There are plenty of reasons why a woman may have to become a single parent. Whether you, while expecting your baby, choose to walk the parenthood path by yourself, or have ended up in this situation rather unexpectedly, there also happen to be many reasons why you will fear having to go through pregnancy, birth and motherhood by yourself. However, there will also be times during the whole experience that you will instead feel rather empowered, confident and ready to tackle all the challenges that life may throw at you as a single mother.
When pregnant, it is natural for you to experience mixed emotions and you are bound to have both good days and bad days. If anything, pregnancy happens to be a rather daunting time in a woman’s life and being single while pregnant can make things a bit harder as you get to make all decisions and deal with worries by yourself. But instead of getting miserable about your situation, you need to start thinking positively. Why? Well, because research shows that over a million women experience pregnancy alone every year so it really isn’t the end of the world. Instead of focusing on the negatives, get your strength from your unborn baby and be thankful for being pregnant – there are plenty of women out there who are not able to have kids.
Also, if you are ashamed of being a single mother, well, you need to give up on going down that road. Being a single parent is NOTHING to be ashamed of. Women these days are way stronger than before and you can definitely raise your child by yourself and be proud of it. Here are a few tips that are bound to make pregnancy easier for you while being pregnant:
7 Tip # : Find support
The only thing that single mothers lack in their life is that of the support of their partners. Honestly speaking, it may not sound too huge of an issue to you right now, but trust me, being alone can make getting through pregnancy extremely hard. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to build a support network so that you have lots of help available to you during pregnancy and even after delivery. This support network of yours can consist of family members, friends and even strangers on the internet. These people will actually make it possible for you to acquire sympathy and reassurance after a tough day. You will also be able to share your wishes and dreams with the people in your support group. But make sure that the network you build is literally your personal dream team – people who have the potential to provide you with physical as well as emotion support when needed.
There are plenty of single pregnant women out there and it is highly recommended for you to network and socialize with them. Some of them have family and friends, but most of them don’t have a single person in their lives that they can talk to. For this reason, they turn to the internet and the same is recommended for you. Join a pregnancy support group online so you can share your concerns with other women who are in a similar situation.
Make new friends
You may not be up to it, but it is highly recommended for you to make new friends. Other single pregnant women in such support groups are a wonderful option in this regard!
6 Tip # : Hire a doula
For those who don’t know, doulas are trained birth professionals who are there to offer support to expectant mothers all through pregnancy and delivery. They are basically professional birth partners, and with their role comes the responsibility of offering guidance and advice to pregnant women. When you go into labor, she will also be there to support you through each contraction, which makes hiring one a wonderful option for single pregnant women.
When you go into labor, your doula will help you with everything that you’d want your partner to. She will massage your back, help you focus on your breathing, fetch you water and just prove to be the best birth partner. You can hire a doula to serve as your birthing partner, or you could also take on her services to work along with your chosen birth partner. Also, if you think that money is going to be an issue in terms of hiring a doula, well, then it is highly recommended for you to consider working with student doulas or recently qualified ones as they may offer their services for a reduced fee just so they get to gain a bit of experience. If you want to make the offer a bit more lucrative to a student doula, just offer to cover out of pocket costs like parking fee and petrol.
A doula can become your best friend
Honestly speaking, apart from the fact that doulas are trained and highly experienced in childbirth, they are also highly supportive and friendly individuals. The doula you hire will be willing to help you out in any way possible. To learn more about the benefits of hiring a doula, check out our article on why you should have a doula around during and after labor.
5 Tip # : Stay focused on the positives
Yes, there are bound to be certain aspects of pregnancy that you will find extremely hard to manage by yourself. However, there are plenty of positives about facing parenthood on your own too – and you seriously need to focus on these positives to be able to have a smooth, enjoyable pregnancy. Although they may seem meager, at least they are there and you should maximize your happiness based on them. To get things started, there will be no need at all for you to make compromises on naming your baby. There isn’t going to be anyone around to ‘veto’ the baby name that you have totally fallen in love with – no one will be there to force names that you’ve come to hate.
The best part about being a single parent is that you will get to decide how you wish to raise your child. This means that in the long run, you won’t find yourself having to compromise on your parenting style. Along with these, there are plenty of other perks as well that you will get to enjoy and benefit from as a single mother. So instead of focusing on the negatives, think of the positive side of your pregnancy and parenting in general and rejoice!
