Perhaps the New Testament was onto something and in fact ahead of its time when it mentioned the Virgin Mother. There seem to be a few of them walking among us. As the phenomenon of single mothers by choice grows in Israel, more sectors of the population are choosing that route to motherhood, including some in the Orthodox Jewish community.It is probably safe to say that most young girls didn’t grow up dreaming of embarking on the path to motherhood alone. However, as the reality of age and its effect on fertility creeps up, and the fairytale option of a Prince (or same-sex Princess) fades, there are women who choose to take matters into their own hands.And with the assistance of modern medicine and a socialized medical system – which makes this process more affordable in Israel than in most other countries – many women are choosing to become pregnant through in-vitro fertilization, IVF. Though the conception is not immaculate, it is devoid of sex.And so it came to be that I found myself at an event with a woman on the cusp of turning 40 who identified as Orthodox and attested to being shomer negia (not touching members of the opposite sex before marriage), patting her burgeoning baby bump in her lovely maternity dress. It struck me how we are living in a time where virgin mothers aren’t a fable.Of course, this isn’t the norm. The road to parenthood is varied.There are many couples who go through IVF; there are many women who end up being single mothers after divorce or the loss of their partner; people adopt, foster-parent, step-parent and have children in their lives in all different manners. This particular one just seems newer on the scene.A good rule of thumb when it comes to noticing the changing figure of a woman is to not mention it!If she decides to share her news, she will do so unprompted and that can save awkward embarrassment on both sides. This is especially true for someone who isn’t in a relationship. The choice of becoming a single mother is a major life decision and the timing of when to share the news and with whom can be extra sensitive. There is so much going on physically and emotionally that the curiosity of others and the projection of their excitement or anxieties can be overwhelming. If you are privy to the process though, by all means offer to help in some way. During the pregnancy, you can assist by accompanying your friend to medical appointments.Right after the child is born, extra support can be deeply meaningful. Throughout the new mother’s and child’s lives, in fact, friendship is always appreciated, as birthdays or Shabbat afternoons in the park can feel extra lonely or challenging when one doesn’t fit into a classic societal family structure.Some people might not know quite what to say and suddenly shy away from contact, which can be hurtful.There are support groups for single parents by choice to share similar experiences, both online and locally. There are rabbis and community leaders who counsel and offer advice.For all of us, it is time to acknowledge and welcome these very wanted children and their lone mothers or fathers to a brave new world.