There are many reasons why a woman is going through pregnancy without a male partner. Of course, there are many joyful stories of same gender couples who are preparing for a much longed-for child, and just going through the process without a man. Hopefully, they will receive the love and support they deserve and enjoy the time just as much as a hetero couple would.
However, there are many women who face pregnancy alone for more unpleasant reasons. The passing of a partner during pregnancy might seem like the toughest blow, but women do get through it and survive. According to Share Care, there are plenty of support groups designed to help women, and their advice might prove invaluable.
Of course, there are women who have had to leave partners when pregnant because the relationship wasn’t working, or who have had no choice because the partner has left them.
All these situations can make a woman feel alone. The good news is that there are many online and face to face groups of such women who are there for her. There is financial aid available and family and friends will hopefully be there to provide much need love. The key is to ask for help and to remember that she is not alone and to focus on the joy that a new baby will bring to a mom's life, whatever her situation.
20 She Might Face Loneliness
Having a dad around to share a pregnancy with gives a mom-to-be a partner to share the highs and the lows with. When you are on your own, this time can feel very lonely and can shine a spotlight on the fact that you are doing this by yourself. It’s time to find some support. There are other women in the same situation and they will be feeling the same. Ask your doctor for some details of groups that support women in a similar place, suggests NHS.
Of course, if you have chosen to take this path alone, you will have been prepared to be alone. You may still find it a lonely situation so take support from friends and family and don’t be afraid to say if you are struggling.
19 She Should Try to Get a Medical History of the Father/Donor
If you have opted to use a sperm donor to get pregnant, and he is unknown to you, it is wise to look through any medical records that the donor program has given you and to make this known to your medical support team.
Similarly, if you are embarking on a pregnancy from someone who is no longer in the picture, try and get as much detail of their family medical history as possible. It will help doctors to treat your pregnancy appropriately if any hereditary conditions are flagged. It is only in some states that such information is given out in detail, so check the regulations of your donor’s state, reports Washington Post.
18 She Can Access Financial/Emotional Support
Even if you are struggling financially and have no medical insurance, there are organizations, private and government-funded, that can offer you help when you are pregnant. You can apply for Medicaid, and even if you don’t qualify, you can try the Children’s Health Insurance Program to see if you can get low-cost medical care related to the child.
It is so important to see a doctor regularly when you are pregnant and to eat healthily. It is wise to make every effort to get medical advice. Similarly, support from friends and families or others that have been through pregnancy on their own will help you feel you are not alone.
17 She Needs to Learn to Ask For and Accept Help
We often want to project an image of being able to cope to avoid being seen as weak. If our partner has walked out on us we might want to ‘show him’ that we are fine without him. If we have become pregnant during circumstances where we feel embarrassed, we might want to show the world we are ok. Being pregnant alone is really not okay. Everyone needs support.
It’s alright to say you’re having trouble coping. It’s ok to admit that you are struggling. ESME suggests that single mothers should talk to doctors and health professionals if you can’t confide in friends and family, and make sure you are doing the best for yourself and your baby.
16 She Needs to Find a Support Group
You might want to talk to other women in a similar situation or to talk to a medical professional or counselor about how you feel. Each state has its own network of support groups for pregnant women, and you can access many of them for free.
Also, there are national organizations that offer free advice to pregnant women such as birthright.org and nurturingnetwork.org. You can join an online forum such as Baby Center where other moms share their feelings, as well as despair and hope, and importantly, humor. You may find lifelong friends amongst these women and a support group after the baby is born.
15 She Needs to be Upfront with Work and Ask for Flexibility
It is up to you when and how you tell your work colleagues that you are pregnant. If you choose to keep it to yourself, be aware that you might give off signs that you are not quite yourself, especially if you have morning sickness.
Check out your rights and see what you are entitled to. Some workplaces offer time off for prenatal visits and paid maternity leave. If you are worried about the reaction of your boss and face losing your job, check your rights and go in armed with the facts. There is plenty of information online, about what your rights are. Remember there is a Pregnancy Discrimination Act in place to protect the rights of pregnant women at work.