Celebrate your pregnancy
There are plenty of ways for you to celebrate your pregnancy and these are sure to give your spirits a major boost. Some of the best ideas in this regard are:
- Having a baby shower
- Having a blessing way
- Pregnant belly painting
- Getting a belly cast so you may remember your bump forever
- Taking a vacation
Professional pregnancy photography
4 Tip # : A good social worker is what you need
That’s right. As a single pregnant woman, it is extremely important for you to find the right social worker for yourself. There are plenty of benefits that this will offer to you. To begin with, the right (or let’s just say an efficient) social worker will put in the best of her efforts to help you connect with necessary resources, including single mother support groups. When you start visiting your prenatal clinic, there is a good chance that they will connect you with a social worker. However, it is best for you to keep meeting with others if you are unhappy with the first till the time that you find one you are truly comfortable with. Remember, the right social worker for you will be one who is solely interested in your well-being.
Just so you know, social workers don’t only work in community settings. They work in hospitals as well together with pediatric hospices, early intervention programs, adoption agencies, prenatal diagnosis clinics, prenatal drug cessation programs, foster care and parenting education centres etc. For single pregnant women, they provide all the necessary resources that are vital for a smooth and healthy pregnancy. Through your chosen social worker, you will also be able to acquire out-patient mental health services as you adjust to parenthood, make decision and deal with medical challenges. Basically, your chosen social worker will make sure that you and your baby receive the best, most compassionate care.
Find out about your rights
If you wish to have your baby on your own, then there is the option of listing the father as ‘unknown’ on your child’s birth certificate. However, if you are interested in acquiring financial support from an unwilling father, then it will be necessary for you to file a paternity suit against him.
3 Tip # : Flexibility in work
In case you are suffering from excessive sickness, fatigues, and or other pregnancy symptoms while at work, there is a good chance that you will struggle to fulfill your work responsibilities. Your work will probably suffer irrespective of whether you take sick days, struggle to keep your head out of the toilet all day due to severe nausea, or perhaps even go in late after having a restless or sleepless night. Single pregnancy does not come easy and your work life, at some point or the other, will suffer a bit. For this reason, it is extremely important for you to acquire a bit of flexibility in your professional life.
If possible, it is highly recommended for you to ask your employer for flexibility in your work. When discussing this, explain to your employer that things are getting a bit tough for you and make suggestions in terms of how your employer can help you in maintaining your regular workload. For instance, you could work from home some days so that you won’t have to worry about commuting to and from work. You can also ask your employer if you could work flexible hours so you may start late or finish early at times when you need a bit of rest.
Don’t be scared
To be honest, there is no need at all for you to be scared of discussing workplace flexibility with your employer. In a majority of cases, employers are more than willing to make things easier for employees who need a bit of flexibility in their life due to their current personal circumstances.
2 Tip # : Talk to other single parents
Coping with life as a single mother might be a distressing thought for you. If this is something that you fear, it is best for you to talk to some experts, which, in this case, are other single parents who have been through it all already. If you have family members or friends who have experienced being a single mother, prepare yourself by talking to them. While you are at it, make sure that you ask them for life hacks and survival tips that will help you get through pregnancy and parenthood by yourself. Apart from that, it is best for you to set realistic expectations for single motherhood, which is why you should ask people to tell you the truth about what life as a single mother is all about. Oh and just so you know, you’ll be surprised to learn how many benefits there are of raising a child by yourself, so rest-assured that it isn’t all negative!
All of us, as humans, have a dire need to feel accepted and be surrounded by people who understand what we are going through. As a single pregnant woman, this need will definitely increase for you and you will want to have people around who can understand your situation. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to be friends with a few single mums who can relate to your everyday life and share the highs and lows of being a single parent with you.
In order to make friends with other single mums, you need to start socializing. Join antenatal yoga calls, take antenatal lessons and become a member of a breastfeeding group. If nothing works, turn to the wonders of the internet where you are bound to find countless single mothers who are in the same situation.
1 Tip # : Plan things out ahead of time for urgent situations
How do you think you will handle things in case your baby ends up having a fever late at night, and you’re fresh out of medicines? Or, suppose you fall ill yourself; how will you look after your baby by yourself? What if you have an urgent business meeting to attend, who will take care of your baby if there isn’t any other adult around? It is extremely important for you to stay prepared to deal with such situations. To begin with, it is vital for you to find out if there is an emergency babysitting service in our area. Yes, there’s a good chance that such a service will be pricy, but if you need urgent help and have no one else around, then this is the best option for you.
Apart from that, it is highly recommended for you to formulate an ‘emergency list’ of friends and family members that you can call in emergency situations. For instance, if you have a friend or family member who runs every morning, you can call her up if your baby is sick or you’re finding it hard to feed him early in the morning.
Creativity is a must in child care
Along with regular babysitting services, it is necessary for you to accept less conventional ideas in terms of child care. For instance, you can ‘trade’ childcare with other single mothers – when you have to go to work, your friend can look after your baby and you do the same when she has to go to work. As long as you are creative, there are plenty such ideas for you to consider!