Sex & Relationships

Shared parenting: Good idea or recipe for drama?

Organizations who facilitate co-parenting seem to be on the rise. One question remains -- is this a good thing?

Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt in Friends with Kids

A scene from the movie Friends with Kids. Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt play friends who decide to have a baby together.
Photo courtesy of Lionsgate

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes insert-name-here in a baby carriage — now, there’s a nursery rhyme that’s lost its relevancy. While many of us still opt for the traditional sequence of events — admit it, a few of us even yearn to play a starring role in our own old-fashioned love story — it’s no longer demanded, or even expected, that we conduct ourselves the way previous generations did.

We’ve kicked convention to the curb, and redefined our notion of family, and the world keeps on turning. There are myriad ways to have a baby, including letting someone else have it for you.

While it’s now common (and perfectly respectable) to be a single parent raising children on your own, it isn’t easy — time, money, physical, emotional and mental wear-and-tear can take its toll when there’s no partner to share in all those endless responsibilities. Which is why some people, especially those who want to have a family but are unmarried for any number of reasons, have decided there must be a better way.

Enter shared parenting. A recent article in The New York Times shines a spotlight on the co-parenting phenomenon and the increasing number of organizations that are springing up to facilitate meetings between people who are looking for someone with whom to have a baby, minus the love and romance part.

For many couples, meeting online and discovering that when it comes to child-rearing they are a good combination, is a short prelude to a fruitful session with a turkey baster.

Not surprisingly, there are those who raise objections to the loveless creation of a child knowingly conceived to straddle two different worlds.

Supporters quoted in the article advise that couples draw up a legal document that addresses any potential complications. They suggest that shared kids are spared the pain of divorce, which seems to overlook the obvious — what happens should a bitter estrangement occur between co-parenting partners?

Seems naive to think that kids don’t sometimes pay the price for their parents’ best or worst intentions regardless of the circumstances of their births.