14 She Needs to Think About a Birth Partner
You might feel you can face labor alone, but it is wise to nominate someone to be there in case you change your mind. Having support during labor doesn’t just involve hand-holding. You may need real emotional support in a long delivery or need an advocate if things don’t go as planned.
Midwives and doctors will support you medically, but having a familiar face around you can make women feel more relaxed and forge a strong bond between you. If you have no one you feel you can ask, you could consider a paid doula to be there for you during delivery and to help afterward, Pathways points out.
13 If She Can Afford it, a Doula Will Help
A doula does not only help in the delivery room. Some doulas only help during the birth, however, there are doulas who are willing to spend time with mother and baby after the birth.
If you are in a financial position to do so, a doula could give you real confidence and advice in the first couple of weeks. According to Washingtonian, a doula can give you tips on how to deal with the baby and much-needed breaks when you are struggling with exhaustion. Some doulas will do light household work and cooking as well, and hopefully become a good friend into the bargain.
12 She Can Do What she Wants and Should Focus on the Positives
Being on your own has its own benefits. There is no one else to worry about or look after. There are no smelly socks on the floor and the TV remote is all yours. Focus on the freedom that you have and try and enjoy the time you have with your unborn baby.
Do some things that you want to do that you might not be able to do if you had a partner around. If time and money allow, take a trip and pamper yourself. If money is tight, watch some films you have always wanted to see or visit some parks and galleries in your area. You will appreciate the fact that you enjoyed your freedom once the baby is born.
11 She is Going to Make Some Really Close Friends
Women who go through pregnancy alone need support from other women in similar situations. If you have reached out to others who are going through the same thing, you are likely to find one of two women who become really good friends.
You may not have known each other for long, but the shared experience of what you are each going through will break down barriers quickly. If you cannot find anyone in your area you could strike up friendships in chatrooms and stay connected via email and Skype. It will be wonderful to share the babies and the trials and joys of motherhood with someone who has been through a similar pregnancy to you.
10 If They are a Same-Gender Couple, They Can Expect Positive Health Care
There is a rising number of same-gender couples who decide to have a family. Reports from Sweden suggest that midwives and doctors need special training to learn how to deal with this growing trend and to give them the same level of care and support that any pregnant woman should expect.
Same-gender couples who were interviewed in subsequent studies said that they had positive reactions from midwives and friendly, professional treatment. Of course there were slip-ups, many of them comical, such as the midwives mistakenly calling the second mother ‘dad,’ but generally, women report that they had good experiences, and if they didn’t, they changed health providers, reports Wiley.
9 She Should be Prepared for Social Stigma
Hopefully, you will be surrounded by supportive, understanding friends and relatives. However, there will be people who will ask questions that are none of their business, according to The Washington Post: ‘Do you know who the father is?’ ‘How will you cope?’ ‘Didn’t you think about protection?’ These are just some of the questions that single pregnant moms find themselves faced with.
One young mom who was bombarded with questions says she felt consumed with anger toward those around her after she faced such questions. She realized afterward that she was resentful towards her situation and took it out on those around her. You may face social stigma, but remember that you have made the decision and you will see it through, it really is no one else’s business. They can have their opinions, but you don’t have to take them on board.
8 She Might be Eligible for Grants
A good piece of advice from other moms who have been single and pregnant is to ask around to see what help is available in your area. There are charities and organizations who offer financial aid, companies that offer loans, and grants for single pregnant women that will see you through a hard patch.
Check to see if you are eligible for grants to buy essential equipment such as a crib or stroller. You may be surprised at how much help is out there. Aid for Single Mothers recommends looking into Sure Start Maternity Financial Aid as a starting point.
7 She Needs to Decide if She is Going to get the Grandparents Involved
If you have separated from the baby’s father and want nothing to do with him, remember that there are potentially two grandparents out there who might love to be involved and maybe to help you out too.
