

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