According to Seniors Rights, grandparents don’t have automatic rights in all jurisdictions but bear in mind that they might reach out to you. If you have a good relationship with your ‘in-laws’, don’t let your feelings towards their son prejudice potentially loving grandparents for your baby. At the very least you might be grateful for some support once the baby is born, and they will surely love to welcome a new member of the family. It’s your choice of course, but unless you have a good reason, don’t discount them.
6 She is Going to Have Huge Freedom, so Embrace It
Madonna recently posted on social media and reported in Huffington Post that it was, “Too bad that we don't live in a society that supports and encourages single working moms!”, and you may fully agree. However, look at women like Madonna as examples of success stories. You might not have the millions and staff of a superstar, but you have the inner strength to make this a positive experience.
You are going to be the sole provider and parent for this little bundle and the love you share will be very special. You can choose the clothes, the schools, the food and no one is going to judge you. You can spend all day in your pajamas playing with Legos and eating cookies if you want. Embrace the freedom that your situation gives you.
5 You Can Find a Person to Play ‘Dad’ to Support and Help in Key Situations
In a conventional two-parent pregnancy, there will be someone there to help out when you are feeling sick or exhausted, hopefully, earn some money and be there to share the experience. If you are going through this process alone, the buck stops with you.
According to Onlymyhealth, you might want to choose a close friend or family member to fulfill this role. They can go to the antenatal classes with you, help you find financial support or be there when you pick out a crib. You may feel resentful that you don’t have the father or your baby around to help, but remember that many women in relationships have partners who don’t help out at all!
4 She’s Going to Have to Get Her Finances Organized
Hopefully, you have ample financial support and an organized filing cabinet. However, in the real world, not all of us are in that situation. According to Growing Family Benefits, you can get financial support and look for grants and benefits while you are pregnant. However, it's best to look ahead and see what money is available after the birth.
You might want to consider moving closer to friends and family to help out or need to look into childcare if you are going to go back to work. Having an idea of how you are going to support the two of you will prevent panic and worry later.
3 She’s Going to Have to Play the Roles of Mom and Dad
Being a mom on your own is going to be fun, but it is going to be a challenge. You will feel the panic when the baby is sick and the triumphs as well. You are going to have to be all things to the baby, and that is hard, but sharing the experience with other moms will convince you that you can do it.
Of course, if the father is still interested in being involved, you will get some time on your own if he takes the baby for a few days, but if not, you will be the one doing the school runs, drying the tears and soothing the sad hearts. According to Gingerbread, keeping in touch with other single moms can provide a useful support network and you can share tips and even childcare, which will help you feel supported.
2 She Might be Dating!
One single mom recalled on The Bump that it was four years after giving birth before she began dating again. She recalled that she really had to work at having a social life and give herself some time to enjoy life outside of being a mom.
If you are already dating while you are pregnant with another man’s child, this brings its own joys and challenges. There has even been a TV show Pregnant and Dating, documenting the stories of women who are in different situations but are pregnant and on the dating scene. You are still the same, attractive, intelligent, strong woman you always were. But, obviously, there is another person in the picture. Take it slowly and trust your instincts, you will find love again if you want to.
1 She Needs to Make Plans for What to do Just After the Birth if She’s on Her Own
Going home with a new baby is a daunting prospect for any woman, whether she has a partner or not. According to NCBI, if you are planning to do it alone when you get home, you might want to enlist the support of a friend or relative who can at least make things homy when you bring the baby back from the hospital.
You could ask someone to fill the fridge or just tidy up and put some fresh bed linen on. If they are a close supporter, you could ask if they could pop in every couple of days, just to see how you are and stock up on supplies. Make a plan so it isn’t a daunting, lonely prospect. It should be an amazing time, so do all you can to make it so.
Sources: Babycenter, Pregnancy, NCT, ACOG, Liveabout